Want to feel more engaged in your life? Finding your personal flow by examining your patterns and being open to change.
As we move through change it can be helpful to track and notice patterns. In the tracking we find how we build our personal flow. What works, what does not. From here we can create ways to build more flow into our daily routines. Check out this post for help tracking your patterns and organizing your life changes.
This awareness lends itself to offering you more opportunities to bring flow into your life, thus creating a positive cycle to make your life more engaging and interesting to you.
And wallah … you begin living a life in flow more often than not.
Are you creating the life you want? Some of us use play as a way to avoid doing the hard work of creating the life we really want. Not that all of life has to be hard work, but rather than avoid taking the next step by playing, overusing substances, or skirting responsibliites – get out there, have fun, and take action to get what you want.
I have been working to keep my time, mine. Anyone else out there have this problem? I have a daily plan and it slips away as though I didn’t do anything. I get maybe, two – three items crossed off my list and when I look back they were for someone else – NOT me! The first step to providing enough time for your workouts is to be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
I notice when I lose my time I am giving it away to things I may not need to be doing. I could call it “wasting” however that isn’t the right word. I ‘m doing things I enjoy or spending time with people I enjoy. I may just be overstaying my need. It is powerful to check in with yourself and notice are you giving your time away to others because you want to, enjoy it, or are you doing it because you think you need to – that’s your duty, they will be mad at you, or that’s what you are supposed to be doing?
Notice if your being (body, mind, and soul) expand when you are engaged in an activity. If they are not it may be time to look at your work / life balance. For some us we put way too many shoulds and have tos on our plate leaving little time for want tos.
With three kids, a job, and school I must say I’m busy. It is important I check my work / life balance often to make sure I am balancing out my life. If I spend too much time doing things I have to and not enough want tos my life wouldn’t work.
This includes looking closely at the things I enjoy. If I spend too much time with my friends I may not have time for my family. If I spend too much time with my kids I may have a under – exercised lab. If I spend too much time reading I may not have time to enjoy any of the above. Get it? Its all about balance.
Check out how you have spent your time in the last 3 days and notice if you are spending too much time doing things you have to, want to, or should do. Then begin to make sure you’ve got balance each day between all three. AND make sure to do at least one thing you enjoy each day, just for you.
Begin Living Your Life Today!
As you begin to take more time for yourself it can be hard to chose what to do without feeling guilt or even shame and selfish. So here are some ideas to help you take time for you and drop the negative feelings that may have long standing places in your psyche. Remember when you feel good you will pass those feelings onto to those you love.
1) Wake up slowly – read, drink a cup of coffee or tea, enjoy the quiet of your home before any chaos of getting ready for a school or work day. It doesn’t have to be a long period just quiet.
2) Do Yoga – or simple stretches and tune into your body and how it feels in the moment
3) Exercise – even if its just taking the dog for a walk
4) Hike – or get out in nature and follow her rhythms. I like to kayak or float this time of year and let the water be the guide to my speed. I make a conscious choice to go only as fast as the river flows.
5) Take a bath or spend some time at your private “home spa” – pick some treatments you would like at the day spa and do them at home in the privacy (and quiet) of your own home.
On Monday we looked at our lives subjectively. Are there areas I feel out of balance and I can I see ways to change. On Wednesday we took an objective look at how we spend our time and decided if how we spend the majority of our time is how we want to spend the majority of our time. Today we look at 5 ways to manifest better balance into our lives.
Once you have determined areas of your life you want to change it is easy to blame why you don’t change on others:
- My kids need too much
- My significant other doesn’t want to eat healthy
- I have too much to do
- I am taking care of my parents
the list could go on.
The bottom line is – change is hard, there is a reason you are caught in the patterns you are caught in, and if you really want your life to look different you will have to figure out ways to make that happen. Small steps can make that happen.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Write down your goals
- Delegate – are there jobs you do (laundry, cleaning, cooking, errands, car pooling) that others could do. Hint: they will do it differently than you and that is ok.
- Create some boundaries. Do you need to tell people no more often – “no I can’t cook X for the upcoming pot-luck”, “no I can’t coach soccer this fall”. Get clear about what you want. This is critical to honoring yourself and others in your actions. Be kind, open, and honest when turning down offers and be ready for resistance from people who are used to hearing yes.
- Create a goal poster – clip pictures of your life vision and set the intention to achieve them. Place it where you will see it often everyday.
- Commit to live with intention. In each moment ask yourself if this is what you want to be doing/thinking and honestly listen for the answer. When you find yourself answering no decide what you do want to be doing and make efforts to move in that direction.
These are not suggestions to shrink from life responsibilities. All of us would rather be doing something else at times but by listening to what you would rather be doing you begin to see a pattern of what is working and what is not working in your life. By visualizing what you want you are better able to recognize activities which might move you in that direction. In doing those activities more often you are more likely to get the life you want one step at a time.
If you checked out Monday’s blog I hope you did some thinking over the last few days about where you might want to create better balance in your life. And if you feel pretty balanced right now you may want to think about strategies to keep it that way. Life has a tendency to cycle and the more tools you have in your toolshed to better able you’ll be to handle any curve balls thrown at you.
Here is an exercise I like to do in workshops to help create a visual of where life may be out of whack. I usually do it as part of a long workshop (more than 2 hours) so take some time with it and see what comes up for you.
Large piece of paper – make it work for you
Crayons, markers, or colored pencils – at least 3-5+ different colors
Some quiet time to think
Fold your paper into four quadrants – you can also use the back if your paper is small.
Across the top list your major areas in your life – give each its own color, for example:
- Me Time
- etc – put as many labels in as needed to get a complete picture of your life obligations.
In the top left square – using a different color for each activity (work, home, me time, social, spiritual, etc) place your average daily schedule – from the time you wake up till the time you go to bed. Mine might look like this:
6am – wake up (me time – red)
6:30 – yoga (spiritual – green)
7 – breakfast (home – purple)
7:30 – shower (me-red)
8:00 – leave house (work – orange)
and on throughout my day – each activity has a connection to a larger area of my life and is colored coded accordingly.
In the bottom left quadrant draw a circle – using the visual of a clock (but don’t use the actual time numbers as your segments) begin to fill in the number of hours you spend in each major area of your life.
This may sound a bit confusing – but the idea is to take an honest look at how much one area dominates your life.
I like to start with one area
Count the hours I spend “doing” in that area
And color all my hours in one block – so I end up with a neatly shaded pie
Each color representing a different life area, and each area/color a different slice. It soon becomes clear which slices/areas dominate my life and which are lacking. In the above example I would have:
1 hour – me time
1/2 hour – household
1/2 hour – Exercise
1/2 hour – work
Once you have completed this exercise it is easy to repeat every so often to determine an objective look at how you use your time and what areas of life are controlling the majority of you. This objective look creates space for you to determine if the activities you spend the majority of your time on are the ones you want to be spending the majority of your time on and better able to make changes accordingly.