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Give a Fresh Start to Your Personal Life

By Susan Murphy, Ph.D.

“Life is 5 % what happens to you and 95% what you do with that.”

pg-3-topAlthough life doesn’t come with a re-set button, you can give your personal life a fresh start anytime you choose. Why not declare that “2016 is going to be a fresh start”? I believe that what we do every day is important because we are exchanging a day of our life for it. If you aren’t happy with the life you are living, then make a commitment today to get on track to a joyful, productive life.

How do you kick-start your personal life?

Assess your current reality. How satisfied are you with your progress in key areas of your personal life? Consider your level of satisfaction with your health, relationships, spirituality, personal development, living conditions. Applaud yourself for the areas going well and choose 2 to 3 areas where you’d like to focus this year.

Examine your most important values and your life purpose. Who are you and what do you stand for? As the late Stephen Covey said, “It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the business of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the wrong wall.” Take time to understand yourself better. What are your hopes and dreams? Are you living a life that reflects your core beliefs?

Reflect on your past. Your rear view mirror can provide insights into your successes and your mistakes. Are there destructive patterns that have held you back? For example, do you have difficulty saying “No”? Perhaps it’s time for you to realize that when you say “Yes” to one thing, you’re actually saying “No” to something that may be more important to you. Do you struggle with your time management, leaving you no time for your exercise routine? Do you say that your family comes first and yet work every weekend? Has clutter bogged you down so it’s difficult to get organized?

Decide what YOU really want. It’s easy to be persuaded to set goals that others want for you. Your spouse may want you to become a good golfer, but if you don’t want to, you will not reach that goal. Be clear on what you want and why you want it. The why is important because if you don’t have a good reason for achieving the goal, you will easily get off track.

Limit your goals and spread them out. Start small and easy, especially if you have not been successful in reaching your goals in the past. Consider starting with something you already do occasionally but want to do daily. Your self-confidence will grow as you reach these initial goals and this will help prepare you for achieving future goals. One client’s 2016 resolution is to develop a closer relationship with his young daughter, so his goal is to take his daughter for pancakes the first Saturday of every month. Start working on one goal in January, then calendar the start date for the next one, i.e., June 15.

pg-28Write down your goals and make them “SMART.” SMART is the acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Time-bound. “Cholesterol will be less than 180 by May 1.” “Family cruise will be enjoyed by November 30.” The date of completion is critical because otherwise your destination becomes “Someday Isle,” which translates into merely wishful thinking. “Someday I’ll do this” and “Someday I’ll do that.”

Post your goals in visible sites around your home. My family posts 3 sets of goals: My Goals, My Husband’s Goals, & Team Goals. We check off goals that we accomplish and save the list from year to year. This builds our confidence that we are being successful and achieving the goals we set. Annually we clarify our family’s Mission, Values and Goals which is very unifying and creates a team atmosphere.

Keep only supportive, positive people on your Personal Board of Directors. This is the time to remove toxic people from your inner circle. Consider your closest relationships and decide who should stay, who should be re-classified, and who else can be recruited to support you. When you were a kid, your parents probably told you not to hang out with the wrong crowd. As adults it’s easy to forget this, although your inner circle has a strong effect on whether you achieve your goals.

Visualize yourself achieving your goal. The Law of Attraction says that when you focus on something, it will manifest. Have you ever noticed that if you are thinking about buying a red sports car that you see lots of them? When writing my doctoral dissertation, I placed post-its with “Ph.D.” in many places around my home and office to keep my focus on my goal.

Find your sense of humor! Be willing to laugh at yourself and forgive yourself so you will get back on track when you fall off-course.

Reward yourself! When you achieve your goal, celebrate by rewarding yourself with a new golf putter, a massage or a concert.

Life is 5% what happens to you and 95% what you do with that!

Dr. Susan Murphy is a best-selling author, coach and speaker who specializes in relationships, conflict, leadership and goal-achievement. Dr. Murphy can be reached at Dr.Murphy@LiveWellClinic.org and (760) 674.1615.

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