2017 was a tough year for me. Finances went completely haywire and I had never been in so much debt in my life. My relationship was up and down constantly. I wasn't feeling happy with myself physically and had gained more weight than I ever had before in my life. I wasn't sure where to turn, but knew something needed to change, and fast.
I should have realized that when we ask, the universe listens. I was on LinkedIn one afternoon and discovered that a woman who had previously recruited me for a job years ago was now a life coach. I thought, "What is a life coach — is that even a real job?" I immediately reached out. After a brief introduction meeting with my potential new coach, I was hooked. The possibilities were endless and the work seemed doable — 12 weeks, one session per week, homework as an addition. I decided to move forward and get started. Over the course of 12 weeks, I faced every emotion in the book, from resistance and self-doubt to excitement and elation. Overall, I was able to secure a fresh, new outlook on life thanks to the following steps.
1. Set Intention Statements
Intention statements are written, clear pictures of what you want your life to be, as if it's already true. When we write our intention down, we give the universe clear instructions and a direction. We have to be sure of what we want and be crystal clear of our intentions. For example, I was unclear of what I wanted my health to look like. My coach instructed me to write it down with purpose. At first, I kept writing short sentences such as, "I look good and feel great in my clothes. I am finally happy with my body." My life coach said that wasn't clear enough and to go BIGGER. My intention turned into something like this: "I love my strong, healthy body. I am making the absolute best choices for myself and am nourishing my body with wholesome, nutritious foods. I have an abundance of time for self-care and my mind is free from worry." See the difference? Be clear. Go bigger.
2. Set Goals
Goals are the root of all success. If you don't have a goal, what is there to work toward? My life coach and I started by writing goals down in a spreadsheet by week. We got down to the nitty gritty of HOW we would achieve these goals. Let me give you an example: my goal was to save $1,000 by a certain date. How would I do this? I broke it down by how much I would save per week — $20 by week two, $50 by week three, etc. I also added in activities that would help me reach that goal even faster, such as selling $300 worth of items on an app and picking up $300 worth of freelance jobs. I put dates by those goals as well so that I had a deadline. By writing down your goals and breaking them into achievable steps, it makes the goals so much more powerful and also gives you accountability. I put this spreadsheet in my computer, but you can also set goals in your phone and create a calendar reminder of due dates.
3. Make a Vision Board
Having a living vision is so important. It gives life to your goals and aspirations and puts more power behind your intentions. I went to my local craft store and purchased a cute board. I bought some different magazines and went searching for images and words for what inspired me, what I wanted, what I saw myself having in the future. It felt like I was creating my future by every snip and paste. Put your vision board somewhere where you can see it every single day and feel inspired every time you look at it!
4. Engage in Self-Care
Finding time for self-care is so crucial when you are trying to make a positive shift in your life. I found that this was one of the hardest tasks to complete during my work with my coach because I was always "busy" and couldn't find the time to take 15 minutes for myself. We are all guilty of this. How did I manage? I scheduled this in my calendar. I added self-care to my goal sheet and put the exact activity I would do and how long I would do the activity for. I would also put a date by that activity and made sure I completed it. It seems like "work," but start to look forward to that 15 to 60 minutes of self-care a few times out of the week. I included activities like fitness classes, reading spiritual material or personal growth books, free-form writing, prayer, and meditation.
5. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter!
Get organized! I went through each room of my house and threw away old papers and shredded files that I no longer needed. I went through each drawer and gave away items that no longer served me, and threw away tattered items that couldn't be mended. I went through my closet and either gave away or sold items that I hadn't worn in over a year or those that still had tags on them. My rule of thumb: if it didn't strike happiness within me, I let it go. I also organized my kitchen drawers and cabinets because that's where junk and messes accumulate the most in my house.
I felt immediately relieved when I decluttered. I felt a huge weight lifted off of me and I was able to donate unwanted items to those in need. Feeling organized and helping others was a win-win!
These steps certainly helped add value to my life. At times, I wondered "is this all worth it, it's so much work and so many steps!" Let me tell you, it all starts with YOU. Even though I had a coach to help guide me, I was truly the only one that had the power to better myself. I still struggle with coming up with clear goals and following through on my commitments. Nobody is perfect. What matters is that we are clear about what we want — and the rest will come.