I love having a plan for my career and my life: it’s part of my DNA. It’s how I’m wired and becomes clear no matter what kind of personality tests I take (According to the Meyers-Briggs test, I’m an ENTJ. ) Calendars, spreadsheets, and dinner reservations make me one happy woman. Though I know there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach to life, I believe that everyone can benefit from some creating a vision and setting goals. Yet, you might be surprised for me to also say that we have to be comfortable with the fact that things change.
Change is a constant in life. Nothing is certain.
We change jobs. A loved one is ill or passes away. We have an unexpected opportunity. We fall in love. We have a child or become a grandparent. We complete a big goal or discover something new about ourselves on vacation.
One of the biggest influences on the plans that we create is that sometimes, what changes, is the person who made the plans: us.
It’s hard to always measure or see how we as individuals are growing. We look in the mirror each day as we brush our teeth and comb our hair and likely notice nothing different about our face. Sure, we notice the negative stuff: more grey hair and laugh lines around our eyes or mouth. But on average, we don’t see much change in the physical sense from one day to the next.
What we can’t see in the mirror, though, is the evolution of our souls or minds.
I’m sure we’ve all heard about the Stanford University research that says we replace all of our cells in a seven to ten year period. We age and expect our bodies to gradually change. We experience the big events in life – like marriages, births, and deaths – and understand that those things will shift who we are and how we think.
What most of us don’t imagine is that some of seemingly small or insignificant events shift us. We have a conversation with a stranger at the grocery store that opens us up to new ideas. We read a book or a blog posts that causes us to shift our thinking.
We set a goal and create a plan on making it happen. We work towards our desires. Achieving a big goal shifts our own paradigm about life and who we are in the world.
Most of the time, though we aren’t aware of it, the person who set a goal and made a plan to bring that dream into their reality isn’t the exact same person that finds themselves at the finish line.
We change. We aren’t the same person that made the plan. And that is disconcerting and uncomfortable. We think something must be wrong with us.
I’m going to tell you something, darling: you are not the same person you were last year at this time and you aren’t the same person you were on January 1st. And that’s OK.
Please know that you are always shifting, and that’s normal. We grow sometimes in such tiny increments, it feels impossible to measure. Sometimes, we evolve seemingly overnight and nothing in our life seems to fit just right.
So, what can you do about the inevitable?
Here’s how can you better manage the fact that you are always changing:
- Continue to set goals and make plans. Be willing to be in charge of your own life instead of living in a reactionary mode.
- Monitor your goals with some sort of regular review. When you review your goals on a consistent basis, you can adjust those plans to fit who you are becoming.
- Get clear on how you desire to feel. Taking actions towards a desired feeling in addition to a goal allows your goals to feel more satisfying.
- Get clear on your core values. Though you shift and change and grow, your core values will serve you as a compass, guiding your path.
- Trust your gut. Your intuition is actually your amazing and fabulous brain taking in all the inputs and experiences of your life.
- Get clear on your standards for living. When you are clear on what’s non-negotiable for your daily life, your actions will more likely be congruent with who you are today and who you are next month.
- Change up your routines. When your life changes, be willing to shift those tried and true routines.
- Set a word for the year. Each year I set a personal word for the year and even as I shift and grow, the deeper meaning of that word shifts along with me.
- Be willing to start over. If your dreams no longer fit, dig back into your desires and set goals that matter to who you’re becoming. Remember that each day is an opportunity to being fresh.
Sometimes, we desire change in our lives so that we can live a daily life that feels more nourishing. Sometimes, we move towards change because we desire something more for our lives. And yes, sometimes, we shift and evolve as part of the human experience.
I know that change can feel uncomfortable, but be willing to set goals and make plans for the way you want to live. When life inevitably does change, you’ll be ready for it!
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