Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Planning Ahead

Often we don't think about the whole "thoughts create reality" concept until we are in a crisis. Then we might stop for a minute and think, "How did I ever get myself into this mess?" and then, "How do I keep this from happening again?"

Things can change in an instant but truly "creating a life you love" can take time and long range planning. I think creating a beautiful life can be like creating a magnificent sculpture... you chip away at what seems like rock solid reality, believing and hoping that beneath it all is a vibrant, creative human waiting to be set free.

It is January now and I have been reviewing my current situation and thinking about what changes I want to see in the next year. Having done this many times before I am a bit jaded about New Year's Resolutions. I know I can write down "Go to the gym three times a week." and "Loose forty pounds." and then do absolutely nothing to make it happen... and guess what? Nothing will change. One reason why nothing changes in that area is that I am very committed to avoiding discomfort, and to eating often. These two underlying committments suck me back into being a couch potato year after year.

One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein goes something like this: "You can't solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created the problem in the first place." Truly transforming your reality requires a change in your thinking AND an elevation of consciousness. To achieve this it is often a matter of finding a way to inspire ourselves. If you attack your thoughts head-on saying, "I am going to stop being so lazy right now!" chances are nothing will change. I have one friend who was a very overweight man most of his life. I know he tried many different diets and exercise plans, reaching 400 lbs at his top weight. What turned things around for him was meeting a personal trainer who took a real interest in helping him get past the stumbling blocks that had tripped him up before. Their friendship inspired him more than any New Years Resolution ever could.

So instead of working directly on changing your problems, I suggest you start by finding places of true inspiration in your life. If dieting is hard focus on really learning how to cook delicious healthy meals. If working out at the gym is too dull, how about ballroom dancing? Allow your emotions and imagination to inspire your choices.

It does all boil down to choices, and making choices is a moment to moment thing. However it helps if you can define some guiding principles to help you make those choices. There are probably some guiding principles already at work in your life. You may have decided long ago to live by the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If you are married you may have made a decision to be committed to your partner through thick and thin. You may have decided that being number one in a certain area of your life would be what would define you. It is a good idea to write these ideas down and figure out if the choices you are making are really in alignment with what you value. One area where I was shortchanging myself was in the area of spending. I tend to put everyone else first and frequently end up with not enough money to pay for my medicines. I had to make rules to put myself first, and to put my health needs high on the list when it comes to funds allocation. Just making a few basic rules can really improve your chances of making good decisions in a moment of impulse.

Another strategy of talented reality creators is having a plan... not just a "Today" plan, or a "Year at a Glance" plan. Try starting with a 250 year plan! How would you like to be remembered? What is your legacy for your family, your country? Our current behaviors and choices are already affecting that future, and so the choice to affect the outcome begins now with a 250 year plan, a 100 year plan, a fifty year plan, a decade plan with annual and monthly updates. Where are you headed? What are you living for? Answering these kinds of questions can help you to find inspiration to make changes in the present moment. Envisioning yourself going sailing with your grandchildren may inspire you to take better care of yourself today.

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