Improve Your Life In Five Easy Steps

Published: 16th February 2012
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Sounds too good to be true? Try it - after all, what have you got to lose? Do you live your life, or does your life live you? Try the steps below out for size and see how much more in control you are:

What Do You Believe In?

A friend of mine says that 'knowing what you stand for limits what you'll fall for' - and understanding your own values is vital, as it is the cornerstone that you can build on, that will help you make decisions when there are no clear-cut options. Values are personal to you, so there are no right and wrong answers - write them down, like a personal manifesto.

Living your values is a daily challenge, so don't forget to review them regularly. People judge themselves by their intentions, but judge others by their actions - which it's why it's important that your intentions and your actions match.

Have a Set Target

Once you're sure of your values and beliefs, it's time to put them to use to set yourself some goals. You'd be surprised how few people give themselves this small gift - only about 2% of the planet has themselves formal priorities like this. If you don't know what you want, how are you going to get it? Set yourself a challenge, but make sure it's achievable. Write your goals down - that way they become tangible, which means you're more likely to focus on them and make them happen. When you have a plan that works for you, not you working for the plan, then you give yourself power and control over your future. Give it a try you might be surprised at the result.

Keep an Equilibrium

Everyone needs a bit of balance in their life. There's no point having the World's greatest career if you're lonely and have no-one to share it with. You'll get the most out of achieving your goals if you have balance in your life, so make sure that you're content with the full spectrum in terms of your professional, spiritual, emotional, personal, intellectual and family life.

You're in Charge of the Here and Now

Too many people in this life are looking for someone else to blame for things not being perfect. In reality, though, it's all down to attitude. Only you can affect your attitude and, when you understand this and live according to it, you become the master of your own enjoyment of life. Don't live in the past, or waste time worrying about the future. Life is in the here and now, and there are no rehearsals. If something in your life is not what you want, only you have the power to change it, so what are you waiting for? Focus on your goals in the present and the future will be taken care of.

Have Passion for Life

Lastly, it is important that are passionate about who you are, what you have and what you do. If you don't have passion for these things, you may as well just be sleepwalking through life. To quote the movie 'Joe versus the Volcano' (which is almost certainly a first for executive coaching!):

"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement"

Wouldn't you like to live in that state? The only person that can make that happen is you.

How Can I Start?

When you write down your beliefs and values, write them in the present tense. For example: 'I am physically fit', 'I am a good friend', 'I am financially secure', 'I am an honest person in all my dealings with others'. Look at every area of your life when it comes to selecting values: your work, family, friends, relationships, health, attitude, finances and community participation. Use these as headings, and then add clarifying statements, like this:

I am financially secure: I pay my bills in advance I save x% of my income I review my insurance annually I ensure I have the best deal in financial products.

The Difference between Values and Goals

Values are who you are, whereas goals are a description of the result. Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound). For example, "I will diet for a month" says what you will do, not what you will achieve. By the same token, "I want to lose weight" isn't specific enough to be a focus. Try instead, "I will lose 10 pounds by the end of March." If you give your goals parameters such as deadlines, you'll dramatically increase your chance of success.

Some of your goals might be linked directly to your values. For example, if one of your values is to be physically fit, then a goal might be to be able to run a mile in seven minutes.

Picture yourself at the age of ninety, sitting comfortably and thinking back over your life, smiling over what you accomplished. What are the accomplishments you'd like to be remembering? Running a marathon? Seeing the Northern Lights? Opening your own business? Seeing your children happy and successful? The person to make this happen is you, and the time is the present. Good luck, and enjoy!


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Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC is CEO of The Egan Group, Inc., a Reading, PA based professional coaching firm. She is a certified workplace productivity coach and professional speaker, specializing in leadership development and can be reached at marsha@marshaegan.com or visit http://www.InboxDetox.com.

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