Friday, September 11, 2009

Strategy for Maintaining Control of Your Life and Not Spiraling Into Negativity

Hello! First I'd like to apologize for my lack of blogs lately. Most of my writing time has been going toward working on my first book, so I've been somewhat neglecting this blog. I definitely want to continue posting here though (it's part of my tithing!) and so I thought I'd post one of the strategies/instructions I was just drafting for the "How To Use This Book" section of the book I'm writing. It's applicable to maintaining control of your life, reaching your goals, and not falling into destructive habits. This technique is meant to keep you from slipping. BTW, this presupposes that you're working towards goals. And pretty much everyone is, even if that goal is just to be happy (the most important of all in my opinion). So here we go.

Take Inventory Once a Week

......Since taking and maintaining control of your life can be a little tricky at times, I suggest you use the “Taking Inventory Once a Week” technique that I personally use in my life and encourage all my clients to use as well.

Once a week you will sit down and take inventory of your life. You will write down what is working for you and what is NOT working for you. It doesn't have to be some long ceremonial thing or process, but you do have to honestly reflect on your week and life in general. It’s just like a brief check-in. A once a week life inventory to see how things are going for you. To troubleshoot problems or potential problems and realize what changes you need to make NOW. This system helps you stay on track and therefore helps you stay in control.

It’s easy to slack off a couple days and start going in a different direction. Usually a spiraling downward direction. So checking in once a week helps catch self-limiting or self-sabotaging behavior before it becomes a problem. For example, if you start engaging in destructive behavior, wallowing in negative thoughts/emotions/self-pity, or start throwing your time away, you will catch it within a week’s period and do something about it. This way you never allow the feelings of things like throwing your day away or the guilt, disappointment, and powerlessness that come with doing such things to overwhelm you and sink you into its’ dark holes. You will catch what’s not working BEFORE it spirals out of control.

So once a week sit down and take inventory. Write down what’s working for you, what’s not working for you, what needs to be changed, and what you will no longer accept in your life. Resolve to change what’s not working and write down a step by step action plan for changing it. Then implement your plan immediately. Every time you do this, you’re taking back control of your life instead of allowing yourself to feel helpless. It checks trends before they grow and turn into habits. Or alternatively catches old negative habits that you need to eliminate.

For example, let’s say your physical health is deteriorating. You’ve gained five pounds and your muscles feel weak. Feeling out of shape is causing negative feelings in you. You’ve been meaning to go to the gym but you haven’t gone in a few weeks. During your life inventory, you sit down and write that gaining weight and leading a sedentary life is not working for you. You resolve to change it. Then you write down your action plan for this week. For example: "I will take a 30 minute walk during my lunch time every day and I will join a weekly yoga class this week." You don't have to go crazy with it and get carried away because you'll have another check in the following week and you'll be able to adjust accordingly and add more stuff if needed.

See how it helps troubleshoot before little things turn into big problems?

And it’s very important while using this book because it will help you catch yourself if you start to backslide or aren’t keeping up with your exercises. For example, during your weekly inventory you might realize that you are holding a lot of anger toward someone and it’s affecting your mood and emotions. You realize that holding that anger is not working for you and you remember from Chapter ___ that you aren’t supposed to be holding on to anger anymore (in fact it's supposed to be one of your goals). And so you resolve to let go of that anger before it keeps growing and starts having a larger effect on your life. It’s crucial to catch things before they spiral out of control. So please make it a goal to check in once a week.

Make it part of your routine. Do it religiously. Consistency matters with this one.

That's the section I have on that because I have a limited amount of space in that chapter of my book. But since this is my unlimited blog, I'll add a few more examples in case you all want them. :-)

More examples:

-Another example, let’s say you find that lately you’ve just been exhausted at work and that it’s related to a certain someone calling you late at night. You decide the rewards those late night conversations are bringing you aren't worth the exhaustion at work. So you determine that this is just not working for you anymore and you sit down and write down your plan for changing the situation. I.e. "From now on I will no longer take his late night calls or I will limit our calls to one hour."

-Or let’s say one of your goals is to finish a poem, book, painting, song, project. But you only worked on it two hours this week. You wonder where your free time went and you realize that most of it was spent online playing on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You decide that throwing your time away online is not working for you. Then you write down what actions you’re going to take in response. I.e. Limit your online time to two 30 minute sessions a day. And remember to implement it immediately. **Procrastination is one of the most popular self-sabotage strategies out there. Always be on the look out for it and be sure to check it immediately. Tends to rise from subconscious feelings of unworthiness (in case you were wondering).**

-Or you realize that you've been feeling a little down and gloomy this week. And you are pretty sure it's because you are lacking fun in your life. And working all the time is not working for you. So you sit down and write down a plan for adding fun to your life. I.e. Two days a week I will do something I consider fun. I will start by going to the beach this Saturday and going to play laser tag Wednesday after work (I don’t know, but you get the idea).

-Or you realize that you spent a lot of time in the middle of gossip this week and that's just not conducive to the positive lifestyle you are trying to lead. You can't be all up in the middle of negativity expecting to attract positive things into your life. So you decide that friend's gossiping about other people in front of you is not working for you. And you write down your action plan for no longer having to sit through gossip.

-Or you sit down and realize you have a lot of money stress. And decide that financial uncertainty is just not working for you. So you sit down and write down what actions you are going to take to get rid of financial uncertainty.

-Disorganization and clutter are also popular ones. You realize the mess on your desk needs to go but you've been putting off cleaning it for a couple of months. So you sit down and allot time for cleaning and organizing. Schedule it in. Do it.

LOL, alright I think that's enough examples.

Have fun taking back your power and maintaining it! Most people have no idea just how much power they have. Make sure you are tapping into that power.