Over the past nine weeks I’ve been running a blog series called ‘How to Create a More Fulfilling Future.’ If you’ve missed any of the posts over the course of this series then don’t panic – you can catch up by clicking the links at the bottom of this post.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken part and shared their stories. In the beginning, I suggested gathering your answers together in a personal workbook. There was a good reason for this as writing down our goals, observations, and achievements help us to stay grounded and accountable to our dreams.
If you have been following the entire series, then you’ll hopefully have a fully rounded picture of your life, goals, and aspirations so far. You should have found yourself thinking quite seriously about certain aspects of your life – this is good!
We looked at what we would do if we were brave enough, and what we have achieved even though we never thought we would or could.
Fear is a huge factor when pushing ourselves to do something outside our comfort zone. My favourite acronym is FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real and helps me remember that sometimes I’m the only one who is halting my efforts.
Quitting a job, writing and publishing a book, travelling solo, emigrating, and completing a physical challenge were just some of the incredible achievements my readers shared in the first week. Recalling your personal bravery, achievements, and spontaneous actions brings a sense of clarity to the forefront of your mind and therefore paves the way for you to set yourself other challenges and goals. So, here’s that final question again – what challenges are you ready to face now?
On week two we put aside our various hats (mum/dad/wife/husband/colleague/friend) and looked at what we would love to do if we had the freedom to do it. What would you do with a spare hour, afternoon, day, or weekend? The point of this exercise was to detach from our everyday ‘roles’ and think back to what it was like when we were only responsible for ourselves.
Why do our dreams have to change because we get married, or have children? Why can’t we drop everything and visit a friend at the other side of the country? Who said we couldn’t possibly indulge in an afternoon at the cinema, or curl up and read a book instead of ironing? And why do we insist on staying late at work instead of heading home to be with the family?
Often, we act how we think other people would want us to act. It’s something we learned as small children that has been carried through into our adult lives. Recognising that we are in control of our lives is important.
What are you good at? What would you like to improve? Thinking about our skills in a positive light helps us to feel connected to our passion, so it’s essential that we review this on a regular basis. While celebrating our strengths, it’s also imperative to think about the areas of our life we would like to improve upon. It’s these topics that become our future goals.
Improving ourselves is how we evolve and grow. Learning a new language, returning to college to retrain, building our self-confidence through workshops, and wishing to improve writing skills were just some of the ideas raised during week three. If time and money were no issue, what would you love to learn or improve upon?
Stress is a word that every single one of us has heard about, and probably experienced at one time or another. Do you let it control you, or do you have a system in place to combat/deal with the symptoms of stress? This was the topic up for discussion in week four.
Work, health, family, and finances came out as the top culprits for causing stress in our lives. It was interesting to note how my readers all reacted physically to this. Stomach pains, headaches, and chest pains manifested as a reaction to their situations.
Another interesting point to note is that in most situations the stress was self-inflicted. For example: Stressing about the state of the house when the kids are playing, adopting a ’what if’ attitude to situations and worrying about the hypothetical outcome, mentally berating yourself for having a chocolate bar instead of going to the gym, and putting too much pressure on yourself – or that need to be in constant control!
The final questions of week four touched upon how to cope with stress and what you could do to help yourself. Taking a time out to read, walk, a nap was a favourite with my readers. As was meditation, positive thinking, writing or journaling, and talking things over with family and friends. Do you have a favourite way to cope with stress?
Week five was an interesting one as we looked at how long we spend on social media, how valuable that time was, and what we could do instead if we cut back. Thinking about and/or recording the amount of time you spend online can be quite shocking, but by doing this, you highlight areas where you can claim back valuable time for family, leisure, or writing activities.
There’s a fine line between over-indulgence on social media sites and being active for the good of your profile (blog/book/business). The questions this week were designed to make you think about the quality of posting you do and if you really need to scroll down endless kitten memes! It was a challenging week of questions for many of my readers.
Who do you admire? Who keeps you grounded? Who motivates you? This week was all about appreciating our support networks in whatever capacity that falls under. Many of my readers acknowledged the importance of family in their answers, as well as the online support from fellow bloggers, writers, and colleagues. Knowing who we can call upon for encouragement and assistance is an important part of our personal development. Yes, we can do everything, but we don’t have to. Call upon your cheerleading squad to help you.
I wanted to talk about self-care on week seven and look at how we treat ourselves compared to how we treat others. It was interesting to see that 99% of my readers think about others before themselves.
Why do we do this? I’ll use the classic flight attendant speech to highlight the need for self-care – put on your own oxygen mask before helping others! Many years ago I realised that if I were broken, I wouldn’t be strong enough to help my family, so I concentrated on healing myself, looking after my personal development and self-care, and when I’d grown strong I was able to help others easily but from a place of power.
Looking after your own needs is not selfish, it’s necessary. Julia Cameron dedicated an entire book to the importance of ‘filling the well’ in her fabulous book, The Artist’s Way. What can you do today that’s just for you?
Enjoying a little light relief during our personal development is just as important as the self-work we do as we evolve and grow. This week was dedicated to remembering our funniest moments and also our most embarrassing moments.
What I found most interesting was how my readers had been able to turn these experiences on their head and see the funny side. Learning to accept our faults and failures is a huge step in the right direction, but to be able to turn them into lessons is even better. Every embarrassing moment is a small part of that patchwork of emotions. It might take some time, but we rethink the memory and turn it into a positive.
The final post of the series looked at what we would like to be, do, or have if money, failure, and time was no issue. I wanted my readers to dream big this week!
We can prevent ourselves from achieving our dreams because of self-doubt, limiting beliefs, and acting how we think other people would want us to behave. Why? These final questions were designed to make you think about your deepest desires, greatest ideas, long-held dreams, and to realise that nobody, but you, is holding you back from achieving what you want.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and found it to be helpful and insightful. Personal development is just that – personal. We are all on a unique journey with different goals, but finding support in each other’s stories is what helps us to learn and grow.
Thank you for being a part of this voyage and may I wish you all a happy and prosperous future.
Here’s a look at the previous posts in this series:
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