Determining Your Desired Position & How to Get There
The next step in the process of making positive changes in your life is to determine where you want to be. What is your Point B?
Using the HALFERS Model with its seven essential life aspects - Health, Attitude, Learning, Finances, Employment, Relationships, and Spirituality - you’ve already assessed your Point A and marked a horizontal line on each of the seven essential life aspects, labeled “A”.
The next step is to think about what your best life looks like for each of the seven facets of your life.
Assessing Your Point B
For each aspect, now add a horizontal line for where you want to be. Label this fader line “B”.
You could write in your Point B line at 100% for each of the seven aspects of your life, but I ask you to create a realistic balance between what is aspirational and what is feasibly attainable. Life is never perfect and striving for that perfection is an easy way to be disappointed.
That said, we can always strive to become our best selves.
Susan’s Example: Assessing Her Point B for HEALTH
Susan wants to be more active, hike more, try a new sport with positive health and social benefits, like pickleball, and recover the athleticism and flexibility she enjoyed in her 30s and early 40s. She’s not looking to compete in an Ironman Triathlon, though a 10K race (even if she walked part of it) would be an achievable goal - and would get her back in the routine of jogging and walking more frequently. Her current weight is 175 pounds, and her target is 145 pounds.
Susan also wants to understand better why she can so easily get derailed from eating healthy. She knows what she needs to eat to improve her health, but she sometimes gives in to her cravings and overeats or drives to the grocery store late at night for ice cream.She assesses her Point B for HEALTH at 90%. While she does not aspire to be a competitive Masters athlete and she still wants to feel free to enjoy meals out (and a drink or two) with friends periodically, she does want to improve her diet, her physical activity, and her flexibility.
What does Susan do now after identifying her current position and her optimal position?
After determining our Point B for each facet, the next step is to compare our Point A to our Point B for each essential aspect of our lives.
When you see the gap between your Point A (today) and Point B (desired future) for each aspect, what emotion(s) do you feel?
- You may feel positive emotions because you have, in recent times, moved closer to where you want to be. Or maybe, for a particular aspect, you have already reached your optimal point. You are happy with where you are.
- You may feel negative emotions in seeing the difference between your Point A and Point B because you are not where you (or others) think you should be - or because you are comparing yourself to where others are.
I ask you to take a deep breath and know deep down that you can change your situation.
Today is the first day of your new journey.
Often, the first step is the most difficult. I have suggestions for how to take this step.
Getting Unstuck: Taking Your First Step to Exit the Roundabout
Sometimes we find ourselves caught in a holding pattern because we are unsure of our next step, which exit we want to take off the roundabout.
How do we break this cycle to move forward? How will we find our way off the roundabout?
From my last article and the Position Exercise, we’ve got both our Point A and our Point B for each of the seven HALFERS Model aspects of our lives. We now have a general understanding of the direction in which we want to go for each of these facets of our lives.
- Capture Your Thoughts (Journal, Jot Notes to Yourself)
- Ask for Help
Most of us are so busy “doing” that we rarely take the time to check in with ourselves. To slow down, be quiet, and think. Creating this space for reflection can be especially challenging to prioritize when we have many demands placed on us by our families, our work, and other commitments.
I encourage you to find a time, a place, or an activity that is designated for your reflection. This could be part of your morning routine in which you start the coffee and then take 15 minutes for meditation. This could be a specific location where you go to think, such as on the patio or in a secluded area of a park. This could be the 20-minute walk that you take after lunch for quiet thought (plus the bonus positive impact on your physical and mental health!)
Some are afraid of what they may hear in this quietude, but for those of us who wish to be our best selves, this is exactly why it is so important to tune in to our thoughts. They hold important messages that we need to be ready to receive.
After marking your Point A and Point B faders for each of the seven essential aspects of your lives, I ask that you give yourself some time and space to think about what you are feeling and sensing.
I’d like to reemphasize how important it is that you do not allow negativity or discouragement to take over - and keep you circling on the roundabout. While being realistic about your journey ahead, focusing on the positive threads of thoughts will help move you forward. Reflection is a logical pair to journaling, my next recommended action.
Capture Your Thoughts
Journaling or simply jotting down notes to yourself can be a valuable way to capture your thoughts for further reflection, and even a way to “empty” your head. This download from your brain to paper or your phone, tablet, or laptop (by typing or audio capture) can clear some space in your head to organize your thoughts and plan for your next steps.
The exercise will end with your commitment to actions that you can take in the next month that will get you closer to where you wish to be. You can add these actions to your calendar with a process in place to hold yourself accountable (maybe one of the people you asked for help). Another option is to join a 30-day challenge or to help you get off the roundabout and make forward progress on your path.
I have found immeasurable value in the practice of journaling to access and better understand what is truly going on inside of my head and heart. When I journal with pen and paper, I call this my “analog” work. I’m going back to basics! And by the action of writing down my thoughts, I am reinforcing the results of the thinking I have already done.
While my husband is not a journaler, he often put his thoughts down as quick notes to himself. When an idea or reflection hits him, he jots it down on a sticky note or yellow pad as his reminder to act or explore further. He did not grow up writing “Dear Diary” in a bound book, but he uses a method that works for him to accomplish the same result. Feel free to capture your thoughts through whatever means works best for you.
Your entries don’t need to be long or pretty. They simply need to be honest. And when you maintain a routine practice of capturing your thoughts, you can identify themes in your life - what makes you happy, the things that make you feel grateful, what can steal your joy, etc. Journaling is a tool you can use to think about where you want to be. Dream a little - or a lot!
If you’re feeling stuck, you can ask yourself questions like, “When do I feel stuck?” or “What are my future prospects?” Challenge yourself to write down responses to one or both of these questions every day for a week to identify your position. You are focusing your thoughts directly on the challenge at hand - trying to stop circling the roundabout!
The process of writing helps me turn my emotions (whether contentment, anxiety, joy, anger, awe, sorrow, etc.) into words. The words help me clear my head in transferring my thoughts and feelings to paper. Sorting through my writing, I look for steps I can take to move forward. The health benefits of journaling have been studied, showing a positive impact on mental well-being.
I love actual writing with a pen and paper, so a notebook is my preferred way of journaling. You may prefer not to keep a physical diary because you prefer to type or for privacy reasons. There are free online options, including penzu.com (written journaling) and journify.co (audio journaling), that allow you to encrypt journal entries. There are options for your phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop. You may like the convenience of jotting down or speaking your thoughts at any time on your phone. The benefits are universal!
The question “Where do you want to be?” is not so easy to tackle. Instead, ask yourself questions like:
- What activities do I look forward to doing because they fill me with positive energy?
- What would be different in my life if I reached my Point B for HEALTH? (You could do this for any or every aspect of the HALFERS Model!)
- What jobs would be satisfying to me while also uplifting and serving others?
- What does my ideal living space (work environment, spiritual practice, relationship communication, etc.) look like?
- What action can I take today to get me one step closer to where I wish to be?
Use this thinking process to focus your thoughts on possibilities and opportunities.
Ask for Help
In my book, the allegory titled, The Summit: Journey to Hero Mountain, Mallery was stuck in a town, job, and life that made her feel small, invisible, and deeply unsatisfied. To change her life, she struck out on a journey to Hero Mountain, overcoming challenge after challenge to find her way to a more fulfilling, meaningful, and inspired existence. She overcame these challenges with the assistance of a guide.
We do not have to do everything on our own. Sometimes it may feel like we have no one to count on, but I ask you to think about this more deeply. Maybe you can hire a coach or therapist, find a retired person with a success story in your field, see a clergy person or lay leader, or even speak with an acquaintance with a similar passion. One or more of these people can serve as an accountability partner or guide. There are also unlimited online support groups for whatever your interest or issue is.
As you start the process of planning your move from Point A to Point B, think about WHO can help you on your journey. I will be sharing more about this topic in upcoming articles. Support from and partnership with others can be critically important in helping us reach our summit.
In Part 2 of the Position Exercise Worksheet to help you on the journey to your summit, I encourage you to choose one thing you can do TODAY that will move you closer from your Point A to your Point B. I also encourage you to write specific statements (commitments!) of the three things you will do in the next month to make progress.
The most critical step is … taking a step! Most journeys are never completed because they never get started. The exercise worksheets will help you determine your first step.
You will be asked to prioritize what area of your life needs your attention first. You can order this however you wish. Maybe there is one aspect of your life that is causing you extreme pain. Or maybe there is another aspect that has become urgent due to a health diagnosis or other life event. Or you could take the step that you believe will be easiest to get a win under your belt and some wind in your sails!
Conducting an honest and compassionate evaluation of our current POSITION in life is a critical first step on the journey to our summits and is necessary, if we feel stuck, to work our way off of the roundabout around which we are circling.
Acknowledging, owning up to, and forgiving our shortfalls and mistakes can start us on the path to making changes.
Using my HALFERS Model, we can gain a more specific comprehension of where we are now (Point A) in each of the seven essential facets of our lives. We can use this same model to define where we wish to be (Point B).
Like a flight plan, knowing our current position is essential to getting us to our desired endpoint. We must honestly assess where we are now - with forgiveness and compassion and without blame or shame - to determine how we will move from where we are to where we want to be.
Once we know the direction in which we wish to head, we need a viable plan in place to move forward. Using the recommended steps of reflecting, capturing your thoughts, brainstorming, asking for help, and taking action, we can create and begin to execute a plan that enables us to exit the roundabout on the way to our summit. Next article: Benefits & Mindsets of a Different Perspective
Most journeys are never completed because they never get started.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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