Decide On Your Path. Set Your Goals. It’s Your Life, Take It back!

10 Great Ways to Take Your Life Back

As I’ve hit my 40s head on, I’ve learned a few things that life deemed it right for me to start learning now rather than earlier.

Some of my clients have confirmed the learning for me and for them when they’ve had their moments of insight, and it’s been wonderful seeing them acting on their realisations.

Here are, in no particular order, my top 10 great ways to take your life back; thank you to the clients who have had their lightbulb moments and for my own.

1. Know what you don’t want.
Sometimes when I ask my clients what they want, they answer with “I don’t know.” This is fair enough, sometimes it can seem that choices are overwhelming, or we just don’t know where to start.

If that’s the case, then take a look at what you definitely don’t want. This can be an easier place to start; I found this very helpful as I could rattle off a whole list of things. This made what I did want much clearer (and some of these things were the opposites of the don’t wants) and allowed me to start tailoring my life in a much more positive way. Give it a try and see how it works for you.

2. Acknowledge yourself.
When do you give yourself credit for making positive changes, or doing something out of the ordinary? When we react to situations in ways that are new to us, we’re forming new neural pathways so that we can establish new behaviours.

And here’s a weird thing, although your reactions might be positive, and a change for the better, you may not like yourself very much because these new responses are out of character. When you say no to someone for the first time, I can leave you feeling uneasy and guilty…embrace it. It’s positive change. Be a bit nicer to yourself.

3. Say no.
This is one of my favourites. I say no to all sorts of stuff now that I never used to. It’s not about being stubborn, it’s about doing things that are right for you. For example, you know those magpie friends we sometimes get? The ones who drain us and our time when we’re new and shiny, and flit about, then come back when it suits?

Learning to say no to these types of friends is important. Friendship works both ways, and while they might not be equally balanced, there’s no law that states the give and take should be all about you giving and them taking. Say no occasionally, and make them do some leg work. Never underestimate the power of No.

4. Stick to your values.
Your values are important and are central to integrity. If you’re being asked to compromise your values, you don’t have to. End of. If your values are tied up into a large ego, that’s a different matter.

Your values can impact on marriages, relationships, and friendships. Should I stay or should I go. Only you know the answer but your values will help you decide.

5. Stop apologising.
Being apologetic is exhausting for us and annoying for other people. It’s unnecessary and is linked to low self esteem. I know people (and have been that person) who could get personal absolution from the Pope and it still wouldn’t be enough. So just stop apologising.

It’s as simple as that. If you’ve genuinely done something to apologise for, then make amendments for hurt feelings and so on, but the little things that we apologise for every day? Just stop. The weight you will have lifted is immense. Remember that new responses form new neural pathways in the brain.

The more you do something differently, the easier it gets and those pathways are strengthened. Neuroscience is a wonderful thing.

6.Negotiate rather than compromise.
Life is all about compromise; you have to compromise in a marriage; you have to compromise to get some of the things you want. NOT TRUE. Compromise means we barter with each other, and no one gets anything they really want, or enough of what they need, and it breeds misery and resentment.

Compromise is a non-starter. Negotiation is the key to successfully taking what you need while making sure the other party is also happy.

7. Laugh lots.
Life is funny. Sometimes it’s “interesting”…you know what I mean by interesting, don’t you…many of us go through our lives dreading and fearing the things that make us suffer, such as death, loss of family members, and so on.

And while these are traumatic events and I would never underestimate the pain they cause, thankfully, most of our lives are filled with normal days. Try to keep the fear at the very least as something you acknowledge while laughing your way through life.

Switch off the tv news, and take the time out to laugh with people, and hug the ones you love till they squeal.

8. Do things because you can.
Not because you should. I cannot stress enough how pointless and destructive “should” can be when it’s self inflicted. How guilty can you make yourself feel by telling yourself you “should stay in my unhappy marriage”, “should lose two stone”, “should stick this job out because it’s all I’ve got.”

How about freeing yourself and your partner from the confines of unhappiness? What if you lose some weight in a structured way that makes you proud and pleased? What if you take a look at what else is around you because you just never know? There’s a lot more freedom in open thinking than there is in “should.”

9. Realize you have all you need.
This one is not always easy, so for this, I’m going to refer you the fabby JK Rowling and the wonderful Sorting Hat at Hogwarts. When Harry Potter joins Hogwarts, the sorting hat is placed on his head, and while he whispers that he doesn’t want to go into Slytherin House, the Hat tells him, “Are you sure? You could be great you know. It’s all here.”

I love that line, because it’s a truth she has aimed towards children from a young age. If only we could all experience that and realise that this is pretty profound stuff. We need friends and a social life and love, but you have everything you need to be successful and happy without relying completely on someone else. Harness this personal power in the right way for you. It’s magical.

10. Live your dreams.
This is much easier than we think. We achieve small triumphs regularly but possibly don’t put much emphasis on them. Every time you achieve something that makes you happy, tell the world. If your dreams don’t work out, create new dreams.

If you achieve it but it’s not quite as you expected, then it’s dream version 2. Pursue your own goals, not anyone else’s; my dream was to be a musician. I realised that this was my parents’ dream rather than mine, and I stopped pursuing it.

This means I now have a skill I can enjoy without the stress of being forced into high achievement. So live your dreams, but as Edward Monkton says, just don’t live the ones about the giant spiders.

So, these are just a few of the things learned by myself and my clients in our sessions. Can you add to this? Drop me a comment and let me know.

Remember, your life is yours to live. It doesn’t belong to anyone else. Make sure it fits.

By Paula F Jones

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