You are a creature of efficiency, the master of productivity. Everything is perfectly timed and perfectly coordinated, perhaps to the point you don’t even have to think about it, right?
We’ve been taught that this allows us to get more done in a day. When we don’t have to think about repetitive tasks, we can use our brains to chew on bigger things.
Yep, that’s totally true. But it’s also the #1 way we condition ourselves to not be present in our lives. To not ask the questions, “How do I feel about this? What do I want?”
You’re not alone. I’ve been dreaming bigger lately, and I’ve taken on a challenge to help myself to do that:
I’ve agreed to change up my habits. To the tune of not having any. 🙂
No habits, no rules, anything and everything is on the table.
What I mean, is that instead of going to my favorite coffee shop, I let my gut lead me somewhere new. Instead of ordering the same tall Americano with no room for cream, I (gasp!) ordered a caramel macchiato at Starbucks yesterday. (I don’t even go to Starbucks, ever!)
Instead of going to the same trail I always walk on, I let instinct guide my hike of the day. Instead of working from home, I make myself work in public. (Also, I sent a flirty email to someone I wanted to connect with on LinkedIn, which I’m pretty sure is totally against the rules of “appropriateness”.)
When we want more, we have to step outside of our comfort zone to figure out more about what that more looks like, and how it might arrive. Because if I have to try to decide what I’d like to be different about the same four walls that surround me every day, I’m probably not gonna get much further than a new paint color. But if I step outside of those four walls, I may decide that I’d rather have my four walls be six, or that I don’t want any walls, and a VW van that I drive to Central America is better suited to my needs at the moment. Who knows?
You think you need more imagination, but really, you need more life to bounce off of.
I know, I know, you’re like, “Uh, Rach? When am I supposed to fit that in exactly?”
I think you’d be surprised at how little we have to shake things up to shake things up. Go to a different grocery store, drive a different route to get to work, listen to a different radio station today, start a conversation with someone you wouldn’t normally.
Anything to wake up your brain and remind you that you’re not living on autopilot. That things can still shift at any moment..and better yet, that you’re ready for them to.
It is the act of moving through life that informs how we want our lives to be different (or have more of the same.) But if I hold those visions in my head, my creativity is only as big and imaginative as my brain is. If I take myself out into the world, I can see examples everywhere of things I want, experiences I like, things I don’t, etc.
Reminding yourself that there are more options than the ones you are currently choosing is the fastest way to improve your life.
You can’t what you want if you don’t know what it is. So you’d better be really darn clear about that. And if you need inspiration, by all means, go get you some!
This all brings me to one of my favorite homework assignments to give a client: make a list of 100 things you want. Sounds easy, right?
The list can be anything you want, material or not. Big or small, indulgent or practical. Doesn’t matter, as long as you want it. (And it doesn’t have to exist yet in order for you to want it – you could special order a fast spaceship to Jupiter if that rings your bell.)
Whenever a client comes back and tells me it’s hard, I jump in and start a list myself – to remind myself of two things:
First, that this is a muscle that can be developed…and as such, it can also atrophy. Staying connected to what I want is something worth practicing.
And second, having a list of so many things takes some pressure off the ones that I regularly stare at: money, love, travel, kid, work-related. (Do you have desires related to these on your top 5 list?)
It helps me remember that I can find satisfaction in all kinds of little things, and that it’s fun to dream in the land of outrageous as well. And, there are enough there that I don’t tend to get caught up in the “how” of any of it. When the list is smaller, my natural inclination is to be like, “But, how am I gonna buy a house in the Mediterranean?!!” This way, I just focus on the wants because it’s fun to think about. I don’t need them to come true for it to even be a worthwhile exercise.
I’m guessing you already know your challenge this week, should you choose to accept it! Try and make a list of 100 things you want. No filter. (It’s easy to get judgey on yourself, but try your best to turn that voice down while you’re working on this.) If you feel like sharing it with me, I’d love to read it!