It is impossible to live our best life unless we know what that would look and feel like, and it is impossible to know this unless we know ourselves. When we don’t, we let external forces shape and define it for us instead. How often do we ask ourselves questions such as “who am I” , “what’s important to me”, “what do I value”, “what do I believe about myself and the world around me”, “what do I stand for” ? Probably not very often at all. We are too busy “living” the life we have, to stop and design the life we want. And it always starts with this, we mentally create everything in our minds first, before it can materialise and become a reality. I love Jim Rohn’s quote “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
Self-knowledge is at the heart of designing the life we want. Developing habits such as journaling and reflection will boost our self-knowledge and help us to look past our superficial reactions and see our underlying needs and emotions. Putting some time aside to answer the following questions may be a good starting point.
- What is important to me in life?
- What motivates me to go the extra mile?
- What makes me happy?
- What am I curious about? What fascinates me?
- What words would I use to describe my personality?
- What are the most and least enjoyable parts of my day?
- How satisfied am I with my life/career/relationship?
- What bad habits have I adopted?
- How are my habits affecting my well-being?
- How important is self-care to me?
- What/Whom have I prioritized in my life? Why?
- What am I good at and what do I want to improve?
- How have I sacrificed myself for others? Why?
- What patterns in my behavior do I dislike?
- What is my biggest criticism of myself?
- What would I like to change in my life?
- Where do I see myself in five years?
- What do I want my legacy to be?
Answering these questions will help you define how you see yourself. If this personal image does not align with who you want to be, you can take steps to improve yourself as a person or to learn new traits. One of the things that came out for me through reflection years ago, when I started my personal development journey, was that I was quick to please and do anything to keep the peace and avoid conflict, including letting go of my own needs and wants. When I realised this I was shocked. I thought I was just being “nice”. I realised that unconsciously, through my behavior, I was communicating to others that I don’t value/respect myself, I have no demands, no expectations, no vision. This permissiveness allowed people to take advantage. I felt intimidated, disappointed, annoyed but didn’t have the courage to confront them or express those feelings. It was like being in a loop. Coaching and NLP helped me change from the inside out and become who I am today.
Having the recognition and awareness of what’s not right is the first step to change. Only then, you can start breaking the habits and behaviors that don’t serve you well; boosting your self-esteem rather than seeking strength through popularity or acceptance; setting boundaries that allow you to have strong and fulfilling relationships with self and others; accepting yourself for who you are; trusting that you know best what’s right for you; having empowering goals and aspirations; creating the life that makes you feel light, happy, abundant, grateful, joyful, free, at peace.
This is YOUR life and you deserve something beautiful, so go out and start creating.