how to plan a life
I got up obscenely early today, after falling asleep pretty early and waking up a couple times. (My sleep patterns are so weird, lately). At like 4:30 am, I just decided to get up. I took my thyroid meds, fed the cats, went through my morning self-care ritual, ate a doughnut (yes, I bought some because I’m an adult. Damnit. It was less than stellar, and I wish I’d had bacon). For some reason, on weekends, if I haven’t tackled my weekend chores already, I always do them before sunrise. I’m not sure why, but I enjoy doing it early because it gets the blood pumping; I’m less likely to see people; and then I have all day to do my own thang.
So, in about an hour, I cleaned the cat boxes, vacuumed, cleaned two small fridges, cleaned the bathrooms, mopped floors, compiled trash, ran trash downstairs, and got last week’s mail. I ran into two people. Apparently, the loveliness of early mornings is catching on. I took the stairs back.
And then guzzled water, changed into lounge-wear, piled my hair on top of my head, and dug out my bright blue Moleskine. In the process of digging for that, I found three bottles of Chinese herbs that I remembered were helpful for sinus issues, so I took a few of those. And then my nose became a faucet. YES!
(I think this is the first time since Friday morning I’ve gone a whole 12 hours without checking my bank account for my late check).
I decided to be lazy this weekend. I woke up deciding that yesterday. Part of my personal self-care routine–which I’m still very bad at observing, btw–is to give myself days off on the weekends when I’ve had a rough week. My week wasn’t that bad, just busy and frustrating. But Friday was triggering in more ways than one, so I figured I’d do better next week if I gave myself a self-care weekend. It meant putting off chores and trying my best to do right by myself–staying away from upsetting things and people. And just trying to feel all the things I didn’t necessarily want to feel–releasing them along the way. It was good. And needed.
This morning, I woke up with a lot of energy and motivation. Both of which are usually in very short supply. So, chores were done, but I decided during chore time to finally do something I’ve wanted to do for ages.
Y’all know I have this ridiculously long Mighty List. I mean, it will probably take me a lifetime just to organize the damn thing and make any of it attainable. I’m a list maker. And I’ve always wanted to do all the things. I’m the goaliest of them all.
For a while, I’ve wanted to transform that long list into something more realistic and attainable. I feel like, now that I’m moving and starting a whole new chapter of life, it’s even more important. So, I started that today.
I thought about how I would go about my consulting work–working with a non-profit or a business. What would I recommend?
One of the big things I recommend when working with nonprofits–especially start-ups–is crafting a vision and a mission statement. These tools are great because they a) tell people who you are–who you intend to be; b) provide guidance when things are murky; c) act as building blocks for intentional planning; and d) give you a big end goal to work towards.
I don’t know anyone with a vision and mission statement. But maybe, we all should start crafting them! I mean, some of us–okay, maybe, all of us–have probably done a vision board or read a woo woo book about the power of intention. But, few of us really follow-through on these things. Including me. Though the perfectionist in me loves the entire process.
When a nonprofit crafts such things–they really have to know what they stand for and value; what their hopes are; and what their ultimate end-goal is. It can’t be vague. From there, you can start breaking things down into areas and start backwards planning like a badass–creating actionable steps to realize your vision.
I figured if it works for nonprofits, it might work for me. But coming up with a vision and a mission is kind of an involved process. Here’s what I came up with and tackled this morning.
I don’t know about you, but I want to live an intentional life. To do that, I really have to know what my core values are. I have to understand why I value them and how they’ve shown up in my life. Knowing these things will help you strategize and build in supports for yourself when things are tough. What are the things I live by? What things guide my life? What things give me strength? What traits do I want to embody?
What do you want?
What really matters to you in your life? What do you want more of in your life? What do you want from your career? What are your secret passions? What would bring more joy/happiness into your life? What do you want your relationships to be like? What qualities do you want to develop in yourself? What do you care about? What do you want to accomplish most in your life? What do you want your legacy to be?
What does your best life look like?
In 20 years, what things will you have accomplished? What things will you be working toward?
Thinking of that life, how do you feel about yourself? What kinds of people are around you? What are your days like? Where are you? What does your house look like? How do you look? What are you wearing? What’s your state of mind?
How do you get from here to there?
- What’s the last thing that would have had to have happened for you to get to that vision of yourself in 20 years?
- What are the important choices you would have had to have made to get there?
- What would you had to have learned along the way?
- What important actions did you take?
- What were your milestones?
- What beliefs did you have to change?
- What habits/behaviors did you cultivate?
- Where did you get support for changing?
So, my next steps are to pick out the themes I see here. I’ll also be asking a lot of why. I’ll be scrutinizing and brainstorming for specific actions I can adopt now to make these things happen. From there, I will make a list of resources and support systems I can create for myself now. Then, I’ll pick out the top areas I want to focus on and build out ladder rungs of SMART goals and sub-goals. Then, I’ll start looking at my Mighty lists and see where I’ve already started and where I still need to work. Then, I’ll start knocking down the rungs.
For me, all of this is designed to be part of a way of living more intentionally. Growing up, my entire life was one big reaction, and I often fall into this way of living–without trying to.
Let me know if you try it and how it works for you. I’ll be posting updates as I meet my goals.