The Life variable is all about your own individual path. It’s about being able to identify our strengths, needs, and desires to create a balanced and fulfilling life. See, the journey is the destination and often times we feel that hitting a certain age will deliver us to some miraculous moment where it suddenly all makes sense and everything in our messy lives falls into place. Unfortunately, as many of us can attest, this mythical “Ah-ha moment” remains just beyond our reach. See, adulthood comes with a TON of responsibilities that can be overwhelming when we see them as one big pile of unfinished tasks. When we get overwhelmed, we get disorganized; when we get disorganized, we lose track of our priorities, and give ourselves over to someone or something else that seems to have direction---even if it’s not the direction we’d choose ourselves. Sometimes we get tangled in someone else’s idea of what a “good” life should look like and begin to let their expectations drive our G Wagon. One day we suddenly wake up in Montana when the original direction was Arizona. We sit lost, confused, overwhelmed and essentially lifeless.
When this happens we are in dire need of a “reset” to bring order to our messy lives. This can mean different things for different people. But regardless of how you organize your life, the outcomes of a fulfilled Life variable are always the same: 1) you know where everything is the moment you need it, 2) you arrive to appointments on time, 3) you are prepared, and, most importantly, 4) you feel like you’re in control of your days (not the other way around).
The “best” way to organize your life is according to what is “best” for you. Here are a few universal steps you can take to start getting your life on track:
The first thing is to remember that no one is born organized. You have to cultivate organization as a skill and practice it regularly to avoid losing site of your best laid plans. Also, even when you’ve earned this skill, you might not feel 100 percent organized 100 percent of the time. And that’s okay! By focusing on your values and ordering your priorities, you can feel more in control and less overwhelmed, most of the time.
We understand ourselves to be imperfect, and yet we always strive for perfection.
The second thing is to realize that you must make time for yourself. Whether you are a high-power executive, a full-time mom or both, it can be hard to find a quiet moment to take a step back and evaluate your priorities. In truth, that time may never come. That’s why you must make it a priority and schedule a time to sort through your priorities. It can be difficult to take this time because life can be hectic. But by skipping moments of serenity in a relentlessly busy day can result in feeling more overwhelmed and scattered.
Third, learn how to say “No” to things when they conflict with other priorities or create too much chaos in your life. It can be tempting to say “yes” to everything (and genuinely mean it) only to find yourself completely inundated with a mess of small tasks that never seem to get done.
At best, you end up with a lot of things you want to do but don’t have time. At worst, you get stuck doing things you truly hate and not enough time to get them off your plate. Remember that it’s okay to recognize your limitations and constraints.
There is only so much time in the day. Besides, by saying “no” to things, you give yourself the ability to say “yes” to the things that bring you joy and the time to actually do them.
Four, learn to set goals for yourself. Goal setting is important. Without it, we tend not to move anywhere, which leads to a feeling of stagnation. We feel stuck if we aren’t moving toward our goals. We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. It’s important to maintain that focus on what is important, what our priorities and values are, and what responsibilities we have that will lead us to reach the goals we set out for ourselves.
Five, remember that you are human: beautiful and strong but also fallible and imperfect. We need to have a healthy relationship with making mistakes. Unless we are prepared to acknowledge our mistakes and imperfections, we are unable to learn and grow from them.
It is one thing to say this but it is another thing to actually believe it and live it. There is an irony about our modern attitudes that we understand ourselves to be imperfect, and yet we always strive for perfection. And while there is nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, we must also hold in our hearts that perfection is only an ideal to aspire to, not a realistic objective. Believing otherwise can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. We need to recognize that achieving perfection is impossible by definition.
How do you fulfill your Life variable? What techniques do you use to get organized and “reset” your life? Let me know on Instagram using hashtag #lotustheoryny.