A 15 minute process to live your best life

Do you spend your life wondering if you’re spending your precious time doing the right things? As a busy single mum, I certainly do. I want to make the most of these precious years before my teenagers leave home, so I want to be around to drive them places, share meals, play games, and watch movies together. But I also need to build my own life so I’m not bereft when my kids fly the nest. 

The problem is that the activities that are most important to us often feel least fulfilling at the time. An hour spent shopping for and cooking a nutritious dinner which is then disrupted by a stressed-out teenager’s meltdown just doesn’t provide the same neurochemical rewards as an hour spent creating a hypnosis recording for a client.

Even if you’re not a parent, you have your own experience of this. Exercise, for instance, feels less appealing to many of us than other things we could be doing. It's all too easy to persuade ourselves we don’t have time out to go for a run, yet the cumulative effect of a healthy active lifestyle is more energy and vitality for everything we do - which makes us more, not less, productive. 

Here’s my favourite process for bringing clarity and focus to the perpetual balancing that characterises daily life. By following these simple steps, you can be sure you’re spending your precious time doing what’s most important to you, not just what’s  rewarding in the short term.

Step one – write down what’s important to you

What’s important to you during this phase of your life? Write down what comes to mind, in no particular order. 

Here was my list:

  • being the best mum I can be 
  • doing work I love
  • being healthy
  • taking care of my financial future
  • nurturing my relationships
  • creating a lovely home

Make your list as inspiring as possible by getting in touch with the values that underlie what you’ve written. I changed my original ‘decluttering’ to the more appealing ‘creating a lovely home’, for instance. Try to focus on what’s important at a high level, rather than getting bogged down in detail. 

Man writing

Step two – put your values in order

Next, re-order your list using the 'focusing question'. 

Take the first two items on your list and ask, ‘Would it be okay to have {1} without {2} during this phase of my life?’. Looking at mine, I asked myself, ‘Would it be okay to be the best mum I can be, without doing work I love?’ 

My answer, during this phase of my life, while my kids still need me, is yes.  

Now compare the winner of the first comparison with each other item on your list. ‘Would it be okay to be the best mum I can be without being healthy?’ 

Here my answer is no. I’m no good to my kids if I neglect my physical well-being, so being healthy goes to the top of my list.

Once you have a winner, follow the same process with the second item on your list, comparing it with each subsequent item, until you’ve put them all in order. The power of this simple-sounding process becomes apparent in the surprise most people feel when they look at their final ordered list. 

I’d been all set to begin the New Year putting into practice my ideas for making videos to connect with my ideal clients. But the comparison process revealed my work – for this phase of my life – as fifth on my list of priorities:

1. being healthy
2. being the best mum I can be 
3. nurturing my relationships
4. taking care of my financial future
5. doing work I love
6. creating a lovely home

Does this mean I don't spend time working? Of course not. I love helping people, and my career is important. What it does mean is that when I get to the end of a busy day and the sofa beckons, I don’t beat myself up for still not having recorded that video about anxiety to attract new clients. 

Instead, I look back on what I’ve done – run 5k, yoga, meditated, helped my son with his schoolwork, chatted with a friend – and give myself credit for having spent my time doing what’s important to me. 

Woman looking confident

Step three – which areas need an active focus?

Some items on our lists will require a more active focus than others. 

This time last year I had breast cancer, so during 2020, I made it a priority to create good health habits. This means I have the benefit of beginning 2021 with good momentum in this area. Similarly, my relationships are fairly easy to maintain. 

On the other hand, it’s easy for me to let the clutter pile up around me, so my goal of creating a lovely home requires a more active focus. And just because work is fifth on my list doesn’t mean it’s not important to me. 

I deal with this by allocating a separate day of the week to the four areas of my life that require an active focus. 

Monday is finances day, Tuesday I focus on my work, Wednesday (a day when my kids happen to need lots of chauffeuring) is being a great mum day, Thursday I focus on creating a home I love, and on Fridays, I reflect on how things are going and plan for the following week. 

This doesn’t mean I don’t work on Mondays, nor cook for my kids on Tuesdays. It just means that each area that’s important gets my full attention at least once a week.

The beauty of this deceptively simple process is in the reassurance it provides that you’re acting in accordance with your values. Investing just 15 or 20 minutes to do it and then keeping your ordered list handy gives ongoing peace of mind and a great start in creating a life that’s meaningful to you. 

Happy 2021 – may it be your best year yet.

Hypnotherapy Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Brighton, East Sussex, BN1

Written by Lucinda Leo: (BA Oxon, HPD, DipCHyp, NLPMPrac, MNCH)

Brighton, East Sussex, BN1

Lucinda Leo (BA Oxon, DipCHyp) is a cognitive hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner who lives by the sea with three teenagers and two dogs. Lucinda specialises in helping sensitive, intense, and gifted clients live their best lives. She works online and in person.

Get in touch with Lucinda on 07810 542870 or lucinda@giraffe-life.com.

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