11 May Make Time To Complete Your Life Plan!
Have you ever felt trapped by your responsibilities, overwhelmed by the number of important decisions you need to make? Feel regret at unachieved goals? Do you keep your feelings to yourself? Here are Darcenia Teasdale’s reflections and practical tips to address these feelings.
In the past three years since I turned forty and indeed, hit that official “mid-life”, I have become very aware of friends and acquaintances around the same age that suddenly make massive life-changing decisions. People have left their partners of twenty years, left their families, walked out of their jobs and some have had nervous breakdowns.
As an observer, one key feature struck me – the breakdown or lack of communication which led to the person feeling so isolated that they felt compelled to leave a long term relationship, job and even their family.
I have a theory! Actually I have a solution! Complete or revise your Life List of goals for the most important areas in your life. Compare it with your partner and/or other family members so that you can make long term and short term goals together.
My husband and I actually found ourselves in a similar situation on holiday last year. We both had different feelings of regret at not having achieved goals from years ago and felt we trapped at our responsibilities, but neither of us could express what was key to the issue. As a result of communication, we considered the five major areas of our lives and made a life plan together. This included our joint huge goal to move house, our long term plans of parenting and spending time together. We both felt very happy in our careers – in fact, as we both did our life plan the same area was the one which remained unfulfilled – Our Interests and Learning.
As a result, we made our SMART goals together and have been able to fully support each other in working individually towards our new goals. I joined an amateur dramatics society (currently rehearsing for my third play) and qualified as a theatre chaperone. By joining the society, I have achieved several personal goals including making new acquaintances, acting in front of an audience and discovering new shows.
My husband has completed short online courses through FutureLearn and Coursera gaining university accredited qualifications in statistics, psychology, astronomy and history. He now has the confidence to work towards his long term goal of the maths degree which he did not take when he was younger.
On Day 3 of the Peak Performance course last month, our consultant John Bullock said that he and his wife always make time to update their Life List together on holiday to plan their next year. Being on holiday you are relaxed, away from the usual daily responsibilities, work deadlines, school projects and can focus clearly on what is most important in your life.
So, as you make your plans for your summer holiday this year, consider starting a new tradition of the annual Life List review:
- Take some time on your own to consider your personal five most important areas in your life.
- Compare the five areas with your partner and other family members who feature in your life.
- Write down your own goals highlighting which are the most important to you.
- Communicate! Share your goals and compare. Work out which goals are joint ones or which goals can link together or complement each other.
- Make your long term and short term goal plans together. Make time in your weekly and monthly diaries for time to work on your own goals, and ensure long term deadlines (like a Race for Life) are clearly highlighted in everyone’s diary.
Finally, remember to celebrate your achievements together. Happy Life List planning!