Category Archives for "Week Nine – Step Five of the Mind TRACK process – Know your plan & action it"

Week Nine / Day Two – Formulating your plan of action

 

Click here for the audio version of the lesson

We have a lot of ground to cover when preparing for your action plan, so let’s begin straight away.

 

Step One – Setting yourself up for success

I believe that the foundation for change is a good support network.  Especially when you are talking about changing the mindset, there is nothing that is going to help you change faster than repetition, repetition and more repetition.

Your beliefs were created through repetition and constant reminders from your environment to think the way that you habitually do right now and that is causing you stress, so repetition and constant reminders from your environment on the alternative way to think is what is going to help you to change those habits of thinking.

Here are the ways in which we will be doing that:

  • Creating affirmations.  As you learnt in week seven / day seven – Exercise Day: Creating your aims, take the affirmations that are going to help you to change those negative thoughts about yourself (those criticisms, judgements, thoughts that are in conflict with reality etc) and begin adding daily mirror affirmations into your life.  We are going to need to add these to our plan.
  • Vision boards – if you are unsure what a vision board is, this is a board that has pictures and wording and any other visual reminders on it that will remind you of the goals that you want to achieve.  Now I am going to show you a very specific way of creating vision board/s so that you are incorporating your plan, your current situation goals, your goals as a parent, your goals for your life and your goals for your self-worth.  This vision board goes hand in hand with your mirror affirmations because you want to stimulate and drown your brain in images and sounds that reflect what you want in your life.  You are literally trying to drown out and kill off the current beliefs that are in your mind weighing you down and causing you stress.
  • Reminder notes in key places – You really want to achieve your goals.  You need repetition to get rid of those self-doubting thoughts that tell you that you can’t or that you won’t.  You want your goals up EVERYWHERE.  I put my current goals (my immediate ones) as a daily reminder on my phone.  Everyday at 4pm I get a message on my phone telling me what I aim to achieve as this year’s goals.  Put notices up in your bedroom, on your bathroom mirror, on the back of the toilet door, on the dashboard of your car, on your fridge etc. Place pictures and motivational quotes on your desktop screen or your screensaver.  Subliminal messages like this are very helpful for re-training the brain. Even though we tend to ignore them after a while, the brain is still taking in that information and combined with everything else you are going to be doing, it assists with creating those new neural pathways in the brain that you are trying to grow so that you think differently.  So wherever you are going to see these notes of your immediate aims or quotes that are going to inspire you to reach your aims, you want to put a note there, because the more you see it, the more you will train your brain to, not only remember that this is what you want, but to continue to search for a) opportunities that will help you to continue to advance towards your goals;  and b) evidence that this goal is coming to fruition.  Remember, what you put your attention on expands, so that more you see what you want, the more this is what you will focus on.
  • Finally, DO SOMETHING TOWARDS YOUR GOAL EVERYDAY. This will set yourself up for success!  Even if it’s something small, make a conscious effort to do something that gets you closer to your goal.  This could be stopping yourself from yelling, even once in a day, or letting yourself watch five minutes of TV where you would normally be determined to do housework, or it could be to compliment your partner instead of criticising him.  It’s important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight (or very rarely anyway).  Most of the time it takes lots of little steps to get to the top of the mountain.  Keep going.  You will meet your goals with consistency, commitment, focus and ACTION.

 

Step Two – Prioritise your list of options

Take the options that you have selected from the Choices step (from last week) and put them in order of priority.  Which ones are of the utmost important to begin implementing into your life.  For example, if you are working on your relationship, your top priority might be to make an appointment with a couples counsellor, or if you were working on being more organised your top priority might be to start making lists of all the tasks you need to do before you can create a schedule to fit it all in.

When prioritising this list, ask yourself:  Which of these options need to come first?  Which of these options is really important and will make the biggest difference to my life right now? In the case of a difficult aim that you are working towards, you may ask yourself, what option seems the most do-able or manageable right now.  For example, perhaps you have a goal to recover from depression and have lots of different options to use, however the most manageable option to begin with might just be to move from your bed to the couch for an hour, if you are suffering from quite severe depression.

Remember that sometimes you need to start small, but you also need to DO SOMETHING towards your aim everyday, for action will be what accelerates the changes in your mind.

 

Step Three – Create a timeline for your priorities

Next to your list of options that are now prioritised, write down how often you need to implement these tasks (for example, hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, whenever situation ‘x’  arises etc).  Secondly you need to write down how much time you will need to spend on each option? How long will it take to implement this task? For example, if one of your options is to help you to stay calm when your child tantrums (your aim), then ‘how often’ would equal whenever the situation arises, and the amount of time will be ‘for the entire course of the tantrum’.  Or if you were going to couples counselling, then this may be every tuesday for one hour.

 

Step Four – The set up phase

This next step is about preparing for action.  Sometimes we can’t just jump straight into actioning our plan.  Sometimes we have to make certain preparations in order to help us to succeed in our endevours.  For example, if you were carrying out a new behavioural disciplinary technique then you may need to let other caregivers know what this technique is so that they can implement it too, maintaining consistency across the board, or you may need some equipment in order to implement the technique (like an appropriate ‘time out’ chair or empty area of the room).  If you were trying to organise for you to have some ‘me’ time you may need to organise a babysitter and align with a time where they can look after your child.  You may also need to book in that massage that you want to take during your ‘me’ time.

So in this step, you need to look at each option that you are going to use and ask yourself:  What do I need in order to use this option?  What preparations do I need to make before I can use it?

 

Step Five – Creating your plan

There are many ways that you can create your plan, but having a plan (for the purposes of this program) is about aligning yourself with two intentions:

  1. To make a commitment – when you create a clear and specific plan that you have put time and effort into, looks visually appealing to you and motivates you to succeed, you are also making a commitment to yourself.  Everytime you look at your plan you are reminded that you have a goal and that you have work to do before you can reach this goal. It’s like creating a contract with yourself about what you need to do to create the life that you would like to have.
  2. To give you a road map – the second reason a plan is so valuable is because it shows you the steps you need to take to get you where you want to go.  You are creating a step-by-step approach for achieving your aims.  Everytime you look at your plan you will see where you are up to, what you have already achieved and what you need to do next.  It will help you to gauge your progress and keep you motivated to continue.

You are welcome to create your plan how you would like it to look if you are creatively minded, however if you are not, I am going to give you an example of a layout below.  However you create your plan though, it needs to include the following information:

 

What to include in your plan

  • Title your plan – tell yourself very clearly what it is about and create a title with impact.  In my example the title is “It’s time to change” because this reminds me of the ultimate goal that I have.  I don’t want to live my life with stress, depression or anxiety anymore.  So what needs to happen?  Change!  Because this situation and how I’m feeling is not going to change itself.
  • List your top three aims – You want to be able to clearly see what the three aims are that you are working towards.  You can get really decorative and creative here to add rffect, but just make it very clear what you are trying to achieve, because at a glance you want to be able to re-align with your purpose for putting these changes into effect in your life.
  • The five step Mind TRACK to Happiness points – this is to remind you of each step.  There will be times as you go through your journey, where you begin to feel overwhelmed with your current situation again.  On this plan you will be reminded of what steps you need to take.  Feeling overwhelmed means that you are in conflict with reality again.  Take notice of what these thoughts are and upgrade them immediately with the reality thinking model.  Then re-align yourself with what you want – your aims that you have also listed on this plan.  Steps four and five (choices and know your plan) are also on this plan too, motivating you to stay on track with your choice of action.
  • The reality thinking model – If you like, put our picture of the reality thinking model on your plan.  It is a reminder to expand your thinking. It will help you to apply step two of the TRACK process: reality.  When you feel consumed by your present moment, remind yourself to align your thoughts with the reality of the situation, then the reality of being a parent, the reality of life and the reality of your self-worth.  This will stop you being consumed and very quickly through visual, remind you that you are thinking of the small picture and your thinking needs to expand in order to stop your stress.
  • Include your affirmations – It can be helpful to put some of your key affirmations on this plan too.  This will remind you of the way that you would like to think when times are tough.  It helps you to retrain the brain to think in alignment with reality.  For example, you might put – “I am always 100% worthy”, or “This is just a teachable moment“, or “Life is full of ups and downs, I am okay.”
  • Create time headings and list what needs to be done – Create four headings;  Daily, Weekly; As needed; As often as possible (if necessary you can add another heading: monthly).  Under each of these headings, list what things you need to do.  This part of your plan highlights your options that you have chosen and any steps that you may need to follow in order to execute this option.
  • Daily heading: list all the daily activities that you need to do.  It may be helpful to create a tick box beside it so that everyday you can tick these items off in pencil, then rub them out the next day and begin again.  Don’t forget to include the task of mirror affirmations in your daily list of tasks, as this is going to help you to retrain your brain to think differently to the way you have been.  If you have quite a few daily tasks that you need to do, then it may be useful to create an actual time schedule that you can follow so that you feel like everything is getting the attention you need and you are organised. You can learn how to create this schedule by reading Chapter Twelve of The Happy Mum Handbook PDF that you received with this program and turn to page 225.  It will teach you how to create a schedule that will help you to feel very organised.
  • Weekly heading: under this heading, list every day of the week (monday to sunday) and write your task beside the appropriate day, as required.  Please see the template below for an illustration of what I mean.
  • As needed heading: this heading is for the things that you need to do in order to deal with a situation only when it arises.  For example, a disciplinary technique that you are going to implement when your child has a tantrum, or backchats.
  • As often as possible heading: this heading is for things that you have decided that you will add into your life as often as you can, or as often as you think about it.  This could be giving your child a hug, praising your child, complimenting your husband, talking nicely to yourself.  I would even go as far as putting a little tally box underneath this heading and in pencil, playing a little game with yourself as to how many times in the day you can implement this task.  Remember repetition is the key, if you are trying to make something a habit, like noticing your positives, then this is a fun and conscious way to do this.  Everyday, you can erase yesterday’s tally and see if you can beat it.

You can create your own layout of how this plan should look to suit your own style and flair, but the elements above need to be included to give you that guidance of what you need to do and what you are aiming for.  Have some fun with it, use coloured paper, pens and bring your creativity out.  The more time you spend on it, the more dedicated to your plan you will be.

Here’s an example of a plan template.  In this template, I am showing you a very simple way to create a plan with everything on it. You may choose to be creative with your own (as design is not my strong skillset).  It is also useful to create you plan on a bigger sheet than A4 paper, as it will give you more room to put more on it.

Action Plan Layout

 

Over the next three days, I am going to now take you through how to create an action plan using some of the examples we have been using over the past few weeks. The three aims that I am going to demonstrate are:

  1. To give my child the best nutrition he needs for his growing body (by breastfeeding)
  2. To communicate better with my partner and create a harmonious, loving relationship
  3. To enjoy being at home with my children.

By the end of this week you will know how to create an action plan that will empower you to begin implementing real changes to your life and in a way where you know exactly where you are going and how to get there.

 

Week Nine / Day Three – Creating your plan: Aim #1

 

NB:  There will be no audio for this lesson, as visuals are more relevant to use

 

Aim #1 – To give my child the best nutrition he needs for his growing body, by breastfeeding.

Step One – Setting yourself up for success

In Week Seven/Day Seven – Exercise Day: Creating all of your aims you learnt how to create mirror affirmations. By now, you may have already created your affirmations in relation to this aim, however if you haven’t, now is a good time to do this, in preparation for adding them into your action plan.

Here are a few affirmations that would suit this breastfeeding aim:

  • I am a confident mother
  • Everything rises and passes away
  • There is value in every experience I have

These affirmations could be included in your daily mirror affirmations, which serves to teach your brain to learn to think this way more habitually.

Create reminder notes around the house: Write some little reminders that keep you feeling encouraged and focussed about your aims.  Stick them around your house where it is appropriate.  Some appropriate breastfeeding reminders might be:

  • I get better at breastfeeding with practice
  • The pain will pass
  • It’s okay to be learning something new

You can see that the affirmations that you will use in your mirror affirmations are more broad and not specific to your aim, yet they still relate to your aim.  They teach your brain to, not only look at the situation differently, but also your life too.  The reminder notes are specifically for the purpose of keeping you on track with your aims (in this case, breastfeeding).

Step Two – Prioritise your list of options

From the previous step, here is the list of options that we had decided would be worth trying and that aligned with the case study’s bigger picture goals.  I have taken this list and put it in order of priority (that is, what needs to come first).  Your priorities may be different to what I list below.  Remember, this is just an example to show you how to do these steps:

  1. Seek help from a lactation consultant.
  2. Correct diet and good health in order to keep milk supply
  3. Find help/support via a mother’s forum on breastfeeding
  4. Research and learn about the feeding process; what happens in my body and how it all works.

Step Three – Create a Timeline for your priorities.

  1. Seek help from a lactation consultant. (Make two bookings – 1 x initial lesson and 1 x follow up to check technique)
  2. Correct diet and good health in order to keep milk supply (Daily)
  3. Find help/support via a mother’s forum on breastfeeding (Daily to keep me encouraged and supported)
  4. Research and learn about the feeding process; what happens in my body and how it all works. (Read little bits over the next week)

Step Four – The Set up Phase

Questions to ask yourself:  What do I need in order to use these options?  What preparations do I need to make before I can use it?

  1. Call the lactation consultant and book two sessions
  2. Fill up 2litre jug full of water, daily so that I can keep track of how much water I drink
  3. Buy plenty of fruit and convenient healthy snacks (like nuts) so that I can quickly snack healthily when needed.
  4. Join www.essentialbaby.com.au or a similar parenting forum so that I can log on daily and read the breasfeeding forum for inspiration and encouragement, or to ask questions when I need to.
  5. Print out the research material I find on ‘how the body breasfeeding process works’ and keep it close by to read it when I can.

Step Five – Creating your plan

Now it’s time to bring all of these steps together and put them onto your action plan that you are going to put in a prominent place around your home.  Again, at the end of the week when you get to create your specific plan, you are welcome to be creative and design your own plan. The one below is just a template:
 

Action Plan Layout – Aim #1

 
In tomorrow’s lesson, we are going to add to this plan, after setting up the action plan for aim #2:  To communicate better with my partner and create a harmonious loving relationship.

Week Nine / Day Four – Creating your plan: Aim #2

 

NB: There will be no audio for this lesson, as visuals are more relevant to use

  

Aim #2 – To communicate better with my partner and create a harmonious, loving relationship.

 

Step One – Setting yourself up for success

Again, if you haven’t already created your daily affirmations to say to yourself in the mirror,  go back to Week Seven/Day Seven – Exercise Day: Creating all of your aims to learn how to do this so that you can add them into your action plan.

Here are a few affirmations that would suit this relationship aim:

  • I am a calm, compassionate and loving partner
  • I speak to myself and others with respect
  • I have a harmonious relationship that I treasure
  • I love ‘John’ with all my heart

Remember, as you begin to learn and repeat these affirmations, this is where your attention starts to go and you begin to find evidence of these beliefs being true.  As these affirmations start to become habit, you begin to remind yourself of how you need to behave in order to help them come to fruition, which can stop any usual reactive behaviour.

Create reminder notes around the house: Create yourself some notes with little reminders that will keep you on track with your goals.  This may be notes that remind you of the affirmations you are creating in your mirror affirmation exercise, or it may just be little notes that help you to remember the way towards getting what you want. For example, in regards to your relationship goal, you might right some notes for yourself that say:

  • Just like me ‘John’ is seeking love in his life
  • Just like me ‘John is seeking happiness for his life
  • I am committed to creating a harmonious and loving relationship with ‘John’
  • There is no right and wrong, only a difference in beliefs. What is the compromise?

 

Step Two – Prioritise your list of options

From the previous step of the TRACK process: Choices, here is the list of options that we had decided would be worth trying and that aligned with the case study’s bigger picture goals. I have taken this list and put it in order of priority (that is, what needs to come first). Your priorities may be different to what I list below. Remember, this is just an example to show you how to do these steps:

  1. Write out what I want in our relationship.
  2. Find out what ‘John’ wants and where he thinks our relationship needs to change.
  3. Read books and resources on how to create a harmonious relationship, how to understand men.
  4. Learn and apply better communication skills.
  5. Plan a date night
  6. Plan a weekend away with just ‘John’ and me.
  7. Couples Counselling.

 

Step Three – Create a Timeline for your prioritise.

  1. Write out what I want in our relationship. (straight away)
  2. Find out what ‘John’ wants and where he thinks our relationship needs to change. (straight away)
  3. Read books and resources on how to create a harmonious relationship, how to understand men. (Daily – read something that helps everyday to teach me how I can start making changes)
  4. Learn and apply better communication skills. (Daily – practice what I’m learning)
  5. Plan a date night (Weekly – time for just ‘John’ and me is really important, even if it’s just at home with the TV off when the kids go to bed.)
  6. Plan a weekend away with just ‘John’ and me. (Bi-monthly)
  7. Couples Counselling. (if all else fails to improve things)
  8.  

 

Step Four – The Set up Phase

Questions to ask yourself: What do I need in order to use these options? What preparations do I need to make before I can use it?

  1. Plan some time for me to sit down and reflect on what I want for the relationship and how I’d like it to change.
  2. Plan with ‘John’ for a chat on his thoughts about our relationship.
  3. Go to shops, go online, or go to library and get those books that are going to teach me about how to create a harmonious relationship and communicate better.
  4. Book in a convenient date night with ‘John’
  5. Book in a convenient weekend or night away with ‘John’
  6. Book babysitters for date night (if needed) and weekend away.

 

Step Five – Creating your plan

Below is our revised plan that now includes the action plan for Aim #1 (our breastfeeding aim) and now, the relationship plan – Aim #2.  For the purposes of this example and to show you how to use step Five of the TRACK process, I will be putting all three Aims and the action steps to achieving them, all on one plan.

However, it is advisable for more complex aims (like relationships, money, etc) for you to create separate action plans for each aim, because there will probably be plenty of affirmations to encourage you, daily, weekly and monthly tasks to be done, as well as specific steps that you may learn to help you along the way.  Also, as you get more and more information, you may need to revise your action plan.  Having one plan for each aim means that you aren’t having to change the entire plan for all of your aims.
 

Action Plan Layout – Aim #2

 

The steps towards meeting this aim of communicating better with your partner and having a harmonious, loving relationship can be complex and you might like to create an action plan of it’s own. This plan will probably be revised quite often as you learn more and progress through the different stages and challenges that will come with changing the dynamics of your relationship.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of encouraging affirmations to practice and place lots of reminders in appropriate places so that you can remind yourself not to fall back into old habits.

When talking about relationships, it can be easy to fall back into the victim, woe is me attitude or play the blame game.  Someone has to stop this cycle and the more you bring love, compassion and understanding into the relationship and stop this dynamic from occuring, the more your relationship will have a chance at success.

If you are unsuccessful at learning to communicate better and improve your relationship through reading and learning yourself, then perhaps it is time to see a counselor. If your partner refuses to see a counsellor, then perhaps you might be able to go by yourself initially and see if there is anything more you can do yourself.

Relationships are complex and there are usually a lot of different games, beliefs and dynamics to deal with.  That’s why in the monthly topics after this 12 week program is complete, I have dedicated the 2nd month to teaching you how to use this Mind TRACK to Happiness process specifically to working on your relationship.  You will get four weeks of information to work through specifically related to changing and improving your relationship.

This week’s lessons are to show you how to use Step Five of the TRACK process – Know your plan and action it, so that you can begin to become solution focused about what’s currently going on in your life.

The example I have given you here of creating a plan for a relationship aim is only a basic plan to get your started and to show you how you could create your own plan.  It is by no means conclusive. But it does get you started and working towards changing some things in your relationship where you can be guided from there.

In tomorrow’s lesson I will show you how you can create a rough plan for our example aim #3:  To enjoy being home with my children.

Week Nine / Day Five – Creating your Plan: Aim #3

  

NB: There will be no audio for this lesson, as visuals are more relevant to use

  

Aim #3 – To enjoy being home with my children.

Step One – Setting yourself up for success

If you haven’t already created your daily affirmations to say to yourself in the mirror, go back to Week Seven/Day Seven – Exercise Day: Creating all of your aims to learn how to do this so that you can add them into your action plan.Here are a few affirmations that would suit this aim:

  • I enjoy being a stay-at-home mum
  • I am grateful for all the good things I get to experience as a stay-at-home mum
  • I love my life
  • I am always 100% worthy and my life is valuable just the way it is

Create reminder notes around the house: Create yourself some notes with little reminders that will keep you on track with your goals. These may be notes that remind you of the affirmations you are creating in your mirror affirmation exercise, or it may just be little notes that help you to remember the way towards getting what you want. For example, in regards to enjoying staying at home, you might write notes such as:

  • Everything rises and passes away
  • Can you find the hidden good in the bad?
  • What can I be grateful for right now?
  • Have you planned your next fun activity?

 

Step Two – Prioritise your list of options

From the previous step – choices, here is the list of options that we had decided would be worth trying and that aligned with the case study’s bigger picture goals. I have taken this list and put it in order of priority (that is, what needs to come first). Your priorities may be different to what I list below. Remember, this is just an example to show you how to do these steps:

  1. Join a mother’s group (after going through the TRACK process in regards to the case study’s fear of making new friends, this has now become the top priority to get out of the house and begin mingling with other mums.).
  2. Set activities up for the kids so that I can have more ‘me’ time.
  3. Enrol the kids in weekly swimming lessons
  4. Take the kids to story time at the library
  5. Play games with the kids that I will enjoy too.
  6. Create a schedule (this can occur once all of the above things are planned, so that they can also be factored into the schedule)

  

Step Three – Create a Timeline for your prioritise.

  1. Join a mother’s group (weekly)
  2. Set activities up for the kids so that I can have more ‘me’ time. (daily)
  3. Enrol the kids in weekly swimming lessons (weekly)
  4. Take the kids to story time at the library (weekly)
  5. Play games with the kids that I will enjoy too. (daily)
  6. Create a schedule (as soon as possible)

  

Step Four – The Set up Phase

Questions to ask yourself: What do I need in order to use these options? What preparations do I need to make before I can use it?

  1. Find a mother’s group and join.
  2. Research activities for the kids to do that will occupy them so that I can have ‘me’ time.
  3. Plan time-appropriate things that I can do just for me while the kids are occupied with those activities.
  4. Find a swim school and book the kids in
  5. Call the local library and find out what time and day story time is.
  6. Research games that you and the kids can play and enjoy
  7. Sit down and write lists of all the chores that you need to complete – daily, weekly, monthly and how long each task will take.  Write lists of all the activities you would like to do with you and the kids and for how long.  Write down a list of all the daily things that happen (morning tea, lunch, dinner, sports, school pick up times etc).  Write all these lists before you begin to create your schedule so that everything you need to include in your schedule has been accounted for.

NB:  In Monthly Topic #3 – Getting organised.  You will learn how to apply the Mind TRACK to Happiness process specifically to time management and I will show you how you can create a schedule to suit your lifestyle so that you can feel satisfied that everything is being met in your life – including you!
 

Step Five – Creating your plan

Below is our revised plan that now includes the action plan for Aim #1 (our breastfeeding aim), Aim #2 (relationship aim) and now, the Aim #3 – to enjoy being a stay at home mum.
 

Action Plan Layout – Aim #3

 
So now you have three examples of how an action plan can be created.  Of course these are not thorough plans, as everyone’s situations will be different. It does however, give you an idea of how to create a visual plan that will keep you on track towards achieving the aims that you have set.

Tomorrow’s lesson is the last lesson of the week before you begin to create your own individual plan for your aims.  It is also the lesson that brings us to the end of the explanation of the five steps of The Mind TRACK to Happiness process.

So in tomorrow’s lesson there are a few very important tips that you need to know about the Mind TRACK to Happiness process so that you can implement it correctly into your life and avoid causing more stress.

Week Nine / Day Six – Final ‘must know’ tips about The Mind TRACK to Happiness Process

  

Click here for the audio version of the lesson

 

So you’ve come to the end of the Mind TRACK to Happiness Process.  You will find after implementing this fifth step of the TRACK process, that if you look back from where you began on the process to where you are now, your mindset is in a completely different place.

You have essentially taken your stressful, emotional thoughts and reactions and converted them into a solution focussed, reality-based approach to the situation.

It doesn’t matter whether you want a situation to occur or not. The harsh reality is that sometimes things happen that you prefer didn’t have to, but in these times, all we can do is accept that the situation is here and look for the solutions to moving away from those moments quicker.

This is exactly what the Mind TRACK to happiness process is designed to teach you to do.  What’s more, these five steps are easy to remember and easy to apply in both ‘on-the-spot’ situations where you don’t have much time to analyse and contemplate, and also for those situations that require more thought and time in order to get past it.

Although you are almost at the end of the explanation of this TRACK process, there are a few very crucial points to remember as you continue to apply this method.

 

Measure your results

A wikipedia definition of a plan is:  “to decide on and arrange in advance”.

The decisions you just made and the actions you take as a result of these decisions, have been made with the information you have right now.  You can only ever know what you know at any given moment and it is impossible for you to know more that you do right now.

The action plan that you created was with the knowledge that you have right now and this will produce results of some kind. What you need to do as you continue on your journey towards your aims, is to measure those results so that you can gauge how you are going and what progress you have made.

Here are some ways to measure the results you are getting so that you can decide what needs to happen next.

Are you getting closer to meeting your aims?
With the information you had, you decided to put a plan into action. How’s that plan working for you?  Is it getting you closer to your aims?  Sometimes we make decisions (with the information we had at the time) however it’s not actually the right decision to make that gets us where we want to be.  That’s okay, for we didn’t know any different.  As you continue on your journey towards your goal you will experience more and be given new information from these experiences.  This is the joy of creating and achieving goals.  Measuring the effectiveness of your plan so far helps you to decide whether you continue as planned or whether changes to your plan need to be made.

Are your results still meeting your bigger picture aims of what you want for your life?
Be mindful as you action your plan that the bigger picture is to create the life that you wish to live.  This includes living life according to the values you have and the aims for your life that you created in Week Seven.  Sometimes when we create a plan we don’t realise what experiences that plan is going to bring and when we begin actioning that plan, we find that the steps we decided to take initially, actually take us further away.  Measuring the results of your action plan against your bigger picture aims is vital for creating the life you wish to lead, for if the results don’t align with your bigger picture aims, then changes may also need to be made to your plan.

Acknowledge your wins.
It’s easy to be disheartened when trying to achieve something new, especially if it is a long-term goal that you are going for, like a loving, harmonious relationship.  If the dynamic between you has been bitter, angry, agressive or argumentative, then it can take some time to stop that cycle and create a new one.  In situations like this, it is important that you start becoming good at recognising your wins.  When were the times where things did change?  Were there times where there was no shouting, where you stopped yourself and said something nice instead?  Were there times where you randomly showed affection and did something kind for him, or he did so for you?  When you consciously start noticing what is going well in your relationship and how things are improving then your attention tends to follow in that direction and you find more evidence of things improving.

The ‘As needed’ column on the sample action plan shows a tally system idea whereby you can literally acknowledge your wins and keep a check on how often you are doing these things.  Remember, repetition is the key here.  The more you deliberately do something, the quicker it becomes habit in your mind.

 

Making changes to your plan

Change is okay. Get used to change, because we are always getting new information in our lives.  Because of your action plan, you have created new changes to your life in order to get you to meet your aims that you’ve set.  The road from A (where you are now) to B (where you want to be), is not always a straight one.

Just because you have an action plan, it doesn’t mean it is set in gold.  As I mentioned before, our experiences teach us more about life. This is the whole purpose of setting goals – to set life in motion.  We grow, learn and develop as a result of setting goals and doing every step on the journey to our goals.  With this new information we may find that something is not working for us and needs to be revised.  This is okay.  In fact, this is great, because it helps you to become flexible about life, instead of rigid.

If your plan is not getting you closer to your aim, or not aligning with your bigger picture goals, then change it.  Do some more research or take what you have learnt and change the steps to what you now believe will get you to your aim.  Remember, life is about trial and error, not about getting life right.

If a discipline technique that you are trying doesn’t work, find another one and give that a go.  If the position you are breastfeeding in doesn’t work, try another way.  If the way you are communicating with your husband is not producing harmonious results, go back to the drawing board and try another technique.

Never give up though.  Never feel like you are failing.  There is no such thing as failure only learning what hasn’t worked. If it hasn’t worked, simply try something else.  There are many ways to get what you want and you may not get there on your first try.

 

Vision Boards

I cannot speak highly enough of creating vision boards.  Not only is it fun to cut out all of the pictures that relate to the life you want, but it is also fun to cross them off as you achieve them in your life and have them there as a constant reminder of what you are working towards.

Goals are so important to have, especially for a person who has suffered from postnatal depression.  You may have spent such a long time attaching your self-worth to your achievements that now it is vital to begin setting new goals with your new understanding of the value of the journey towards your goals.

Vision boards can help you to see your goals, give you reminders of how to think, the person you want to be and is just a very visual and powerful aid to encourage, motivate and inspire you to keep going.

The action plans that I have taught you to do are only the beginning of what you can do with your vision board.  Use pictures, words and any visual reminders that you can that mean something to you, onto your board.

Even the very process of creating your vision board is almost like a commitment ceremony.  Taking the time to sit down at night when the kids are in bed, with your blank piece of coloured cardboard and adding all of the little messages, pictures and colours to it can be a very empowering and exciting task. It also helps your brain focus on what you want, not what you don’t have.

 

Time is about priorities, not the ticking of the clock

Creating your action plan, through the template I’ve given you and/or through multiple vision boards, is not about whether you have the time to do them or not.  It’s about whether you make it a priority or not. The question is, how bad do you want the life you’d like to have?

When you make yourself important enough and you view the exercise as important to your progress, then you will find the time to do these exercises that I have been giving you.  Some of you would have gotten to this point and done none of the exercises.  While you would have learnt a lot about yourself, the experiential part of this program, by participating in the exercises, will take you to a whole new level of understanding about why this process is so effective.

I cannot stress enough how powerful experiential learning is compared to just intellectual learning.  It may seem as if some of these exercises may take a long time, however the results will give you incredible rewards.

Finding time to do something is very similar to finding the money to do something.  When you see it as important enough, more often than not, you will find the money to buy something.  Whole media marketing campaigns are set on this theory.  People don’t buy what they need. They buy what they want.

Similarly people spend time on things that they want to; on things that reward them in some way.  When you see the benefits in using the exercises provided in this program, you will spend the time on implementing them into your life.  The choices is always yours and the priority to do other things instead of these exercises will also be beneficial to you too, in your mind.  Either way you are right.

But let me tell you from experience, that when you ‘do’ something to start changing and make those first steps, trying something different to what you have been doing, then the experiential learning is magnified.

 

Life doesn’t always go to plan

We have covered this a lot during this program.  The reality is that sometimes life doesn’t always go to plan.  But that is not always a bad thing.  There is always something to gain from the experience that you are getting.

When going about your life, even after you have used the five step Mind TRACK to Happiness process, you will find many times where you will find yourself starting to FEEL stressed or emotional again. Don’t be discouraged, for this is the life of a human being.  Life is full of ups and downs.  It’s not the struggles that are the problem, it’s our perception on those problems and how we react to them.  This is what causes us stress.

But now you have the tools to stop those reactions, or at least lessen them, and move on with the new reality that you have been given.  Remember the first two crucial steps of this process 1.  Thoughts and 2. Reality.  These two steps will completely change your mindset and put you in the space where you can then begin to create changes using the last three steps – aim, choices & know your plan.

The whole point to this program is not to continue trying to get life right.  It is a fruitless effort where you will never win for  nobody knows all there is to know about life.  If you continue to live this life where you feel like you always have to get life right, then you will live your life with constant disappointment.  Learn to embrace challenges and change in your life, don’t expect life to always go to plan and get really good at finding new ways to get what you want when life throws you a curveball.

As you action your plan, there may be road blocks that you come across.  That’s okay, just find ways around them, or create a new plan with the new information you have.  Remember it’s all learning and it all benefits your life and those who come across your wisdom from the learnings of your life.

While life may not always go to plan, it does have value, but as I always say – it all depends on how you look at it.  Use the Mind TRACK to Happiness process to help you to look at these times in a healthy, pro-active way so that you don’t fall into stress, depression or anxiety.

A final reminder, your worth is always intrinsic. You are always 100% worthy!

Wherever you are at in life, you are always worthwhile. I was so overjoyed recently to hear Oprah in her final show say these very words that I am constantly expressing to mum.  I want to quote them for you now to remind you of how important you are:

“There is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering and that is unworthiness.  Not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for…..You are worthy because you are born & because you are here. Your being here, you being alive, makes worthiness your birthrite.  You alone are enough!”

Whether you get to your aims, don’t get to your aims and throughout the ups and downs of the journey towards your aims, you are always 100% worthy, because you are a human being who is learning, growing and participating in a unique role in this life.

Remember this wherever you are at on the Mind TRACK to Happiness process and you will feel validated and worthy no matter what is going on in your life.

 

In tomorrow’s lesson – exercise day, it is time to start creating your action plan.  It is time to take all of that research and changing of mindset that you have been working on through this entire program so far and apply it to your life.  It is time to begin taking action in your life.  This brings me to the final quote of Oprah’s that I’d like to share with you that I hope will motivate you to take the time to do this final action step and work on yourself and create the life you want to have:

“YOU are responsible for your life and when you get that, everything changes.  So don’t wait for someone else to fix you, to save you or complete you.”

I say, don’t wait for ‘the right time’ to become responsible for your life or the ‘right time’ to take time for yourself, because the ‘right time’ will only ever be when you make the time to begin creating the life you want.

Week Nine / Day Seven – Exercise Day! Creating your plan

 

NB – there is no audio available for this exercise

 

It’s now come to the time where you create your own action plan. This is your road map to the new life that you want to lead; the map that leads to an inspiring existence that is aligned with the kind of person you want to be, the mum you want to be and the experiences that you would like to have.

This road map is not set in stone though.  It is a well thought out guide for you to use as opposed to just wandering through life not knowing where you are going and how to get what you want.

By now you would have done quite a bit of ground work in preparing for this exercise.  Now we pull all of that information together and get busy creating your unique action plan.

 

Step One  – Setting yourself up for success.

  1. If you haven’t already, write a list of the affirmations that you are going to use for you daily mirror affirmations
  2. Create notes with some of these affirmations and put them up around your house, in your car, on your phone and on your computer so that you can see them regularly.
  3. In your workbook, on a blank page, write the heading ‘things to include on my action plan’. This page will just be a list of all the things that you are going to include on your action plan, so that when it comes time to creating your plan, you will have a list of everything to be included on it.
  4. Under your main heading write ‘My affirmations’  Take about 5 or 6 of these affirmations that you would like to see on your action plan and write them under this heading.

 

Step Two – Priorities your list of options

Take the list of options that you decided on using from Week Eight and in your workbook write this list in order of what is most important; that is, which options you will be putting into action first.

Ask yourself these questions:  Which of these options needs to come first?  Which of these options is really important and will make the biggest difference to my life right now? In the case of a difficult aim that you are working towards, you may ask yourself, what option seems the most do-able or manageable right now?

 

Step Three – Create a Timeline for your priorities

Beside each task in your workbook, write down how often you need to implement each task on your list of options (for example, hourly, daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, whenever situation ‘x’  arises etc).

Secondly, write down how much time you will need to spend on each option? How long will it take to implement this task?

 

Step Four – The Set up Phase

Look at each option and ask yourself:  What do I need in order to use this option?  What preparations do I need to make before I can use this option (for example, equipment, communicating with other people about what you are doing etc)?

Write a list of everything you need to do in order to prepare for your action steps.

 

Step Five – Create your plan

  1. Purchase a large cardboard coloured sheet for you to create your action plan on.
  2. Using coloured pens, pencils, cut out images or wording from magazines and catalogues, let your creativity guide you and create your action plan masterpiece!  Make sure you include the following:
a.  Your action plan title: (use something inspiring or motivational like “It’s time to change“.  Make this heading large and prominent. Right in the middle often works well.
b.  Your top three aims:  These will be what aims you have been working on over the past few weeks.
c.  The 5 steps of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process – Thoughts, Reality, Aim, Choices & Know your plan & action it.
d.  The reality thinking model:  You can either write the four components of the model or you can download a copy of it by clicking on the image below. It will take you to the larger image, then right click and choose ‘save picture as…’ or ‘print picture’.

 

The reality thinking model

 

e.  Your affirmations that you picked out in Step One
f.   The four time headings:  Daily, Weekly, As needed, As often as possible.
Under these headings, list the relevant tasks that you need to do.
Optional:  Beside each ‘as often as possible’ heading, create tally boxes for you to keep track of how many times you do these tasks

 

Below is the example of the Action Plan that we have been using throughout this week.

 

Action Plan Layout – Aim #3

 

Also optional – additional vision boards

It is also helpful (and a bit of fun too), if you create a vision board with visual images and wording only.  Put items from your ‘things to do before I die’ list and any other imagery that is relevant to the goals that are important to you.

You can also use coloured textures and markers to write some of your affirmations on there too and really get creative with it.

As you achieve things on your vision board, grab a black marker and cross it off, or write ‘thank you’. This can be a powerful reminder of the progress you are making too.

This exercise may take you a bit of time, but it is well worth it and when you do it, you will see why.
 
 
Now that you have come to the end of the explanation of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process, the program doesn’t end there.  Because we have covered so much information in the past nine weeks, next week will be a summary of the entire process that you can keep coming back to.

Over the coming weeks, we are also going to delve into anger, guilt, and the beliefs/upgrades to depression, anxiety and generalised stress.  There is much more to learn, so hang in there. You are only three weeks away from finishing this program, so well done to you for making it this far.

For now, get cracking with your action plan and keep moving towards the life you want to live!

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