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.
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.