As we have just spent last week going over all the elements that make up this last step of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process, I won’t spend a lot of time going over it here again.
Suffice to say that this final step is your road map to the life you really want to live.
It not only includes a plan for how you want to tackle the present challenges in your life, but it also keeps you aligned with the bigger picture aims. What you really want for the rest of your life.
Now, of course, as mentioned yesterday, this plan is not set in stone, but it is something that can guide you right now. Some of the aims that you’ve set will stay with you as progressive aims, but with new experiences and new information, many of the aims that you set in life will come to you and then be thrown away in place of something else more exciting to you, or you simply won’t achieve the aims you set out for when an opportunity has been missed.
This is why it is really important to remain flexible about the goals that you wish to obtain. Life doesn’t always go to plan, so you need to continue being conscious of whether you have your self-worth attached to the achievement of your goals.
We cannot control how life unfolds, but we can find the value and the benefits in whatever does unfold in our life. This is something that most of us have to train our minds to do, which is exactly what the Mind TRACK to Happiness Process helps you to do.
This final step in this process: Know your plan and action it, keeps you on track to creating the life that you want to experience.
Something that I found when I was starting to use this process, was that I would feel empowered just by having a plan of action for tackling the issues that I had come across. For example, there was a time where one of my children were throwing a tantrum. I had found a technique in a parenting book that I wanted to try. I wrote down each step that I needed to do and memorised it, and then found myself almost willing my son to throw a tantrum so I could begin using it.
This was a very different reaction to the person who was feeling drained, tired and defeated by the endless tantrums going on from moment to moment. Finding a way of dealing with this problem made me feel so much better about the problem.
Another example was when my second son was born and we were trying to get him into a sleep routine. I had learnt a great technique for getting him to learn how to sleep independantly, so when it was the middle of the night and he woke up crying, or was unsettled, even though I was still ridiculously tired, having an action plan to implement for when this happened, helped me to get through it without the usual pointless thinking: “I’m so tired. Why won’t he sleep? What am I doing wrong…….”.
I was entirely focussed on the solution and implementing my action plan instead.
The reality of motherhood is that there are many demands that are placed on us. At the beginning we are also extremely tired on top of that too. If you do not have a plan of how you are going to tackle these demands and your habitual thinking likes to roll around in what’s wrong (or how you are doing it all wrong), how you/your child is missing out, how it should be like this or that (in conflict with reality), how bad your life is, or how bad a mother you are, then you can easily keep slipping into major stress, depression or anxiety.
Focus on the solution, not the problem. Don’t allow your thinking to go down the ladder towards feeling like this event represents your entire life. It is only one moment in time and it, too will rise and pass away, just like everything else does. So research the solutions, create and implement a plan for dealing with it and get on with creating the life you want and deserve.
So let’s go over the final summary of this step: Know your plan & action it:
Set yourself up for success:
First thing’s first is to surround yourself with reminders of what you want. When you physically write down your goals and your action steps to achieving it, you psychologically commit to working towards that goal, more than you would if you just mentally decided that that was what you were going to do.
You want to do something everyday that contributes to the achievement of your goals, even if that is just doing some mirror affirmations. It can be helpful to keep track of your progress by writing down what you do and being accountable for doing something everyday. Perhaps you could even ask your partner or a friend to ask you daily ‘What have you done towards your goal today?‘ That way you have to answer to someone else and make ‘excuses’ when you haven’t done anything, which will make you more inclined to keep going with it.
Repetition is the way to change a habit and get towards your aims, so whether you are working on a situation (activity) goal or an bigger picture (objective goals), repeatedly working at it will get you the results you are looking for.
Here are some ways to support this repetition:
- Creating affirmations – Look at your aims and create affirmations in regards to your aims. Also create affirmations that change the beliefs you have about yourself or any limiting beliefs you have about how you live your life. For example, if you find yourself habitually thinking about how useless or hopeless you are, you may want to create an affirmation that says ‘I am 100% worthy just the way I am because I am always learning and contributing.’ Or another one may be, ‘I am playing a unique role in life that no one else can contribute, because there is no one else like me.’ Either of these two affirmations replace your ‘worth-less’ beliefs with something that aligns with the reality of your self-worth.
Affirmations that contradict your habitual stress-inducing thoughts, are useful for creating new pathways in the brain for you to access when dealing with challenging situations, rather than the current way you react to them.
- Vision boards – Inspirational words, visual images and any other information that reminds you of what you are aiming can be arranged on large cardboard and stuck on your wall to keep you on track with your aims. The more you look at this visual representation of the life you want, the more believable it will become to you. There is a lot of power in imagining, dreaming and visualising you getting the things that you want. It helps you to grow those neural connections in the brain quicker, for the brain does not know the difference between what’s real and what is not. It only knows beliefs. Vision boards are a great tool for helping you to accelerate the process of creating new beliefs in your brain.
- Reminder notes – spread any reminders you can in the way of little sticky notes around your house, in your car or anywhere else that you regularly are. Again, this will help your brain to learn new habits of thoughts and can help you to replace those unproductive memes that come up. Even though after a while it doesn’t seem like you even notice these notes, the brain is still taking in this information unconsciously, helping to cement these thoughts with the action steps you are also taking.
The action steps to creating your plan
Prioritise your list of options
After going through your options in step four and selecting which ones you’re going to use to get your to your goal, you now need to prioritise this list in order to determine what steps come first. What you want to do is to start organising your options into a step-by-step approach that you can follow to get to your aim.
Create a timeline
The next step is to organised your prioritised list into a timeline. Work out when we you will implement each action step and how long it will take.
Set up phase
Before you get to your final stage of this planning step, you now just need to organise anything that you will need to implement the plan. Do you need any materials or supplies (For example, if you were creating a plan to get more energy by eating healthier you would need to buy healthy food and clean out your refrigerator)? Do you need to align your action plan with anyone else (other care givers for example)?
Create your physical, documented action plan
Last week I got you to create a full plan that incorporated your current situation’s aim and action steps and what you wanted for your role as a parent, your life and your self-worth.
Now that you have created your bigger picture plan, for here on in, you can use this final step on the Mind TRACK to Happiness process to simply concentrate on your situation aims and the steps that are required to reach them, keeping in mind your bigger picture aims.
You can have many plans for many areas of your life if you like and you don’t need to keep everything all on the one piece of paper or cardboard. It is completely up to you how you present your plan to yourself. The main aim though is to make it clear, do-able and easy to follow so you always know exactly what steps you are taking and where you are at on your journey towards your goals.
Keep measuring your progress, your experiences and your aims against your bigger picture aims to keep you aligned with the overall life that you aiming to have.
Take some time out to acknowledge your progress too and see where you have been. Particularly if you are working towards a major goal, it is important to look at where you have been sometimes so you don’t get discouraged by how far you have to go.
Having gotten to the final step on the Mind TRACK to Happiness process you will undoubtedly be feeling a whole lot more encouraged to deal with what is presently happening in your life, instead of feeling like this situation is defeating you.
It is normal, however, to slide up and down the ladder of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process and it’s really important that you don’t begin to attach your self-worth to being solution-focussed all the time. That’s not what this process is about.
Your beliefs are directly responsible for how you feel and because we are constantly rating our lives and our experiences in accordance with our beliefs, there will continue to be times where you feel great about your life and when you feel terrible about your life. This is normal for everyone.
The reality of life is that it’s full of ups and downs. The down times do not define you as being worth-less. This is just the conditioning of your mind. What’s important is that you keep recognising how your are feeling and then keep implementing the Mind TRACK to Happiness Process.
The more that you do this, the better you will become at managing your beliefs and stopping that cycle of challenging times ending in stress or depression.
In the last ten weeks you have hopefully come a long way in understanding how you came to do postnatal depression and what it will take for you to change that physical chemical reaction going on inside your brain.
Hold onto that analogy of the spider and how the chemical of adrenaline is created from the fear which came from your beliefs. Everything that occurs in the body, first appears from the brain and how it thinks.
As you begin to change your mindset and apply what you have learnt over the last ten weeks you begin to feel better too – both in physcial energy and emotionally.
Always remember, you are always 100% worthy no matter what is happening and that there is value in everything.
In tomorrow’s exercise day, I’d like you to take some time and just reflect on what has changed for you and write down any ‘aha moments’ that you have had in the last 10 weeks.
Next week we are going to use the Mind TRACK to Happiness process on the specific mental issues of Stress, Depression and anxiety and I’ll show you how to upgrade your beliefs and put action into place for stopping these disorders. We’ll also be looking more closely at anger, guilt, fear and your relationships.