Life is a roller coaster…full of twists, turns, ups, and downs. When we begin this ride, we are filled with wonderment, receptivity, and enthusiasm. However, as our ride continues, the jarring motion begins to take a toll on our mental and physical resilience. We often find ourselves becoming jaded and less willing to take the necessary risks to go beyond our rut. Being in the stage of survival mode becomes our way of life.
When people are merely surviving, they tend to be:
less flexible and more resistant to change.
less proactive and responsive to new and different things.
less willing to assume control over the outcomes of their lives.
less likely to take risks for fear of failure.
less able to embrace success as a part of their framework for the future.
If you are one of the many people who are in survival mode, challenge yourself to go beyond. With a focused approach on your part, you can and will experience more positive and rewarding outcomes in all aspects of your life.
To begin your challenge, use these basic strategies.
(1) Determine who you are.
Take time to assess yourself before you attempt to make any changes. Identify who you are in terms of the following categories:
- Your principal values;
- Your driving motivations;
- Your key habits (good and bad);
- Your natural strengths;
- Your primary limitations.
Note: To keep a record of your answers, write them down in a journal or in a small notebook.
(2) Define where you want to be:
Visualize what you want your future to look like. Where do you see yourself in the next three to five years? What would you ideally like to see changed in terms of your current personal and professional lifestyle?
(3) Invest in your success.
To better your life, commit to incorporating these activities into your daily life:
- practice gratitude
- be kind to others
- forgive yourself and others
- spend time with positive people
- find your inspiration and purpose
- get out into nature
- do something you love
- take time to eat and sleep well
- engage in exercise, meditation, and self-reflection
- do something outside your rut
- keep learning and growing
- laugh a lot
Note: Make it a point to complete three to five of these activities each day. They won’t take much of your time.
(4) Keep yourself in check.
Find and maintain your balance. When you feel like you are getting out of control, take time to assess the situation and determine how best to manage it. Don’t let yourself get too stressed out, especially on stuff that really doesn’t matter.
(5) Make learning a priority.
Today’s society is in a constant state of flux. To prosper and flourish, keep current in your field of interest, educate yourself on the best practices for healthy living, and upgrade your skills to tackle new advances. Learn by reading reliable resources, investing in the necessary education and training, and gathering information from the people around you. Always be prepared for the new opportunities that might happen to come your way.
(6) Go beyond your comfort zones.
When you step outside your comfort zone, there will be amazing opportunities awaiting you. To open yourself up to unknown experiences, be willing to discover new places, meet different people, say “yes” to unique invitations, do the extraordinary, and expand your creativity. Embrace each day with a spirit of optimism, enthusiasm, and adventure.
(7) Take responsibility for who you are.
Assume responsibility for your attitude and behavior. Whenever you make a mistake, own up to it without passing on the blame to others. Be willing to fail, learn from the experience, and move on. As you take greater charge of your life, you will strengthen your confidence, purpose, and self-efficacy.
(8) Be your best advocate.
This is your journey, so be your most avid fan. Reward yourself for doing well with special treats that will encourage you to keep going. Although encouragement from others might be important, your most vital source of support is yourself.
Changing your mindset from survival to beyond will take time and patience. Don’t give up…you are worth the investment.
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Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University and a contributing member to LEARN Idaho. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.
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