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Ever catch yourself saying where has the time gone? Or find yourself making bad decisions and you don’t know why?
We are all victim to not really being present in our day-to-day actions. It’s like we live on the surface of things. We make plans with people that we don’t really want to spend time with. We forget to tell our spouses and partners that we love them. And we make purchases we regret later. So why is it we do these things and make our lives harder? It is like we are living on auto pilot and not really getting below the surface of of our actions and thoughts.
Checking in is imperative to living a full and intentional life. It helps us to stay focused on what really matters to us, our loved ones, our quality of life, our health, etc. It ensures we are following a path of purpose and fostering genuine and caring relationships.
The benefits of doing this exercise regularly are numerous and of great value to your physical and mental well being. Follow along below.
It’s Time to Check-In with yourself
I remember the first time I was introduced to the art of “Checking-In” or as Deepak Chopra calls it, Living in Awareness, It was around the time I took on a new job in a high-level Political office. I was working long hours and even on weekends. I have a young family and husband that relies on me to partake in family life alongside him (rightfully so) and I was still trying to balance friendships, self-care, and attack this job with gusto.
Eight months had passed. I started to make decisions that were not in line with my values and life at home was becoming rather difficult. I have always been someone who prides themselves on living a balanced life but when you find yourself in conflict with your actions and the people you love you know it’s time to make a change and “Check-In”. But how do we go about doing that when everything is overwhelming?
The first thing I did was put the brakes on any further actions. I knew that I had to get serious about myself and the situation so I called in sick and shut out all distractions at home. I shut my phone and computer off, made a coffee and sat down to map out what was currently going on in my life. I proceeded to make a simple chart with 3 columns on a large poster paper. The first column (Today HAPPY) with all the things that were contributing to my happiness at that current time, the second column (Today NOT HAPPY) with things that I felt were not making me happy i.e.- not exercising, eating too much sugar, etc.
Essentially a Pro vs. Cons list. I am sure even you have made at least one of these lists before but we need to take it a step further, stay with me.
Once you have the two columns filled with your thoughts we move on to the third column. The third column I like to label ACTION PLAN. As the title of the column states clearly, we are using this space to create a plan that we will take to restoring our quality of life.
To give you an example, I was not happy with my physical fitness level since I had taken on the new position and gained some unwanted weight. So I put in the third column a note to set a timer for every 45 mins and get up do some squats at my desks or walk around the office and deliver the staff mail and do check-ins for 15 mins.
Some actions will be easy like making a plan to eat 1 or 2 more veggies and fruits in your day. Other action plans will be more challenging and will require you to make bigger changes. For me, that was facing the fact that the position that I had been working at, although a very esteemed position, was leaving me feeling more let down and unhappy every day. So for me, my action was to look at my role and understand better what it was that was making me unhappy. Through this process (which by the way it only 20 mins) I came to the conclusion that this specific position was not suitable for me. And so I changed positions and companies ..2 months before I got married by the way..I know crazy!!
I do realize that this is a drastic action and not everyone will feel comfortable making a decision like this but I wanted to give you some context into how deep you can get with this exercise.
So you have made the decision that something has to give and you have carved out the time to do a Life Check-In, which by the way can take anywhere from 15 minutes to hours it just depends on how deep you want to get with it. So whats next?
Keep that paper close, even post it somewhere that you can see it regularly in your day. Review it each day for a week to keep yourself accountable for the actions that you have set out for yourself. It could take a few weeks of reviewing it. It will all depend on how complicated or challenging your actions are. Some might be ongoing actions and others are a one-time step.
Make sure to reward yourself when completing an action on your list. I took myself to the spa when I was able to transition successfully to my new position that provided a better quality of life. Knowing that you took the necessary actions to make your life better is a reward in itself but why not treat yourself? You deserve it!
Remember, Checking-In should be done on a regular basis. Think of it like going to your doctor for a physical check-up each year except it is maintenance for the quality of your life as a whole.
If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to reach out to me.