Volume 16, Issue 6
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Whenever holidays are upon us, we are bombarded with advertising related to the commercial aspect of the season. “Buy early, buy often and buy wisely because the perfect gift can make all the difference.dz Your head is spinning with all these messages; add the demands of more social and family get-togethers and you may find that you are reeling and dizzy with holiday stress.
Finding inspiration for the opportunities that lay before you can be difficult if you are feeling exhausted and stressed. However, to create a plan for where you want to go in a year from now, reflection of where you have been is necessary.
1.What have I accomplished this year? Write down or type on your computer some of the things that you achieved in the past year (especially those that matter most to you). Reflect on goals or plans you did not follow through on. Decide whether they are important enough to carry into the next year.
2.What events inspired me this year and what did I do about it? Did you encounter someone whose story or actions motivated you to rethink your priorities? Was there an event or news story that led you to reflect that you could make a difference if you take action?
3.Where do I want to be this time next year? Formulating plans and setting specific goals to achieve these plans are the foundation of answering this question. What do you want to carry forward from this year? What do you want to let go of? Where do you want to make a difference? How are you going to do these things?
4.Where will I find inspiration? Inspiration comes in many forms: music, art, books, nature, animals and travel are just a few to be mindful of. Maintaining a spiritual practice gives guidance to our everyday actions. Traditions give meaning to our identities of past and present. Making sense of our world can be difficult without these supports.
Pick a quiet time and place to review these questions and formulate responses. You are the only one that can answer the questions that life has given to you. Planning ahead and choosing challenging goals can create deeper meaning in your life.
For additional guidance or support in reviewing your achievements and setting goals, contact PAS at (800) 356-0845. Our knowledgeable, professional EAP staff are available to work with you wherever you are in the process.
Do you ever feel like technology is taking over your life? Take control – technology is a tool, not your master. Here are a few tips to help you maintain control over the constant bar- rage of technology:
- Turn it off. Turn off the TV, video games, cell phone. Limit the amount of time you and your family spends in isolating techno-activities (Facebook, video games, TV, instant messaging). Silence the beeping, chirping, music. Can you hear the birds now?
- Do only one thing at a time. If you’re watching TV, don’t try to do something else at the same time.
- Slow down. You don’t have to answer an email just because it just popped into your Inbox.
- Make a to-do list of the most important activities for the day. Work from top to bottom, sticking to the first thing until it is done, and then move on to the next one. Use technology to help you achieve your goal rather than interfere with it.
- Just because the phone rings doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Finish dinner. Finish your conversation or meeting. That’s what voice mail is for.
- You don’t need to know everything that is happening around you. Because of technology, our society is on information overload. Be selective about what “push notifications” you opt in for. Un- subscribe from unnecessary email advertising and professional marketing.
- That’s what friends are for. Virtual relationships are just that: “virtual”. Strengthen real friendships and family relationships that are based on real connections: living and working together, shoulder-to-shoulder.
Move into the Driver’s Seat
“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”- Unknown
To create a meaningful life, step one is recognizing that responsibility for your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing be- gins and ends with you. Sitting in the passenger seat may seem the more comfortable position on the journey, but it comes with a hefty price tag: you won’t be able to make changes that are necessary or important to you. Sure, you can blame others when problems appear in your life, but the victim mentality still won’t give you the power to change what is within your control.
So how do you get on the road for living the life that you want?
- Quit asking permission from someone else.
- Be proactive instead of passive. Get in the driver’s seat.
- Stop with the excuses. They are limiting and create irrational thinking.
- Take charge of your life and give it direction. Do you know where you’re headed?
- Protect and nurture your health and wellbeing.
Many stressed adults will tell you that when it comes to taking care of themselves, self-care falls last on their list of responsibilities. Moving it to the top will significantly boost wellbeing. There are steps you can take to reduce stress and burnout. This will free you up to actively pursue the goals you have chosen for yourself.
- Manage your time wisely.
- Use stress management techniques.
- Confront fears; don’t hide from them.
- Seek and accept help for yourself
- Be open to new ideas.
- Let go of anger. It burns precious energy.
In his book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes about the importance of overcoming internal resistance – a process that can delay and prevent you from reaching important goals. You can develop a vision of where you want your life to be and use that vision to create a plan, or you can just fantasize about “a wonderful life” but never do anything about it. Get rid of wishful thinking. Actually do the work – take action – towards your goal(s).
Using your internal energy to focus on past failures or injustices in your personal life leaves less energy for you to take action. Heavy focus on past failures, hurts, slights, and injustices will not change where you are today, nor where you will be tomorrow. Shift your focus to what you can change today to make the future you want for tomorrow.
As Abraham Lincoln so aptly stated:
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
Featured Service: New PAS Life Tools Resorce Center
Our new, award-winning LifeTools Resource Center is a well-organized supplement to PAS’ counseling and life management services. Click on the LifeTools button below to gain easy access to resources that help simplify life:
A rich library of thousands of articles, tip sheets, calculators, and checklists on various work and life-event topics, links to best-of-the-web resources, and a section in Spanish
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Local Resources tool for guidance anywhere in the U.S. to:
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PASWord Express © 2013 is published by Personal Assistance Services, 9735 Landmark Parkway, Suite 17, St. Louis, MO, 63127 -9968 (800) 356-0845. Material may not be reproduced without written permission