Living A Deliberate Life

Take a moment to reflect on your life, and think of at least one time when you achieved something significant. You set a goal, made a plan, and dedicated time to achieving that goal. You worked hard, and eventually you did it. Maybe you set a fitness goal like running a marathon, or a professional goal to get a promotion or to work in a particular company or field. Maybe personally you set yourself goals to meet people and make friends. Whatever it was, reflect on that success for a moment.

Now think about the rest of your life, and whether it follows the same guided path that you took on that occasion. If you’re like most people, your life looks a lot less deliberate.

Unfortunately many of us live in this “accidental life” mode all the time. When we get in that mode we tend to rely on good luck, and good things happening, rather than making them happen. I do have a lot of good luck in my life, but I work very hard to get it, and I expect to get it.

You know the feeling of driving somewhere out of the usual, but you started to drive somewhere else – to a place you regularly drive. Suddenly you realize that you’re on auto-pilot.

To live a deliberate life, the first thing we need to do is become conscious and get out of auto-pilot mode. Auto-pilot is good for a lot of things, but if we make important decisions in auto-pilot mode, we can just drift along in our life and not get to where we want to go.

It’s easier to live unconsciously and “go with the flow”, but it lowers your expectations and in turn will lower your results. In life we generally get what we expect to get.

A conscious life will bring you what you want because you will know what you want and you will focus your energy towards getting it.

The first step to becoming conscious is to slow down and take some deep breaths… literally! Meditating, praying or creating quiet time without any distractions is the first step to becoming more aware. This isn’t something that should be done once, but regularly – every day if possible.

The second is to ask questions. There’s one really good question, asked over and over to help you get to the root of the issue. Answered honestly it will help you find your true motives. It’s the one little children like to ask over and over because they are living consciously – “Why?”

For example:

Why am I unfit? I don’t exercise enough.
Why don’t I exercise enough? I don’t have time, because I am so busy at work.
Why am I so busy at work? I take on more than I can handle.
Why do I take on more than I can handle? I don’t like saying “No”.
Why don’t I like saying “No”? I’m afraid I might get fired
Why am I afraid I might get fired? Because my Dad got fired when I was young, and we had to go without for a while.

Acting upon those motives is the last but crucial step. Ask yourself similar questions beginning with “How can I…” if you want to help yourself with ideas for taking action.

No action is like having an electric oven, but no electricity. The potential is there to make the best Thanksgiving dinner, but without electricity you might as well try cooking your roast in a cardboard box.

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