The other day I walked around the reservoir in Central Park, and a woman ran right in front of me, but a little faster. I quickened to overtake them, and then quickened them . Finally I gave up and let her continue – but then she slowed down. Did you know that we were in a secret race? Soon she was only a few steps ahead of me, and I accelerated at full throttle to overtake her.
Ha! I thought. I win.
Until I realized I was so focused on this stupid race that I missed my damn ride. I had to turn around and walk back, with the tail between my legs (of course, trying to look as intentional as possible).
Do you ever do that? Concentrate on someone and lose your way? Whether small and stupid like an imaginary race or big things like your career and your vision of the future, it's easy to follow others and go the right way, often with much bigger consequences.
Here's how you can focus on your future own way in a world of distractions and people who claim to know better.
. 1 Ask (and look at the past).
It's easy to forget what we've always wanted. Ask your friends and family: What did I always want to do with my life? What were my goals? What did I talk about? Your feedback will connect you with the years of your desires.
A customer evicted her flat with her best friend and was happy to find her old art books in the back of her closet. She fingered her and wondered how good her old stuff was. Her best friend said, "Vicki, you have to do it again!"
Vicki is a lawyer and has not created art for years. That does not mean she has to give up her career. She can just spend some time every month choosing something that is important to her. It can be a hobby, a relaxation exercise – the hell, even a sideline!
What would your best friend say to you to rejoin?
2. Create a vision board.
Put simply, a vision board is a collage of magazine images, photos, images, and affirmations of your dreams or goals – essentially anything that makes you hopeful and inspired – on a simple A3-sized blackboard. Vision boards not only work (they can help you understand what you want and release the flow of manifestation), they can also help you understand what "calling" you through the power of images.
This is deeply unique and personal experience. What moves you, do not move anyone and vice versa. What you discover might surprise you – the fact that children never come to me says a lot to me. It's a fantastic way to put your dreams on paper. It's also a wonderful break from the digital distraction and a connection to your creative core.
. 3 Diary about your perfect day.
One of the most powerful life-teaching exercises I teach is writing for 20 minutes what a perfect day in your life looks like. If you live a single day over and over again and need to be completely satisfied, what would happen that day? Go from waking up to falling asleep – even if you add times, if that helps!
And write it in the first person, starting with "I live in …"
. Consider these questions:
Where do you live? Near the beach, the mountains, the city
What does your home look like?
When did you wake up?
What are you doing in the morning?
What are you doing?
How much do you work?
Who are your friends?
What are you having for lunch? Do you eat with someone?
What are you doing for family time?
How do you spend the afternoon?
What to do? Do you do in the evening?
When are you going to bed?
This is a profoundly enlightening exercise. First of all, it is unique: only you can decide the perfect day. And second, it is free from expectations. It's all about what you want . It's unbelievable how many "full-blown dreams" emerge when you do this. If you would like to get up at 6:30 am each day to get to CrossFit, you can come to your job as an advertising agency by 8:30 am. Afterwards, you can drink in a tapas bar before returning to your one bedroom Chicago apartment Make a Murderer with your SO? If so, great!
But what if your dream day wakes up without alarm in the forest, works online for hours, and has a quieter outdoor life with two dogs?
It means you need to make a drastic change now. It just means that you should pay attention to your wishes. Pay attention. See how your life today matches your perfect everyday life. Remember, it's your perfect day . Not what your parents, friends or high school teachers think is a perfect day. How are you living it? Remember, life does not start later. It's happening right now!
Following a leader or being part of a group of people who inspire you is wonderful if you can focus on your unique, personal desires. Following a crowd because it's easy, or because that's what everyone else does, can work for a while … but do not miss your exit.
Susie Moore is a columnist for Greatist's life coach and a trust coach in New York City. Sign up for free wellness tips on their website and visit the latest "No Regrets" section every Tuesday.