Author Deborah Day shares more of her advice on putting an end to self-harm.
3. Be clear about your values and goals
Thirdly, it is essential to identify your values and goals. How can you attain the life you want if you are not clear about what is most important to you? Just going through the motions of daily life is living passively. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and before you know it another year has gone by. Can you relate? As I state in my book, “one is often so busy doing life that it is easy to avoid evaluating whether you are putting your energy in the directions you value most.” Taking time to gain clarity about what is important to you is essential.
A simple way to assess if you are putting your energies into what is important to you is to record how you spend a usual 24-hour day. You can do one for your usual work day and one for a non-work day. Write down all your activities. Include time for sleep. Be especially mindful of how you use your non-working hours. Then on a separate piece of paper write down what you deem are important areas/interests in your life. Some examples are children, spouse, family, working-out, gardening, and the like. Now review your work and non-work days and notice if your available time is often used for these important areas. The more congruent these two are the happier you will be.
As you are more aware of what you value, then you create goals that will adhere to and reinforce those values. Goal setting is a way of assuring that you are progressing in a manner that aligns with your values. If you notice that you spend the majority of your free time watching TV and neglecting your desire to go on a bike ride or to start writing your next novel or blog, then try making gradual shifts. Maybe one night you will commit to riding your bike for thirty-minutes. Or maybe you will choose to turn the TV off an hour earlier and spend that hour working on you writing project. Whatever you need to do to make your available time align more with what matters most to you-do it! It is worth the effort! You are worth the effort!
4. Walk the talk
Fourthly, pay attention to your behaviors. We have all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words.” Well, what are your actions saying about you? Do you like what your behaviors are saying? Are your actions in harmony with your values? I am often surprised by how many people never ask this question. While it is great to know what is important to you it is equally imperative to have continuity between your values and behaviors. A key element to stop self-sabotaging is to behave in ways that emerge from your values. If you don’t take responsibility for how you are living your life it will be hard to feel satisfied. You may on occasion (or by accident) feel happy; however, it will usually be short lived. The best way to insure you achieve the greatest satisfaction out of life is to behave intentionally.
Many clients tell me they “put their head in the sand” to avoid dealing with reality. This may help you avoid some temporary discomfort; however, the long-term suffering tends to be worse than it would have been if you choose to live with your eyes wide open and take the necessary actions required to create the life you want. When your behaviors are not a reflection of your values, where is the peace? Where is the happiness? I encourage you to take your head out of the sand and live on purpose!
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