At a certain age, there’s a natural tendency to slow down and reflect on where we’ve been in life and whether we’re on the right track.
If it feels like things aren’t on track, it can develop into what some might call a mid-life crisis.
What does a mid-life crisis feel like?
It can seem like you want to make some big changes in your life, but it feels too late to do them. It can feel like you’re trapped in your circumstances and you might wonder if there’s more to life than work, sleep, repeat. Sometimes it feels like you’re living on autopilot.
You might begin to regret some of the choices that you’ve made in your life and wish you could rewind and choose again.
It might feel like there are some goals and dreams that you’ve never managed to accomplish and you wish you could have.
So what can you do now to avoid experiencing a mid-life crisis?
Or, if you feel you might already be in one, how can you get out?
First of all, grab yourself a notebook, a Word document or start a note on your phone. I’ve got some activities for you to do that will help you get clearer about what your life is all about.
Begin to identify what it is that’s important to you. At the end of your life, what would you want to be sure to have accomplished? Is it a hobby? A relationship goal? A career aspiration? A health-related dream?
Be clear about what you would love to experience and write it down. There’s such power in clarity about your goals and dreams.
Now what I want you to do is begin thinking in 3-month chunks. In the next 3 months, what are 3 things that you can realistically accomplish toward one of those dreams or goals?
For example, let’s say one of your goals is to deepen your relationship with your wife. In the next 3 months, what are 3 things you can accomplish toward that goal?
Here’s what your response might look like:
One: Every day for the next 3 months, I will set aside all other tasks (and my phone) and talk to her about her day for at least 15 minutes.
Two: I will work with her to complete the garden beds she’s been wanting for years. We’ll do it together, because I know she’d love that.
Three: I will surprise her with a weekend getaway just for the two of us.
Now I want you to break that down further. Every week, set 3 goals that you can achieve that will move you toward the accomplishment of those larger 3 goals. For our example:
One: I will sit down and talk to her about her day for 15 minutes every day this week.
Two: I will discuss with her the plan for where we’re going to put the garden beds.
Three: I will arrange for childcare on the weekend I want to book our holiday.
If you want, all three of your weekly goals can be directed at only one of the bigger goals. The idea is that you’re consciously choosing to pursue those activities that are truly important to you every single week.
By using this strategy, you’ll avoid the pitfall that many of us fall into…getting so busy managing the day-to-day tasks of life that the bigger goals, dreams and pursuits fall by the wayside. Can you see how in only a month or so, you’d be so much further along in your pursuit of these goals? Can you see how that can help you to avoid the experience of a mid-life crisis?
Now what I want you to do is think about a perfectly normal day for you. What do your typical daily tasks look like and how do you usually feel when you’re doing them? Really reflect on this and write it down. Give yourself lots of time for this one.
Next I want you to imagine your ideal self going through a perfectly normal day. What is different? How can you begin to engage in those daily tasks in a way that’s more aligned with your ideal self?
At this point, I want you to think about three words you can use to describe your ideal self. It might be kind, present and generous. It might be funny, light-hearted and loving. It might be energetic, focused and caring. Spend some time thinking about what you would like to be more like, in an ideal world.
Write these three words down. Keep them with you- perhaps on a piece of paper in your wallet. Make them a reminder on your phone that pops up a few times a day. Maybe change your password on your computer to be a combination of these three words.
The key is to keep these three words top of mind, because the more you think about them, the more you’re going to subconsciously work to align your thoughts, feelings and behaviors with them.
You can take steps today to start behaving in a way that is congruent with the three qualities of your ideal self. For example, if one of your qualities is “loving,” you can give your kids a hug, call a friend or text someone who you know could really use it.
Most of the time, the actions that fit with our ideal selves are simpler than we imagine, free and pretty darn easy to accomplish. We just have to remember to do it. The more we act like our ideal selves, the happier we’ll be in our daily lives.
So to summarize, a mid-life crisis can be avoided or dealt with by really reflecting on what is important to you in your life, taking steps toward pursuing those goals and dreams and being in alignment with who you truly are- your ideal self.
I want you to remember, your life is now. We’re also all living longer than ever before. It’s never too late to begin to make a change.
I hope this was inspiring to you and I would love to hear what the three qualities of your ideal self are! Comment below and remember, I read and respond to every one!