This topic came up a little while ago. A wonderful commentor mentioned that they were struggling with this because they didn't feel like there was support for them outside of themselves.
So, what do you do if you feel this way?
First thing, for me, while I was feeling this way, was to find one person that you could talk to about it. A co-worker, a friend, an acquaintance that you wanted to become a friend, and sometimes even a complete stranger.
For a while, I was my own motivator. I would sit with my planner, and my list of things I wanted to do in my lifetime (experiences etc.) and projects and goals I had. I would write them all out on individual lists and get everything set up. I would carry them around with me. And I'd pick two things that I could accomplish in the year ahead. Just two. And then, when I was bored, required a little direction I'd pull out those lists and pick another thing.
In my planner, I would look ahead through the year and leave myself messages so that when I got to that date I would already have something encouraging for myself to read. Like writing letters to your future self.
We are our own worst critic. Self-speak is a huge portion of what goes on in our mind. If we said 1 iota of what we silently say to ourselves to others, we would start recognizing the cruelty we have towards ourselves.
So, you want to be supported but aren't getting from outside? Time to be your own best support system.
Grab your favourite beverage and snacks. Sit down on the couch or your favourite chair. Have coloured pens, markers, stickers, pencil crayons, and tons of paper with you - coloured, lined, dotted, or fancy in some other way. And start writing. Write out all the things you want to do in your lifetime. Places you'd like to visit, experiences you'd like to have, etc. This is your bucket list. It can say - go to a concert (band doesn't matter). Or, visit the Eiffel Tower. Or, take a cruise on the Danube. If you need help with this pinterest it! Get my degree, or take a course to improve my skills should go on this list.
Write until you exhaust yourself on this list. And write EVERYTHING that comes to mind. IT doesn't matter what it says. It is yours and yours alone.
Then, take a break. Take 15 minutes to close your eyes and sit with what you just poured out on paper. If you typed it instead, that's cool too -just make sure you can print it out.
After those 15 minutes. Savouring some snacks, enjoying how the beverage feels in your mouth, the tastes of it, the refreshing feeling or smoothness of it. Allow yourself to relax. See if anything else comes up in your mind and write all that out too.
Now, pick another page, or start another document, and write out all the tasks you need to do: laundry, dusting, etc. The key here is be ultra specific. What do you need to do with the laundry? Wash, Dry, fold, put away? Great that's 4 lines on this list. This includes stuff like, go through my wardrobe and get rid of clothing that doesn't fit. Or, clean out the junk drawer, or weed the garden. This is all the little niggly things that you want to do to improve your immediate dwelling and therefore your personal space. Each part of the task gets it's own line item. When you are done. Take another 15 minutes to sit and savour your beverage and your snacks, eyes closed, and let your mind relax. Anything that comes up while you are taking your break gets written down too.
Done with that? Great! Now, let's take a look at what you want for your financial life. Another page. Do you have bills that require paying and may take more than one payment? Write it down. Do you have savings goals? Retirement financial goals? Debts you want to pay off? Write it all down. And again, take your break.
This is an exhausting task so if you happen to take a nap, THAT'S GREAT!!
If you typed it all out, print it out and decorate if you feel moved to doing that. If you hand wrote the lists, grab your colours and decorate!
Then, set these aside and walk away. Do something to continue your relaxation if you want. If you are energized and motivated, get up and get a task done. You don't need your lists for this. You know what you feel like doing and what you don't. Do one thing and see where it leads, but do the one thing until completion. If it's laundry, then while it's washing and drying, you have time to either relax or do a second task.
Eat something. Move your body. Put on some music and dance around. Yell and scream if you are so moved. Let the release happen. The exercise is to let our what has been milling around in your brain, whatever that is. And start to carve out relax time and task time.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or experiencing symptoms of depression then let your body tell your brain what it needs. Body will speak. It's time to start hearing it. Our brain will be like a stubborn, tantrum throwing child in some cases while you are doing this task.
Save everything. Do not delete or edit yourself during this time. Everything your write or type or draw out will be needed in the next stage. And I do mean everything! Let it all flow. It doesn't matter if things that "belong" on one list end up on another. If things that don't "belong" at all end up in there. None of that matters. You didn't do it wrong if this happens. Nobody is grading you on this task. There is no right way or wrong way. It's important that you start. It can take you 5 minutes to write, or 5 hours. Or, 30 seconds, or 1 hour. This is about you. The exercise is about how to start supporting you through your own life.
So, you've done the lists above. You've probably added others. GREAT! Now what do you do. Give yourself 3 hours of time between writing the last list and this next part. 3 hours is important. You need to let it all go before you do this part.
Now grab the first list again. This time, look for everything that "doesn't" belong on the Bucket List. Read it. See where your head is at.
If it isn't a bucket list item that you can call a To-Do, then move it to another page. Or better yet, move the Buck List Items to a Bucket List. Take a look at what else you wrote though. It will give you a good idea of what you want to actually do, how you are feeling and where your head is at.
Repeat this portion with all of the lists you wrote out. Save the originals in a file to take a look at at the end of the year.
Ok, so now your should have your task lists. Some will be things you can get done right away. others will be things you can get done by the end of a month or quarter or year, and still others may take several years to accomplish. THAT'S OK!!
The key is this. Post those lists somewhere - kitchen, bedroom, on a mirror, or office wall. In your daily/weekly/monthly planner, pick 1-3 things you want to accomplish by the end of a day, week or month. Now, set your sights on accomplishing them.
Your Bucket List items. Try to aim for one of these every year or two. One thing. See Cirque Du Soleil - research it, determine what is available in your area, how much tickets you want are, and then work towards that budget wise, life wise. And plan to do it on your own. If someone goes with you all the better.
The key here is to do those things regardless of who is with you. We often allow the presence or absence of others to dictate what we can and can't do and allow ourselves to get disappointed that we didn't do something because someone else bailed on us last minute. This one thing right here was the key to unlocking myself! I control me. I control what I do what I don't do.
Are you scared of this? GOOD!! This is the thing that is holding you stuck in the rut you may be in. Start small. Go to a matinee movie on your own and see something you want to see. Or, go to a coffee shop with a book and read a little all on your own while you enjoy the coffee. Date yourself! Be the best person to yourself you can be.
Support is similar to many things in life. Learning the type of support we need can only come from spending concentrated time with ourselves doing the things we want. If you need to, imagine yourself as that amazing movie character you've loved for a while. Holly Go-Lightly, or that amazing mysterious Italian woman from Under the Tuscan Sun, or emulate a Kardashian for an hour! Or if you are male - maybe it's emulate George Clooney or Ryan Gosling or Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent or someone like that.
What do you want to accomplish in the next year? Write that out. Now, take a couple of those items, and break them all the way down into the tiny tasks to complete.
Example: I want to take an overnight trip to Montreal. I need accommodations. I want to enjoy a real bagel, maybe some poutine, and experience a patisserie while I'm there. It would be cool to see Mont Royal, Notre Dame, and the botanical gardens and biodome. I'll actually want to spend 5 days there. How am I going to get there? Fly? Train? Drive? How much will my transportation cost me? How much for food? Hotel room? Air BnB? Friend's house? can I do something related to work so they can cover some of my costs?
Start googling and develop your research and information in a package for yourself. This work can be done a little each day - 1% per day to your goal gets your trip planned in 100 days. Phase 1 is complete. Saving the money is the next portion. Again, 1 % per day or 2% per paycheck, or whatever you can do. Just make concerted efforts to doing it. Once the money is in place, you now need to book the trip, accommodations, travel, tickets to your chosen experiences, and pick which patisserie to see, or bagel shop to enjoy.
Ok - you have your lists of what you want to do in your life. You require support to help you with this. This blog is an great place to find some support. I'm happy to hear from you, email or comment here, about what is going on. And you can now start to help your future self. 15 minute tasks from the lists you've created. Work towards one or two things from the list in a year, and one to two things from the list every month or two or a couple of 15 minute daily tasks you can do to start supporting your desires and wishes. The only person that will know if you do them or not is you. There is no right and wrong here.
Start with just one thing. Just one. And see what happens.
Reach out too. Strangers who don't know your history or your back story can often be the best support because you don't have to be anything or hide anything from them. You just need to vent a little and know that someone is listening.
I would also like to recommend visiting a social worker or counsellor as well. This may be taboo to some of you. It's a huge help to work through some of the mental aspects of life that we just can't do on our own. I'm not shy about telling people I have been seeing one for a while. The support, the direct approach to helping you work through things, being able to help you understand yourself and some of the behaviours you have and can improve on is a great check in.
Start and see what happens!