Week 1: Choose a Focus
Willpower is the ability to go after what you really want—even when it's difficult, or some part of you doesn't want to (or believes that you can't). To find your willpower, you first need to know what you want.
Of course, we all want lots of different things. We even have competing parts of ourselves that want different things. Part of you might want to stay in bed all day and eat chocolate. Another part of you might want to change the world. Part of you wants to eat healthfully and practice yoga every day, and another part might wonder, what's the point?
If you listen carefully, there's another part of you—call it your inner wisdom—that senses what you really need to be your best self, to show up fully in your life, and contribute what only you can offer the world.
This week, tap into your inner wisdom by reflecting on the following questions. By the end of this week, see if you can identify a specific goal, behavior, or process you want to commit to and explore over the next month. It's OK if the focus feels big, or even impossible. This first step is about opening to possibility, and inviting in a transformative vision for yourself and your life.
1. If anything were possible, what would you most like to welcome in to your life? What might this require of you?
2. Is there anything in your life that you are ready to let go of? What direction would you move in, and what would be possible, if you did?
3. When you're feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, or self-critical, where do you put your attention? What do you give your energy to? Is this how you want to spend your time and resources?
4. When you feel hopeful, inspired, and connected, where do you put your attention? What do you give your energy to? As look forward in your life, what do you want to give your attention and energy to?
Week 2: Making a Commitment
Last week, you might have set a goal for yourself—where you want to end up, or what you want to achieve. This week, focus on the process that will support you along the way. Big change happens not all at once, but through daily mindful choices that are consistent with your goal. This week, I invite you to reflect on the values and vision that can support you in making everyday decisions.
1. When you think about how life will be when you accomplish your goal, what do you imagine feeling, having, or doing? What is the big "why" behind your goal?
2. Imagine that when you wake up tomorrow morning, this vision for your life is the first thing that comes to mind. From that place of deep motivation, what would you commit to doing that very day, to support yourself?
3. You make thousands of choices every day, from what you eat for lunch, to how often you check your email, to what you listen to on your drive home from work. What is a small choice you could make every day this week that would remind you of, and honor, your big goal?
When you've identified a possible commitment, consider both how realistic it is, and whether or not it resonates with your heartfelt desire. Choose a commitment that feels both possible today, and also truly reflective of your bigger vision for your life.
Week 3: Self-Compassion
When setbacks or self-doubt show up, we can become our own worst critic. The solution is self-compassion: finding a way to open to, forgive, and move beyond whatever stress and pain you are feeling.
This week's reflection asks you to write a letter of self-compassion to yourself, as if you were listening to, supporting, and encouraging someone you truly care about. (Which, you are!)
The topic of the letter can be any challenge, setback, or self-doubt you are dealing with related to your focus for this program. Or, if some other kind of stress or difficulty is distracting you from your goal, you could write the letter about that instead.
Imagine yourself at some future date—one month, one year, ten years, whatever feels right—when you have fully realized your most important goal, or made peace with something you are currently struggling with.
Write a letter to yourself from the point of view of this future self—a wiser you who can look back and understand what you are going through now, but also see the potential you have to move beyond it.
In your letter:
Acknowledge and appreciate everything you did to get to where you are at this future point in your life. What will you be grateful to yourself for?
Offer your present self some compassionate advice for overcoming any present challenges.
Tell your present self the good that you see in him/her, and the strengths that will help your present self become your future self.
After writing the letter, consider reading it out loud to yourself, and letting yourself hear this message from the part of you who really does care about and believe in you.
Week 4: Transcending Self-Improvement
This week, you're exploring how your personal goal can help you find your place in the world. It's about recognizing how self-care can connect you with something bigger than yourself. How honoring your heartfelt desires can also be a way to contribute to others. And how, fundamentally, you aren't alone on the journey.
To expand your vision even more, consider these reflection questions:
1. Who else in your life will benefit if you reach your goal, or make the change you have committed to? Why does this matter to you?
2. We are so used to relying on personal strength for reaching our goals. But strength and support are all around us. Where is support available to you already? Who can you share your goals with, or ask for support?
3. As you make progress on your goals, is there a way to share your success with others? Is there anyone in your life who needs support or encouragement?
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