Monday, 21 October 2013

How you can have the life you want in 7 easy steps

Good morning

Happy Monday.  I hope that you all have had a great weekend and you are looking forward to your week ahead.  Or are you wishing that you could have stayed in your bed this morning?

If you are the latter, are you looking to make a change in your life and take a step towards something different?  Are you dreading Sunday nights because you have to go into the office the next day?

Have a read below of how to have the life you want in 7 easy steps.  Don't worry it is not all new age mumbo jumbo...  It is just some useful steps to help you on your way to having the life you want in 7 easy steps.

Have a great read.


Miss Jones xx

Step 1: Make an Ideal Island

Your first job is to create your own Ithaca, your dreamed-of destination, your ideal future. Since your internal blind seer thinks in pictures, not words, you'll be making a vision board: a collage of images that appeal to you. You can cut pictures from magazines and glue them to a sheet of paper. You can also go to, where you'll find an elegant and user-friendly vision board tool . Either way, the process is simple—find appealing images and put them together. Always choose pictures that are viscerally pleasing, images that make you respond with wordless sounds: "Oooh!" "Aaah!" "Mmm!"

The vision of your ideal life doesn't have to look possible, just delicious. When your collage feels delectable enough—aim for about a dozen images—put it on the far right side of your long stretch of butcher paper or wall (obviously, if you're using a computer, you'll have to print your vision board). Label your collage Ideal Island. This is where most vision board exercises end. But we're just getting started.

Step 2: Make an Island of Experience

The most useful maps have an accurate point that says YOU ARE HERE, so your next step is to make a collage of your life as it is now. Think through a typical day. What do you do from dawn to dusk? How does your body look and feel? What are your relationships like? Find images or words that illustrate each. And be honest. Include the chocolate addiction, the clutter, the heartbreak, everything. Then tack this collage to the far left side of your butcher paper or wall. Label it Island of Experience.

You've now created two collages: one depicting what you want to be and do and have, and one depicting what you're currently being and doing and having. Next up: mapping the islands you must visit while journeying from one to the other.

Step 3: Map Your Islands of Enhancement

Odysseus didn't just hit the water; he sailed from island to island, encountering different adventures. The trip was interrupted by storms, love affairs, and problems with his boat. Hey, ship happens. You, too, will island-hop from experience to experience, procuring supplies, asking for directions, falling into pit traps. If you proceed without a plan, the journey will feel out of your control. Luckily, it's possible to start mapping the trip before it begins.

For every image on your Ideal Island that isn't on your Island of Experience, you'll create an Island of Enhancement. For example, if your Ideal Island includes visiting Peru but you've never left Kentucky, label a blank sheet "Travel to Peru". Stick this page between the Island of Experience and Ideal Island. Then fill it with images of your adventure: people chewing coca leaves, exploring Machu Picchu, adopting a wild macaw.

Repeat this process for every item that appears in your ideal life but not in your actual experience. This is not something you'll do in one fell swoop. I have island chains that took me a year to make. During moments of inspiration (or uncertainty), this work can be immensely revelatory (or calming). You're creating an archipelago of experiences to get you to your dream. But before you can get there, you've got one more category of islands to create.

Step 4: Create Your Islands of Enlightenment

There are probably things on your Island of Experience that don't appear on your Ideal Island: anxiety, for instance, or cigarettes, or that extremely judgmental aunt whose hugs feel like strangles. For each item, create an Island of Enlightenment—a place where you'll unload encumbrances.

Just as you did for the things you want, label sheets of paper with each thing you don't want: anxiety, tobacco, Aunt Gladys. Now find images of people defeating such monsters—getting therapy, chomping on nicotine gum, setting boundaries with incoming aunts. This may involve research. Google your topic, paw through magazines, ask knowing friends. As you collect ideas and information, add images of freedom to each Island of Enlightenment. Continue this process until you have an island for everything in your current life you hope to leave behind. Now you can hoist anchor and set sail.

Step 5: Go Island-Hopping for Provisions and Information

To follow your map, seek activities that resemble any part of any island other than your Island of Experience. It's often best to start with the Islands of Enhancement. If your Travel to Peru collage includes the rainforest, Machu Picchu, and macaws, live those pictures, or something like them. Eat guava and mangoes. Train for hikes on a stair machine. Wear parrot feathers in your hair. Then begin living the experiences on your Islands of Enlightenment: Find a therapist, join a tobacco recovery group, get assertiveness or martial arts training to deal with Aunt Gladys.

What you're doing here is normalizing the feel of your Ideal Island. This is key to reaching your goal, because people have a way of almost ineluctably creating situations that feel normal. Traveling the archipelago also opens you to helpful information and relationships. The more you explore, the more accessible you make the experiences on Ideal Island.

Step 6: Incorporate New Information into the Island of Experience and Your Ideal Island

Remember, I said this was a magical morphing map. Each time you visit an island in your archipelago, go back to your Island of Experience and your Ideal Island and update them:
Add an image of whatever you just did to your Island of Experience.
If you found something unexpectedly unpleasant—for instance, it turns out you're allergic to macaws—remove the corresponding image(s) from your Ideal Island and replace them with something you've discovered you like more (you might drop Peru and add a trip to Kalamazoo).
As you discover the details of each experience, put additional images on your Ideal Island. For example, if you hear about a great hotel in Lima, you can add an image of the place to your Ideal collage.

Step 7: Repeat

Continue exploring as long as there are any differences between the Island of Experience and Ideal Island. Each time something delights you, add it to your experiences. Each time something disappoints or harms you, find the way to beat it, and put up images that represent your approach. Subtract from your Ideal Island anything that proves unworthy, and add images that feel more like you.

I can't promise that using your map this way will take you directly to your best life—but I can promise it'll take you there indirectly, and that's as good as it gets. One day you'll unroll your length of butcher paper or check out your map wall, and realize two things:

1. You have a clear, detailed, uncluttered picture of the life you want to live, and
2. You're living it. Your magical map is filled with portraits of your present, preceded by a long chain of amazing memories.

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