Hamster Wheel of Life

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Do you feel like you are in the hamster wheel of life? Spinning your wheels and seeming to get now? Each January is a marker of a new year, and a wonderful time to take measure of our progress, and re-focus ourselves for the coming year. All too often, however, the good intentions we made in January slowly fade and are gone by February. If when you hear "goal setting" you think of hard work, past failures, and think – why bother, you may have been done on the hamster wheel before. This article is for those who've ever been eaten on that wheel, those who have fallen off the wheel, and those who want to make their forward motion really count!

The Wheel: Typically, our path to achievement is to think of what we want, then set a goal, stick with it a couple of days, (maybe even a week or two), make some forward motion, then lose focus and revert to our old ways. It's not over yet yet thought, because we then know ourselves for failing the goal, and wonder, why can not I just be more disciplined? Time passes, we think about what we should "be doing, and the vicious cycle repeats. Or, we forget about trying again, but are left feeling guilty, "lazy" or "undisciplined." If you are focusing your efforts simply on setting and achieving goals, you may be missing most of the battle. If achieving your goals feet like struggle, you need to take a look at what is going on behind the scenes.

What is going on behind the scenes? Glad you asked. It is our thoughts and feelings that inspire action and inaction. Would you agree that our thoughts affect our actions? Do our feelings affect our thoughts? Do our feelings affect our actions? As you can see, actions, thoughts, and feelings are inter-related. It works like a pyramid, with actions at the top, and thoughts and feelings making up the base. If we focus only on our opportunities (actions) and do not take into account our thoughts and feelings, we may be losing the battle and missing most of the action.

The problem with goal setting is in how we pick our goals in the first place. Many times we pick our goals to fill a lack, without even being aware of what that lack is. To begin identifying what's really going on, try this exercise. It's best to do it now as it will only take a few minutes. Take out a clean sheet of paper and divide it into 3 columns. On the right column, list everything you want. It can be anything, a new car, more money, friends, family, etc. Then in the middle column, identify the benefit of what that goal will give you. In the third column, identify the benefit of the benefit.

What's really going on? What do you want 'What it will give you' The Benefit of the Benefit. For example, if I say I want X amount of dollars, I might identify that it will allow me to pay my bills easily, and the benefit of the benefit (paying bills easily) might give me a sense of freedom. From this process, I can see that quite, what I really want is freedom. The benefit of the benefit is your Ultimate Why.

How to get off the hamster wheel: Identify your Ultimate Whys. Usually the Ultimate Whys are a sense of something, a feeling, or a way of being. The secret is, you do not have to wait until you've made X amount of dollars, or filled some other goal in order to have that Ultimate Why now in your life. You can have it now – and it's free!

Now, look back through your list of the Ultimate Whys, and look for repeating themes. For instance, you might find stability coming up a few times, or freedom or adventure. Put a star next to the themes that are repeating for you. Pick one that repeats in your list for the next exercise. For our example, we will use freedom.

Create what you really want now: On a separate sheet of paper, brainstorm all the ways you can connect with that freedom now. Find ways that are easy and within reach, something you can do daily, or weekly. Freedom may be taking a walk at noon or sometimes taking time on Saturday to visit a local tourist spot that you have been meaning to see for awhile. Come up with several ways to create it now in your life. Then make it happen, set aside time to let yourself connect with your Ultimate Why. Make this your first goal, but since words carry weight, and goals depict pass / fail and past struggle, let's call it a plan instead. Make plans, not goals.

Re-evaluate your wants: In light of this exercise, and being aware of what you really want, re-evaluate your wants list. Identify which wants are still worthwhile and important to you. Prioritize them and then turn them into plans.

Stop the cycle of struggle: Many times, if we are unaware of what the goal will bring us, we may be sabotaging our efforts. For example, if my want is to earn X amount of dollars, and as I begin to make more money, I take part of the new cash flow and buy a new car (create a new bill), it may not be adding to my freedom or peace of mind, but will be taking away from it. In this mode of focusing only on goals, we are running on that hamster wheel, spinning the wheel, but feeling like we are not making progress, because we are not getting what we really want. When people are tattooed on the hamster wheel, they move from one goal to the next, "If only I could make more money, then I will have peace of mind, then I will be happy." The secret is, you can have what you really want right now. And by taking care of what you really want, you multiply your forward motion, and enjoy the entire journey.

When you begin making your plans from a place of satisfaction and happiness, life becomes an expression of who you are, what you love, and the possibilities continue to expand. Your business becomes a vehicle for filling your life's mission and purpose, and adding to the lives of those around you.

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Source by Holly Stokes

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