12 Steps To A Better Life
The last two weeks I was in Hawaii most of my time has been spent with people in recovery, ex-cons, homeless workers, and moms who were struggling. It may not seem to be the most fun-filled use of my time, but I must say I was shown a bright side to life. Overall every day was a struggle for many of them. Struggle to stay clean. Struggle to pay bills. A struggle to break bad habits. A struggle to be given a second chance. A struggle with themselves. Even through it all I was surrounded by hope. I was amazing to see how 12 steps could change a persons life. It made me start thinking about creating my own step program. A program to find a happier life:
1. Realize that you have control over your life: You are the only person that can make things happen for you. When things go wrong or we don’t like the outcome of something it is easy to place the blame elsewhere or make excuses why we can’t do something. Sometimes you need to stop the excuses and the blame game and take a clear look at what you are or are not doing and why. No one is going to hold your hand through life and do everything for you. No, you are the only person who can make things happen. You are the only person who can create the life that you want.
2. Let go of the things you can’t control: In life there are things that we can control and things that we can’t. The hard part is to know the difference what you can and what you can’t. We can’t control others no matter how hard we try. There are many situations that we can’t control either. We especially can’t control what is in the past. Instead focus yourself on the things that you can change, because through that you can create a better life.
3. Take care of yourself: Take care of yourself not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. Don’t turn yourself into a martyr. Giving of yourself is something that we all should do, but there comes a point when you have to stop and take some time for yourself. I realize that we all have busy lives, but how productive are you when you run yourself into the ground? When you understand yourself worth and truly begin to listen to your body and take care of yourself and give it what it needs. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to treat yourself. You deserve to take some time to do the things you want to do.
4. Take inventory: Take inventory of your life. Where do you want to be? Where are you now? What do you want? What are your goals? Where do you need to make changes? Sit down and really think about your life. Figure out where you want to make changes, what you are happy with, what you want to do, and what you do well. Start to picture your life as what you want it to look like and refer to that vision often.
5. Allow yourself some slack: No one is perfect. Shit happens that we could never foresee (refer to step #2). Don’t spend your time wallowing in the things that went wrong. It is in the past. Instead learn from your failures and move on. There are enough people in this world who love to point out others mistakes and rub it in their face. Don’t allow yourself to do that to yourself. Cut yourself some slack.
6. Find support: What keeps you going? Bring positive people into your life. People who will be honest with you, but also cheer you on. When you are trying to make positive changes in your life it is important to surround yourself with supportive people and not those negative naysayers who like to keep you down with them. Misery loves company, so let them find it somewhere else.
7. Believe that you can overcome your shortcomings: Don’t let your weakness be the first thing that others see. Actually don’t show it at all. We all have something that we don’t like about ourself or wish we could do better. You can change what you don’t like you just need to believe that you can.
8. Clean house: When you took the inventory of your life you should have identified everything that is wrong. Maybe it is bad habits, a negative situation, or people. This step is about getting rid of all the negativity around you. Let go of the negative thoughts and all of that bad energy around you.
Take a look at your life and ask when the best times were. Did they happen when you believed in yourself and were surrounded by support or when you were full of loathing and surrounded by naysayers? Try to recreate the situations that surrounded those happy moments.
9. Make amends: Whether it with your past, people, or things that are/have happened in your life find away to make amends with it. It can be hard to close the door on the demons in your life but until you are able to dive into the root of your issues and face them head on true peace in your life. That doesn’t mean that you have to confront everyone that has done you wrong and tell them off or get them to see it from your point of view. That may be unrealistic. Spend time with your demons. Try to understand them and find a way that works for you to separate from them. You are more than what has happened to you in your life.
10. Admit when you are wrong: It’s hard to do admitting when you are wrong can actually feel good. It is humbling, but helps to settle hard feelings before they get worse. It is healing and is one way to help but the past in the past and move on.
11. Know what is important: We are overrun with things in our life. Commercials tell us what we need. Ads tell us what we should look like. Other people tell us what we want. Step back and look at what is really important in life. What makes you happy. Is it friends, family, a career path, or hobbies? The rest is the unimportant things in life. Don’t let those things take center stage.
12. Have an awakening: The key to your happiness is believing in yourself. It is believing that you can do what you dream. It is finding happiness where you are at and not in what you wish you had.
If you could put together a 12 step program what would it be for?