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C R E AT E Y O U R

Inspiring LIFE PLAN

A step by step guide to your dream lifestyle.

Gillian McCulloch


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Contents

Cover............................................................................................................... Contents.......................................................................................................... Introduction - What are you doing with your life?........................................... Goals & what exactly do you want?............................................................... Visualise your success.................................................................................... People who influence you.............................................................................. Strengths & skills............................................................................................ Mistakes & what to do when you fail.............................................................. Self-Belief........................................................................................................ Create a simple clear plan............................................................................. Success journal.............................................................................................. Overcoming disappointment........................................................................... It’s never too late............................................................................................ Choose to be happy........................................................................................ Take action...................................................................................................... Conclusion...................................................................................................... Resources - Worksheets for printing............................................................... And finally... Congratulations..........................................................................

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Introduction Have you ever had that horrible feeling that life is passing you by? Have you ever wondered “Where did last month go?” or even worse “Where did last year go?” Do you ask yourself...

What am I doing with my life? Then something needs to change. You know you are ready to make a fresh start. The problem is that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Do you know what you really want out of life? Do you know what inspires and excites you? If you don’t know where to start, then you need a plan!

What exactly is this Inspiring Life Plan? Living your ideal life begins with understanding yourself, what’s happened in your life so far, what you are good at and how you react when things go wrong. Once you really understand yourself you can use what you’ve learned to form a simple plan for your future so you know what you’re aiming for and which step to take next.

Welcome to your Inspiring Life Plan. It’s important that you truly believe that you deserve the success you’re aiming for. I’ll also explain strategies for coping with really tough times and show you that every problem has solutions. This plan will help you to simplify things so you can get the most out of your life. Today we are overloaded with all sorts of conflicting information and time wasting stuff. It can be difficult to work out what you really want and what to do first. There is so much written about what you should do to get the life you want that it’s hard to get to the NITTY GRITTY and find out exactly what’s necessary. But really, for success in life or in business there are only three things that you need to do.

1) Decide WHAT you want. 2) Believe you can do it. 3) Take action!

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How to start changing things & get the life you really want. Do you want to start a business that fits in with your family life? Would you like to earn more money? Have you always wanted to write a best selling novel? Would you like a house in the country? Would you like to be healthier or happier?

No matter what your dream, however large or small it is, it will remain a dream unless you do something about it. When you are ready to move forward in your life you may feel that there is simply too much to do, there are so many things you’d like to change that you don’t know where to start.

Together you can pick up much bigger stones and extend your barrier even further until eventually you divert the stream to a new route downhill.

This is exactly what happens in life. You take random action (throwing pebbles) without really thinking and there are ripples but nothing really changes. Once you have a plan you can take specific action to start building success (carefully placing the pebbles) and then you can ask people to help you. (building with the big stones) That’s when the magic really happens.

Imagine this scene: You are 10 years old and playing outside with your friends. You find a shallow stream and paddle in it. You pick up a smooth pebble and throw it into the water, there’s a splash followed by a ring of ripples. You throw a few more pebbles into the water and the same thing happens, there are ripples and the pebbles sink below the surface. Then you notice that the pebbles have formed a tiny barrier and the water has to flow around them. You carefully place more pebbles in the same spot and before long you have forced the water to meander around your barrier. Excited now you call your friends over to help.

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The Results to Expect This Life Plan will help you get the life you have always wanted. It will show you how to:

• Clarify where you are right now, what’s working and what’s not. • Decide what you really want from your life. • Set goals that stretch and excite you. • Take action to achieve your goals.

What you need to do to get results You may already know some of this but it is really important that you don’t skip any stages. In order to change your life you need to know about yourself, your mistakes and your goals. It’s a step by step system with each section building on the one before. To get the best results just work through the plan systematically completing each assignment as you go. Each assignment will take you approximately 30 minutes.

How to use this guide... My recommendation is to read through the whole book first of all. Don’t take any action yet but allow the possibilities to sink in. It’s likely that you will get very excited about your future and that’s really brilliant, but try to see the whole picture first so that you understand what you’ll need to do to move forward. Once you have read each page, start at the beginning and take each assignment step by step. * To keep things streamlined I suggest that you use an A4 lined notebook for everything in this life plan.* A study book divided into several sections with a document pocket at the back is ideal. Complete your assignments in your notebook, record new ideas and thoughts as you go along and stick in completed templates. Keep everything you need in once place to save time.

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Let’s Get Started! If you don’t already have a plan for your life, please don’t be hard on yourself. The fact is that most people don’t have a plan and life happens anyway. Although your life won’t stop if you don’t have a plan, you may find that you are living your life to suit other peoples’ priorities instead of your own. Eventually you may end up disillusioned with your life and wonder what went wrong. Successful people plan their life and their business – I’ll show you how.

Please pay attention to this, it’s important. *If you make a plan then take action EVERY DAY to achieve your goals then you will change your life*

This is Your Life so this is Your Plan Your Inspiring Life Plan is a confidential document. Please keep it to yourself. There is no need to censor your thoughts or limit your goals to suit other people. Are you are ready to make some changes in your life? Right….. Let’s get started.

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Goals Three Easy Ways to Set Goals Why is it necessary to set goals? Your goals give you energy and purpose in life. They define who you are right now and who you want to be in the future. If you don’t have your own goals then the simple truth is that you are probably living your life to suit someone else’s goals. You may have ideas floating around in your head about what you want in your life. Writing them down so you can actually see them in black and white will help you to clarify your thoughts.

Inspiring Assignment: Create a Wish List. Use the Inspiring Wish List worksheet on page 25 or divide a lined A4 page in your notebook into 3 columns with the headings I want to BE, I want to HAVE and I want to DO. Make lists of goals you wish to achieve in your life. Keep going until you have completely filled the page. You should aim for a list of around 100 wishes.

What exactly do you want? Don’t worry about what you’re wishing for or wonder about how you’ll achieve your goals. Include material things you’d like to own, new things you’d like to learn, work you would like to do, places you’d love to visit, ways you would like to behave, relationships you’d like to have and all aspects of the life you would love to lead. This first goals exercise is an easy way to begin thinking about what you really want in your life. Material items such as a new car or a bigger house are often the first items on any Wish List. When you’ve spent a few minutes listing all the things you’d like to own, you’ll find yourself progressing to more profound wishes which express your values. You may find yourself saying things like “I want to express myself creatively” “I want to work at home” or “I want more fun and laughter.” TIP You’re starting to itemise what’s important to you, so ask yourself why these things matter and you’ll discover exactly what it is that drives you. For example: You might want to run a business from home so you can be the one who picks your children up from school every day. You want to start a business but being available for your family is what matters most to you.

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Inspiring Assignment: This Is Your Life List Use the worksheet on page 26 to draw up a list to help you to focus on what matters most to you. It will help you pinpoint where you are now, what’s right in your life and what’s not working. Your Life List is made up of everything in your life, the people you love, the things you do and the subjects you think about. Rate your current happiness score for each on a scale of 1 to 10. Use these headings or choose your own. It’s your life!

People

Partner, Love, Relationship Family, Friends and Social Relationships

Take a moment to reflect on your Life List. Ask yorself a few questions. Have you focused too much on one area of your life? Is there something missing? Are you secure and content? Does your life feel balanced or have you negleted something? Are you moving forward or stuck in a rut? Are you at peace or stressed? There will be some areas of your life which need attention. Next make two lists: • Things to start doing to regain balance • Things to stop, reprioritize or delegate

Public

Community & Charity Generosity & Spirituality Inspiring Others

Work & Rewards

Career, Business or Work Money & Finance

Personal

Skills & Talents Health & Fitness Growth & Learning Mindset & Self Belief

Home & Free Time

Home & Environment Fun, Hobbies & Interests Day Trips, Weekends & Holidays

Inspiring Assignment: Set Specific Goals Now you know what’s important to you and what you’d like to spend more time on, it’s time to set specific goals for each area of your life. When you’re ready for change it’s tempting to rush in and try to tackle everything at once. This is a mistake. For best results focus on one thing until completion.

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Inspiring Assignment: Choose one goal from each area of your life to concentrate on. Create a separate page for each goal in your A4 book or use the Inspiring Goal worksheet on page 27.

Take action every day to achieve your goals… then you will change your life.

How to set goals:

If you find it difficult to allocate a big chunk of time to achieving your goal please don’t give up.

Write your goal clearly and concisely whilst being as specific as possible. Make sure that it is something that you or anyone else can measure. State exactly what you want to achieve and set yourself a deadline to accomplish your goal. For example: Instead of saying I would like to take better photographs, say I will learn to use my new camera to take a series of 12 photos of my family by 30th November. Next write down steps you can take which will help you to accomplish that goal. What’s the first step you’ll need to take?

Things you can do to speed up the process:

Once you have made a list of tasks to do you’ll see that some of them will only take 5 or 10 minutes. Phone calls in particular can be very quick and could yield great results for you. If you can only take one small step each day, eventually you will get there. TIP If you have chosen a really big goal requiring several steps to accomplish then allow yourself plenty of time. Unfamiliar tasks may take longer than you expect and you may need to learn new skills first. If you are not sure how long it will take, ask someone who has already done it.

• Visualise your goals twice each day to get excited about them. • Get support from a group or friend or coach. • Review your goals weekly, monthly and annually.

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Visualise your Success One of the best ways to get started with achieving your goals is to visualise them.

To change your life you must immerse yourself in your goals daily.

A goal comes alive if you can imagine exactly what it will be like when you have achieved it. This seems strange at first but you’ll soon get the hang of it. Involve all your senses, the scent of the new leather in your sports car, the wind blowing through your hair, the clunk of the door, the click of your seat belt and the view of the ocean as you drive along the coast road.

Stare intently at your image for at least two minutes and soak up all the detail of the scene. Use all your senses to imagine yourself there. The more you look at your image and imagine yourself in the picture, the more emotionally you will connect with it and the more real your goal will become.

Inspiring Assignment: Choose one goal from each area and find an image to match. Select a goal that is most important to you right now and find an image to help your goal come alive. For example, if your goal is to move to the country, then find a good quality image of the sort of house you would like to own. Choose a picture with plenty of detail that tells a story of how your life could be. Imagine what it’s like to own that house. All your senses need to be involved in this process so that your goal becomes real.

Create a story around your image. As you enter the garden the scent of roses tells you you’re home. You hear birds singing and you see butterflies sipping nectar from the beautiful flowers. You can hear children laughing as they play in the sun and six red hens cluck contentedly. You pick a ripe strawberry and bite into it. It’s delicious. As you open the door the wonderful warm welcoming feeling continues, there’s coffee brewing, a freshly baked cake on the smooth wooden table and someone lovely to hug you…… Get the picture?

What’s the difference between goals and fantasy?

We have all seen people who can’t sing audition on TV and be completely crushed by their assessment. Their goal to win a national talent show is pure fantasy. A more realistic goal for them right now would be to take singing lessons and learn to sing in tune.

Are your goals realistic and achievable?

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Please don’t delude yourself. Change is a step by step process. Choose your goals carefully. They should challenge you but not be so huge that they are unachievable or overwhelming. If your goal is to move to the country, then choose an image which is a step up from where you are now, perhaps a cottage with a nice garden rather than a stately home with rolling acres.

Visualisation Influences Your Day During the London Olympics 2012, athletes spoke about visualising their goals and how activating their senses and emotions affected them, supplying a boost of energy. The more they visualised, the more powerful their emotions became, the greater the boost and the better they performed. It’s a technique we can all use to improve our performance. Look at your goal images every day. First thing in the morning to remind you what’s important and last thing at night to help your subconscious mind focus on positive things whist you sleep. TIP Visualising your goals every day makes them seem much more real and vibrant and will give you the motivation and enthusiasm to complete the tasks that will transform your life.

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People who Influence You Visualise the sort of person you’d like to be. When you’re setting goals it’s quite easy to find appropriate images for material goals and places you would like to visit. It can be much more difficult to find the right picture to represent how you are going to BE, the sort of person you would like to become, how you would like to feel, the emotions you will have and the way you plan to behave.

Surround Yourself with Successful People When you’re making changes it really helps to have support and encouragement. If you already know people with a positive approach to life who you can ask for advice, that’s great. But what if your close friends or colleagues are Moaning Minnies? Did you know that you become like the people you spend the most time with?

If you’re determined to be successful then you’ll need to mix with successful people. I am not suggesting that you turn away from the people already in your life, but you will need to find ways to prevent their negativity dragging you down. It’s well worth making the effort to surround yourself with positive, happy people who get things done and can solve problems. Choose people who have already done what you want to do. Seek them out. If you’d love to be a photographer, hang out with great photographers. If you want a long and happy marriage, socialise with people who are happily married. If you’d like to

speak Italian, find people who speak Italian. If you’ve always wanted to write then join your local writers group. Easy!

What if your goal is really BIG or unusual? One way to overcome this is to find an image of a person who has some of the qualities you really admire. For instance, if you have always wanted to start a business choose a successful business person you admire. Find someone who is focussed and driven and so determined to succeed that they overcame difficult circumstances and found time to establish a new business and find customers.

Inspiring Assignment: Find a Role Model Try modelling yourself on someone very successful who you don’t know but you admire from a distance. Find out their story. How did they achieve success? What challenges and obstacles did they overcome? Imagine what they would do in your situation.

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Strength & Skills Throughout life, our parents, teachers and employers will helpfully point out our weaknesses and suggest areas for improvement. The problem with this is that no matter how hard you try, it’s almost impossible to become great at the things you struggle with. No one can be good at everything, so there are bound to be some things that you just can’t do. Focusing on your LACK of talent or skill in a particular area is not helpful. In fact it’s a waste of time and energy.

The best way to get ahead in your life is to focus on developing your strengths. What are your strengths and skills? This is one of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself. Once you know what you are really good at, you can make sure that you focus on those areas. Your strengths are valuable resources you can draw on whenever you need them.

Inspiring Assignment: Discover Your Personal Skills There are many things that you can do but what do you do really well? What are your unique qualities? Use this exercise to find out what you excel at. Complete the worksheet on page 29 or divide a lined A4 page into 2 columns with the headings Accomplishments and Skills. List all your accomplishments and achievements in the first column then list the skills and knowledge you used to achieve them in the second column. Keep going until you have completely filled the page. Amazing isn’t it?

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Mistakes Weaknesses If your life isn’t running smoothly and you find yourself in the same situation over and over again then you must be doing something wrong. There’s no one else to blame for your behaviour. Repeated patterns indicate a weakness you are not aware of. It’s hard to figure it out yourself, so you will need a kind friend to help you with this one. Choose carefully because it can be extremely difficult for people to tell you where you’re going wrong. Don’t shy away from doing this because once you find your weakness you can stop it once and for all.

Failures & Mistakes

What to do when you fail Write down what happened then list 10 things that you learned from this experience and 5 things you would do differently next time. Give yourself a day or two to reflect, thank everyone concerned for their feedback, then apologise and put things right if possible. In situations of severe failure where criticism is heaped on you it’s important to spend time with your loving family, friends and colleagues who will remind you of your true worth. Learn from your experience then move on swiftly. Do not dwell on your failures. Going over and over what went wrong is not productive and can actually stop you moving on. Everyone who tries new things makes mistakes... That’s life!

When things go wrong and you fail it’s important to take time to think about the decisions you made that led to that failure. Keep in mind that you did the best you could at the time and what’s more you survived! Treat all the mistakes you make as an opportunity to learn new things, a new skill to help you in future, what to avoid next time or an insight about yourself. You made a bad decision, failure does not make you a bad person.

Inspiring Assignment: Remind yourself of all your successes.

Inspiring Assignment: Start a Learning Journal

When you’ve spent some time thinking about your weaknesses or mistakes then you must return to a more positive frame of mind by thinking about all the things you do well. In the back of your Life Plan Book keep a folder full of thank you cards, glowing reviews, testimonials, and good wishes from your supporters to remind you of your success. Lots of people think you’re great!

Choose one situation that didn’t go as well as you expected.

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Self-Belief Success is 90% about believing in yourself. If you think you can do something, then you can. Self awareness is the first step. You already know what your Strengths and Skills are. But what’s going on in your mind? What are you telling yourself? What do you believe?

What’s your life like now? The way you act and conduct your life is a direct reflection of what you’re thinking and the way you see yourself. You can either carry on exactly as you are, doubting yourself and your abilities or you can make some changes. Changing what you think and do will have a major impact on your life. Are you doing what makes you happy?

Successful people do what they love and follow their passions Doing a job you absolutely love is never hard work. You don’t have to motivate yourself or force yourself. You persevere because you really want to, not because you have to.

Inspiring Assignment: What are you passionate about? Complete the worksheet on page 31 or write a list of all the pursuits you really enjoy and things you feel passionate

about. What is it about that particular passion that really appeals to you? Understanding why you like those things will reveal what really drives you. If you want to be really happy and successful then build your life around your passions… Simple!

The most important factor in your success is Self-Belief. This is what will drive you forwards. It’s a powerful feeling deep inside you, an inner conviction which makes you take action. It’s visible to others. If you ever meet someone who totally believes in themselves you will see the light shining in their eyes. Some people are born with it and others have it instilled in them by their parents or teachers. But what if you don’t have it?

If you don’t have it already, you can develop Self Belief with practice. To create the life you want for yourself you have to believe that you can make it happen. It’s much easier if you already have the knowledge and skills you need. If not, then you can learn anything you set your mind to with training, coaching and practice. Once you start to feel confident about what you CAN DO your self belief will grow. 15


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Inspiring Assignment: Imagine Your Ideal Life Look ahead three years. Imagine what would it be like if your life was exactly as you wanted it to be? How would your career, finances, relationships and health change? Write down what you see as your ideal future. How much time, effort and skill will be required to get your ideal life? Use the worksheet on page 35 to start thinking about your Inspiring Life Goal. What’s your BIG DREAM?

List 5 steps you will take to get there. List 5 specific actions to take for each step. Each step is achievable. Tick them off one by one to reach your ideal future. You know you can do it! Successful people do what they love and follow their passions Doing a job you absolutely love is never hard work. You don’t have to motivate yourself or force yourself. You persevere because you really want to, not because you have to.

The Big Freeze of Self Doubt

the spot. You may experience self doubt and think you are not good enough. You may feel concerned about what other people think of you. You may feel afraid of failure or even of success and simply want things to remain as they are. If only you had more support and encouragement, more time, or even better someone to rescue you! When this happens it’s tempting to look at your life and blame other people or past events for how you feel, but that’s not the reason things have ground to a halt. You are stopping yourself.

Your mind is trying to protect you from something it hasn’t experienced before. This inner voice will stop most people in their tracks. You can’t let this voice prevent you forging ahead with your plans. Just tell it “Thanks for the warning but I’m doing it anyway.” This happens to everyone whenever they have a new project, even very successful people. It’s perfectly normal to feel like this. Recognise what’s happening and take action anyway. TIP Remember that whatever you achieve in the next few years will be a direct result of what you believe about yourself and what you do now. If you don’t like what’s happening you have the power to learn new skills and change your thoughts and behaviour.

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Create a Simple Clear Plan Create a one page plan showing your major life goal and current priorities. This is an easy way to check over your goals to make sure that you are giving each area of your life the necessary time and attention. It’s tempting to focus on subjects that are causing problems for you such as work or business or making money but this is a big mistake. Yes, investing in your career is necessary but you deserve time off too!

Your one page plan should cover your entire life, including family, friends and fun. The people in your life make life worth living. A quick glance at your well balanced plan every morning will remind you of that. Don’t forget that a strong network of people who really care about you is a wonderful asset whether your life is running smoothly or not. It’s important not to overwhelm yourself with all the changes you want to make because having too much to do can be paralysing. To start with, try picking out a couple of things that will be straightforward to accomplish and go for the easy win. Once you are into your stride and feeling more confident about achieving your goals then set yourself bigger challenges.

Inspiring Life Plan: Complete the Inspiring One Page Life Plan worksheet. Draw up a simple one page plan using the Inspiring Life Plan on page 36. You can see at a glance what your priorities are in each area of your life. Write a short statement describing your INSPIRING LIFE GOAL at the top of the page. Fill in each box with one life area and the goal you are currently working on. Make sure you include every aspect of your life and don’t forget – ONE GOAL per AREA. Look at this page each morning and evening to remind yourself what’s important to you. Review at the end of the week, remove completed goals and add new challenges.

TIP A big barrier to achieving your goals is not taking action.

It’s often a time management issue. Unexpected events happen daily and they will drag your attention away from your priorities if you let them. Check that you are allocating your time correctly. Have you neglected anything or allowed yourself to be sidetracked?

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Success Journal To build confidence and motivate yourself keep a Success Journal. It can be difficult to keep the momentum going when you are working towards your goals. It may seem like an uphill struggle when you are working really hard but the end is still far from sight. You need to motivate and encourage yourself.

Think about all the things you can easily do now that once seemed impossible. As a child you learned to walk, talk, read and write, ride a bike or swim. Do you remember the sense of achievement you felt when you managed to ride your bike without help or reach the other side of the pool by yourself?

Success is a huge confidence booster and will inspire you to carry on achieving your goals. It’s easy to take everyday successes for granted so it’s useful to record and acknowledge your achievements, no matter how insignificant they may seem. It could simply be that you have finally organised your filing cabinet or you may have learned a new skill or taken the first step to achieving one of you goals.

Inspiring Assignment: Start a Success Journal Start a new section in your Life Plan or choose a new notebook and keep it by your bed. Last thing at night record the success you had that day. Record things you are grateful for – people, resources and skills. Stick in letters and thank you cards, notes and drawings from your family, favourable comments, reviews and even press cuttings. When you have taken one step towards a goal then record it. When have finally achieved one of your goals dedicate a whole page to it. Aim to make a list of at least 3 small successes each day.

Start this today! It will be a major contribution towards your success. Writing your Success Journal last thing at night gives you the chance to review the full day and helps you to sleep feeling positive so you wake up feeling great. If something is not going well, you can use your Success Journal as a motivational resource. Read through your notebook to remind yourself how much people think of you

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Overcoming Disappointment Recognise that some things in life are completely out of your control. No matter how successful or positive you are, sooner or later tragedy and disappointment are inevitable. Bad things happen to good people. Disasters such as floods, fires or earthquakes occur and people will die, hurt you or let you down. Often these disasters have devastating consequences and there are no instant solutions. But there are solutions, in fact everything except death can be resolved. We all know people who are forever going over and over a devastating event in their lives. They think about it all the time and talk about it to anyone who will listen. Focusing on the tragedy does not help them recover, in fact it keeps them firmly trapped in the past. They just haven’t learned to deal with the situation.

What can you do to get over the shock?

Once you are over the initial shock and inevitable emotional reaction, get on with living your life. Yes I know, that’s much easier said than done, but keeping the same thoughts flooding through your mind over and over again prolongs the emotional agony. I have personally experienced the effects of a devastating fire which took a long time to get over. It does help to write your thoughts down, answering your own questions as you go, then you will come to a logical conclusion which will help you to stop thinking about it.

Inspiring Assignment: Cultivate habits to deal with tough times. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to establish habits to help you when times are tough. Take steps now to find a supportive group to belong to and absorbing interests to learn about. 1) Get involved with people at work, with family or friends or your local community. If you can help and encourage other people, you’ll see what happens to them and how they cope with disappointment in their lives. They will be there for you when you need support. 2) Actively pursue a hobby or interest that you are passionate about. Join a club, learn new skills and become an active member of the wider community. Throwing yourself into something you love doing helps to take your mind off your pressing problem and will help you recover much sooner.

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It’s never too late Are you ready for change but feel like you’ve missed the boat? It is easy to feel that you’ve left it too late and to wish you’d done things differently. We have all thought that at one time or another. Have you ever wondered about doing things differently?

• I wish I’d made the most of my education. • I always wanted to run my own business but never got around to it. • I wish I’d changed jobs sooner. • I wanted to travel around the world but never did. • I have a story to tell and promised myself that I would write it. • I’ve always wanted to learn how to paint but never had the time. • I didn’t make the most of my talent. • I always wondered if I could be a success...

Fast forward to the end of your life. Imagine yourself on your deathbed with your family around you. You’ve lived a long life and you know it’s time to go, but how will you feel? A. Satisfied that you’d made the most of your life. B. Full of regret because there are things you didn’t do?

The good news is: 1. You’re not dead yet! 2. You can make a few changes now and start living the life you really want. 3. There’s still plenty of time.

Facts and Figures 2012 According to government figures, UK life expectancy has increased so that people aged 65 today can expect to live to be 89. If you were born in the 1960’s and 1970’s it’s quite likely that you’ll live until you are 90. No wonder there’s a pension crisis!

TIP If you think that your life has passed you by and you

didn’t make the most of it then think again. If you are in your 40’s or 50’s today then you may be encouraged to know that most people achieve things and make their money during their 50’s. There’s plenty of time for you to make a few changes, then you’ve got another 40 years or so to live the life you really want.

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Choose to be happy There is only one person with control over what happens to you. Yes that’s right, it’s you!

Every day you make hundreds of decisions that affect your life. You choose what you eat and drink, the programmes you watch on TV, what you read, who you listen to, the work you do, what to spend your money on, the company you keep and the interests you have. You choose what you do and what you think. You cause things to happen by the actions you take and if you choose to do nothing then your inaction will also cause things to happen. You make the decisions all day, every day.

EVERYTHING you experience in life is a result of these everyday choices that you make. You can’t blame anyone else because you made the choice. So why can’t you choose to be happy? Well, the amazing thing is that you can!

unwind. But if you spend EVERY evening like this instead of walking your dog and writing your book then in just a few months you’ll be a couple of stones heavier which could affect your health for the rest of your life and what’s more you’ll have a fat dog! Alternatively you could take your dog for a walk and use your mobile phone to record ideas for your book as voice notes. As soon as you return home you can get cracking with typing the next couple of chapters. If you write a few thousand words each week you’ll have a complete book in just a few months.

Exactly the same choice applies to your happiness levels.

You can decide whether to wallow in misery and replay your mistakes and disasters over and over again in your mind or you can just STOP IT and move on to something more positive.

Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy or choose to be unhappy. You decide.

Imagine the scene: You have had a difficult day at work

and decide that you can’t be bothered to walk your dog or start writing your new book. You decide to spend your evening sitting on the sofa, eating crisps, drinking wine and watching TV. Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that once in a while, we all do it and it can be a great way to 21


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Stress is necessary for growth and for us to perform well No star in any industry performs without mental, physical and emotional stress. In fact many performing artists, actors and sports people welcome the stress they feel. They know that it adds power to their performance. They also know that periods of recovery are essential as accumulated stress can cause health problems.

Just make the right choice and you’ll feel happier. This sound so easy but if you feel stressed it can be really difficult to snap out of negative thoughts and take positive action. Support from your family and friends will help, but what happens when there’s no one around to encourage you? Then it’s a matter of changing your thoughts and behaviour.

Quick ways to improve your mood and increase your happiness levels. Do something physical: Activity helps to improve your mood and occupies your thoughts so clean a room, clean the windows, sweep the path, dig over a patch of garden or go for a run.

Listen to the radio: Listen to your favourite music, fun songs, Christmas carols or silly songs that make you sing along. Listen to a comedy show. Force yourself to smile and laugh.

Change your thinking: Give yourself a good talking

to. Record a message when you feel happy and play it back when necessary. Challenge your repeated negative thoughts.

Go for a walk: Just 20 minutes usually does the trick.

Make sure you look at the sky, the rooftops, the chimneys and the birds – something about looking up makes you feel happier.

Do something that really interests you: Spend half an hour doing something you love, get really absorbed in your hobby, learn something new and you’ll feel your mood lift.

Inspiring Assignment: Make a Joy Book Don’t wait for bad times to strike, prepare your Joy Book now, make an album of happy songs to sing along with and record a positive message to yourself. Make a list of what you can do to make yourself feel happier today, then take action.

Remember happy times: Create a Joy Book with photos

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Take Action Now that you know what you want, all you need to do is take the right steps to achieve it. It’s tempting to believe that everything you want in life will be handed to you on a plate if you have a positive attitude. Whist it’s true that being positive is essential, the reality is that first of all you have to decide what you want; next you have to believe you deserve it and then you have to take action to achieve it. Nothing will happen unless you DO SOMETHING!

Successful people take action. It’s easy to get stuck at the planning stage and some people never really get going with their goals because they are waiting for the perfect time to launch. Just get started, it doesn’t matter if things are not 100% perfect, feedback will tell you what you need to change and you’ll learn so much more by actually doing it rather than thinking about how it could be.

TIP When you feel the change you can move forward with your

plans. Have a look at your goals list. What’s next on your list? Choose a simple, easy to achieve goal to boost your confidence. Don’t forget to record your achievement and exactly what you did to lift your mood in your success journal.

to accomplish. Goal: Write out your goal, clearly stating exactly what you want to do. Self Belief: What will help you achieve this goal? Obstacles: What can stop you achieving this goal? Self Image: What will you gain by adjusting your self image to this goal? Action: List all the steps it will take to accomplish your goal. TIP Time management is an important skill that is often

overlooked and it’s so easy to be dragged off course by pressing events. To make sure that you actually spend time on achieving your important goals, allocate the first hour of each day to taking the next steps on your Action Plan.

Inspiring Assignment: Choose one goal you’d like

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Conclusion You are responsible for creating everything in your life, and you know that if you focus on your Inspiring Life Plan and take action every day then you will change your life for the better. Here are some techniques you can use to improve your chances of success:

Recruit an accountability partner Make sure you actually implement your plans by choosing a close friend to discuss your progress with. Then you can help them in the same way. Alternatively find a coach or trainer to encourage and support you. The strange thing is that whether your goal is huge or easier to achieve, once you make a firm decision and start taking action, events and circumstances will align to create brilliant opportunities for you.

Treat your Inspiring Life Plan as work in progress It’s a document to be read often, then revised and tweaked as necessary to suit your progress and changing circumstances. I find that setting a Weekly Action Plan works really well for me. It gives me flexibility to add and change things and helps me to keep the big picture in mind. I also prefer short deadlines for projects so I try to arrange for things to be completed in 5 weeks or less. If you’re launching a big project and you can only accomplish one small task each day then in 5 weeks you will have taken at least 25 steps towards your goal.

Review your Inspiring Life Plan each week to remind you exactly what you are aiming for Ask yourself “What’s most important to me this week?” then align your goals with your life. The key to implementation is visibility so don’t hide it away. Record what worked well and what still needs action. Ask yourself “What’s the next step”

Revise your life plan monthly and quarterly

Plans are useful if they are relevant to your situation right now. Circumstances change so your action plans must also change. At the end of each month and each quarter, review what you have achieved and ask “Am I on track?”

Plan Next Year Use a year planner to reserve time for your most important priorities. Include every aspect of your life ranging from special family events to work commitments. In December decide what you want to do next year, then start setting goals and making plans.

Make it happen!

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Inspiring Wish List Make a list of goals you want to achieve in your life. Include material goods, places to visit, ways to behave, relationships, work you’d love, and new things to learn. Keep going until you have completely filled the page. *Aim for 100 wishes* For more information on how to get the life you want see www.inspiringescapes.co.uk

I wish I could BE

I wish I could HAVE

I wish I could DO

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This is Your Life List Your Life List is made up of everything in your life, the people you love, the things you do and the subjects you think about. It will help you pinpoint where you are now, what’s right in your life and what’s not working. Rate your current happiness score on a scale of 1 to 10. For more information on how to get the life you want see www.inspiringescapes.co.uk

Life Area

Things to start doing to regain the balance

Score

Life Area

Score

Things to stop, reprioritise or delegate

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Inspiring Goal Goal Deadline to achieve...

What may prevent me achieving this goal?

What adjustments are required to help me achieve this goal?

What will I gain by adjusting my self image to this goal?

What resources will help me to achieve this goal?

Positive statement to support me in achieving this goal.

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Inspiring Goal Goal What seven action steps can I take towards achieving this goal?

1.

5.

2.

6.

3.

7.

4.

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Discover your Personal Skills What are your strengths and skills? What do you do really well? What are your unique qualities? List all your accomplishments and achievements and skills and knowledge. To get ahead in your life focus on developing your strengths. For more information on how to get the life you want see www.inspiringescapes.co.uk

Accomplishments & Achievements

Skills & Knowledge

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Discover your Personal Skills Accomplishments & Achievements

Skills & Knowledge

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Discover your Personal Skills Accomplishments & Achievements

Skills & Knowledge

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Inspiring Pursuits & Passions What are you passionate about? Write a list of all the pursuits you enjoy and things you feel passionate about. What is it that really inspires you? Understanding why you like those things will reveal what really drives you. Realising that you excel at certain things will boost your self belief. If you want to be really happy and successful then build your life around your passions. For more information on how to get the life you want see www.inspiringescapes.co.uk

Pursuits & Passions

Why does it mean so much to me?

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Inspiring Pursuits & Passions Pursuits & Passions

Why does it mean so much to me?

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Inspiring Pursuits & Passions Pursuits & Passions

Why does it mean so much to me?

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Inspiring Life Goal Inspiring Life Goal

For more information on how to get the life you want see www.inspiringescapes.co.uk

Short-term Goal - Year 1

Mid-term Goal - Year 2

Long-term Goal - Year 3

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Inspiring One Page Life Plan Inspiring Life Goal

Partner & Family

Friends

Community & Charity

Inspiring Others

Career

Money

Skills

Health & Fitness

Self Belief

Home

Fun

Holidays

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And Finally... Congratulations! If you have worked your way through this book as suggested in the Introduction then the time you took to understand yourself was well spent. By now you’ll know what’s working in your life and where your problem areas are. You will know what’s really important to you and you’ll have a much clearer idea about what you want to achieve in your life. You have started to set some goals that really inspire and excite you and most importantly you are taking action to get the results you want.

You want to make a few changes in your life so I have done my best to give you everything you need in a straightforward way to help you set goals and take action to get results. You already have the skills and talent required, so all you need to do now is to get started

You are already well on your way to making some changes in your life and you are recording small successes every single day and probably feeling much happier as a result. What’s more you have a simple plan to follow so you know that you are on track.

Wishing you every success with your plans for the future...

Well Done!

I know you can do it and more importantly YOU know that you can do it!

Gillian McCulloch www.inspiringescapes.co.uk

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Inspiring Escapes - Life Plan eBook  

A step by step guide to your dream lifestyle.

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