Getting Started

By Pattie S. Christensen, Director

After a time of crisis, you may find yourself feeling empty, confused or uprooted. That is a terrible feeling but one that can be overcome (or at least lessened) with a few simple steps.

Step One: Discover Who You Are

Take some time to figure out who you are. This may sound strange but you may have been so focused on others that you lost sense of who you are... or maybe you never really knew who you are. Prepare a list of what you like to do. Try to have some broad categories and some specific things. Here are some of the things that I wrote that I like to do: learn new things, teach, fix up things, motivate others, save money, hike, snowshoe. There is no right or wrong here. Just make a list of the things that you enjoy doing. You can then focus on those things to increase your happiness.

Step Two: Things You Want To Do In This Life

This is where you should dream a little. Keep the list small but really express yourself. I listed three things in this category: establish a scholarship for women leaving abusive relationships, write a full length novel and play a "real" song on the piano. Am I anywhere near reaching those goals? No. But they are my big dreams that I work slowly toward.

Step Three: Your Ideal World

Here is where you take some time and think of what YOUR ideal world would be like. Again there is no right or wrong response here. Some people like serentiy; others like excitement. Mine started with "Simple, calm and relaxing with plenty of silliness" and then I moved on to my ideal home, job, family, etc.

Step Four: What You Want To Become

Look at where you are today. Then look at what you want to become to be the ideal you. Take time to look at different categories in your life. Examples of categories are: professional, civic, physical, emotional, spiritual/religious, financial, intellectual, family. Write a few simple sentences about where you would like to be in the category. For instance, in my physical category, I wrote "I want to weigh 120 pounds and to exercise on a regular basis."

Step Five: Start a Plan of Action

Notice the first word of the title "start" ... do not feel the need to have an entire life plan mapped out. Start with some small goals to regain your self confidence. Then move to larger goals that require multiple steps. Keep some flexibility. You may find that your goals and desires change over time. That is okay! You need to be you; you need to feel great about yourself. You need to love you inside and out. With my physical goal, I made a plan to eat more regularly and make sure I ate enough protein. For exercise, my secretary and I attend an exercise class and I snowshoe on the weekend with new friends. I don't view these activities as chores but rather as something fun that I look forward to.

Step Six: Live and Love Life

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