When I started my own coaching journey I was asked what was on my bucket list and I was almost surprised to realise that I actually didn’t have a clue about what really filled me with happiness. I was quite good at saying what I thought I should say, but my excellent coach saw straight through that and challenged me to say what I really wanted. The truth was I didn’t know.
I had spent my life putting other people first and doing what needed to be done. Because of my issues with my own body image and self-confidence I was also great at doing everything I could to be invisible. I was Sophie’s mum a lot of time (which I loved), I was who I thought I should be at work taking on as much work as I could so I felt useful, and I was a wife. I was very rarely Mandy.
When it came to working out what I wanted I didn’t know where to start. My first list was full of things to do for my daughter or for others. Quite rightly my coach wasn’t having any of it and challenged me to work on what I really wanted.
Find your happiness
I had to take time to look at my own values and understand what fulfilled me. I thought back to happy memories and spent time processing what had made them happy. I started small with some physical activities that I wanted to try – not because I felt I should but because I wanted to.
I started small with learning to Nordic walk and got braver and braver to include ice skating, trampolining, cross-country skiing and the fastest zip wire in the UK. I learned that some things I loved, and some things are absolutely not for me and that is ok. I definitely stepped outside my comfort zone and sometimes that led me to discover what I loved and sometimes I found my boundaries. Each time I tried something I got more and confident and found it easier to say what I wanted.
I went from struggling to write anything on my bucket list to having a very long list! I have challenged myself socially as well as physically and have learned that many of the stories I had previously told myself about what I liked just weren’t true. Most importantly of all, I found my life purpose and have now changed my career so that I am fulfilled and happy.
Build your bucket list
If you are struggling to work out what you want then I have the following suggestions:-
1 – Start small and think of one social and one physical activity that you have previously enjoyed. Do them again and, whilst you are doing them, think of one more of each type of activity you can add to the list.
2 – Think of activities that you enjoyed as a child. When we are young we are so much better at having fun and spending some time with you own inner child can be a great place to be.
3 – If you really can’t think of what you want – think of what you don’t want. We all tend to be much better at that! Then go down the list and say what you want instead e.g. if you don’t want to go to a night club then where would you rather go? A concert or a restaurant with friends?
Build new happy memories
Once you have your list then the next step is to start building some of the activities into your day to day life. Even if it is in very small doses at first. The most important step of the process is to notice and appreciate the time you are spending on the things you want to do. We are all very good at focusing all of our energy on negative things and on the stressful areas of life and letting the happy times pass us by.
One way to do this is to have a jar of happy memories. I started writing any happy times on a post-it note and putting them in the jar. If I was feeling down I would read them and remind myself there were lots of happy times not just sad ones. I didn’t actually need to do it for long as I soon felt better but I still keep it next to my bed to remind me of how important it is to focus on my happiness.
So my challenge to you is to get your list started of what you want and start doing it. You deserve to be happy.
I’d love to hear about your bucket list – please either share in the comments or contact me via here.