I do the same thing, every year, before I put up Christmas decorations.
I open the box with the decorations and pull out the stack of last year’s Christmas cards. I brew myself a pot of decaf Hazelnut coffee, turn on the fireplace and Christmas music and sit down and look at each card from last year.
It’s so much fun to see the smiling faces of the families Dan and I do life with. It’s amazing to see how much the kids have grown over the past year. And, it’s always a little sad to read the cards from those that didn’t make it to this Christmas. I save those cards, since they are the last I will ever get from them. Last year at Christmastime, I had my Grandmother Rena and my Uncle Joe. This year, I do not.
It’s a bittersweet tradition sometimes, but mostly it is such a fun way to reconnect with those both near and far away before jumping into one of the busiest times of the year.
I started my Christmas card tradition back in 2005 after my Coach, Michelle, encouraged me to write a Life Plan. I had never heard of a Life Plan before working with her, but as soon as she told me about it, I was all in.
However, after writing it I realized that living it out was going to be harder than putting it down on paper. It seemed too overwhelming and time-consuming, so I really struggled with what I should do.
Michelle reminded me that living out my Life Plan was about progress, not perfection. That mindset gave me the permission I needed to experiment with each account, which led me to create the Christmas card tradition.
You see, before that, decorating the house was cumbersome and boring, but I still wanted to have a well-decorated Christmas atmosphere when people came over. By tying in the emotional connection to the activity, it felt easier to do. It felt fun!
I figured, if making an emotional connection had worked for my Christmas tradition, maybe it would work for other areas of my life where I was struggling with staying consistent. Sure enough, it did. Now when I am unmotivated to make positive changes in a certain account, I remind myself to make that emotional connection between what I want and what I need to do to get it.
I see a lot of that in my coaching as well. The struggle to find the time to create a Life Plan is real — for all of us! But to be honest, I see more clients struggling with living out a Life Plan more than writing one. This usually leads to them avoid the activity entirely, which is where I come in to help as a coach.
For me, making the emotional connection is all about looking at my Life Plan and identifying the gaps between where I am and where I want to be in each account.
Many times, just reviewing my purpose or envisioned future in a particular account is enough to remind me why I want to invest in that area of my life and to motivate me to take action on my commitments.
Other times, I need to seek counsel from a friend, my Coach or someone else who can provide a trusted outside perspective. Still other times, these insights can come to me during meditation or quiet time.
It all comes back to visualizing what life could look like in a perfect world, finding ways to realistically get there and staying focused on why it’s so important to you. As I mentioned, the tedious process of decorating for the holidays has taken on a whole new meaning ever since I realized that it was really about remembering and reconnecting with the people I love.
When I see clients connecting their emotions to their Life Plan, it’s like adding kindling to an already roaring fire. Their plan takes on a whole new meaning and it just blazes up their lives.
It’s been 14 years since I wrote my first Life Plan, and I am still on fire for living life to the fullest. For me, the greatest emotional connection to living a life of purpose came from a tragic accident.
About a year after I created my Life Plan, I was traveling in Italy with Michelle when she was killed in an accident during our Vespa tour through wine country.
Just like that, her story ended unexpectedly.
Because of that experience, I am forever cognizant of how precious our time on Earth is, and I bring that sense of urgency into each Life Plan coaching session I have with my clients.
I don’t know how many days left I have, but I know I want them to be great days, and having a Life Plan helps me more than any other tool out there. If you commit to living yours out, I believe it can help you, too.
If you’re ready to make the most of your days, we’ve created a free guide to walk you through the process of creating a meaningful Life Plan. Click here to learn more and get your Life Plan Guide.