“What do you want right now?” One of my mentors asked me that question this week. I stopped to think about it for a moment. It’s simple question but one that I found hard to answer. Perhaps you’re the same? Ask me what I *need* to do right now and I’ll probably have a list as long as my arm. But what do I want? Yikes, that feels tricky.
Needs Versus Wants
It’s often so much easier to be in the immediacy of “need”. It’s more reactive and it feels urgent and imperative and lots of other busy sounding words. And for much of this past year it’s felt safer to stay in the land of “needs”. When you’re in survival mode, it’s all about what you *need* to do to stay safe and that ends up permeating every part of your life. The survival drive that’s deeply embedded within each of us couldn’t give two hoots about what I want to do or what would make me happier. And for many of us this year we’ve not even be able to do things we might *want* to do anyway so it was much easier to just switch off the wanting.
The Joy-less life
The big problem with getting stuck in needs though is that life becomes very grey. Even things that usually bring us joy become duller, less vibrant. We lose out motivation to create those bright moments. For a while that’s ok but perhaps now it’s time to turn off the struggle switch and get back to making what we want a priority.
But how do you tune into what you want?
So what can you do to jump start your connection to what you want? Here’s a 3 step process I use when I find myself stuck in the *needs* rut so I can start doing the things that make me happy (that I want to do!): 1. The "Needs" Brain Dump Journalling is so powerful and there’s lots of ways you can make it work for you - even if you’re not much of a ‘journaller’. First, write down everything you can think of that feels like it *needs* to get done. From the tiniest task to the biggest project…just get it all down. There’s nothing quite like getting it all out on paper to make you feel lighter and more in control. Sometimes it can also make you feel like maybe there’s less that “needs” to be done than you realised. 2. The "Wants" Wish List Continuing in your journal (or any old piece of paper or notebook), the next step is Wants. Allow yourself to ‘brain dump’ everything you like to do in your life: that could be simple things like a particular meal you like to cook, things you like to do - like swimming or meeting friends for a walk, or something creative or taking a bath. It’s important to just let yourself be free to write whatever comes into your head. Don’t try and qualify as being worthy or interesting enough. Let yourself be free to capture anything and everything. Now if you’re out of practice with getting in touch with what you need, this might be a bit clunky at first. But keep going, once you get your creative juices flowing, you’ll be surprised at how many things you like to do. 3. Tune in to yourself Now is the time to turn inwards. Give yourself a few minutes where you can sit somewhere quiet. It doesn’t need to be anywhere special. It can even be at your desk! Read your list of wants (bonus points if you read them out loud!) Close your eyes and allow yourself to mentally picture the things you’ve written down. Your mind might jump around a bit or get distracted by thinking of things on the other list. That’s ok! If you notice you’ve drifted to the needs list, just gently bring your mind back. Let yourself imagine what it’s like to be, do or have each of the things you’ve written down 4. Write an action list You will find that when you tune in, you’re naturally drawn to certain things on your list. That’s your clues! Now going back to your journal, draw a circle around each of the things that make you feel joyful. If something doesn’t jump out at you, just leave it there for now. Now, from your circled items, what could you do today? Is there something you could even do right now?
Under the Doing
So, how was that process for you? Did it help you lean in to what you want, underneath all the doing? If you found it hard, maybe you’re ready for a Stress and Overwhelm Detox? My 21 Day Programme is for you if you know you need some guidance to build in bite sized moments to your day that nourish you and help you let go of stress. You also get access to the beautiful Be.More Community throughout your 21 Days and a 30 minute 1:1 with me to integrate everything you learn into YOUR life, exactly as it is.
"I was able to reach the stillness within me and find both space and clarity for the first time in ages. It has helped me “shed” a lot of unhelpful thinking patterns". - Be. Student , 21 Day Stress & Overwhelm Detox,
If that sounds juicily like what you want right now, click here and let’s do it together!
Laura @ Be. x
"We are all capable of achieving whatever we want and need." - Paulo Coelho