How do you live your best midlife?
Day by day.
Your plans, ambitions and dreams create the framework for a life you want, but it’s the day to day habits - your routines, schedules, boundaries and priorities - that create the experiences of your life.
If your daily behaviour isn’t taking you in the direction you want to go, it’s unlikely you’ll get there any time soon!
Because it’s our daily habits that will either make us or break us. Yet often we barely give them any thought.
Aristotle proclaimed that “We are what we repeatedly do.” Yet often what we repeatedly do is blindly roll out of bed and barrel through the same old routine and habits without ever stopping to question if they still serve us, or are creating the life we actually want to be living - you know, those Big Life Plans we have.
Often when we talk about goals, dreams or the life we want to live, it feels as if that life is somewhere ‘out there’, yet to be experienced, ahead of us, instead of being lived, day to day, now.
We can get so busy being busy, hoping some day we’ll “Arrive” at the life we want, and then put our feet up and sip a Welcome cocktail. But midlife is often the time when we realise that “Arrival” isn’t coming, that we’re already here, and that we need to start living the life we want, today. We can dream all the dreams, plan all the plans, colour code all the goals we want, but if we don’t actively and intentionally live the life we want, day by day, the life we want will always remain that distant dream, plan, or goal.
After a recent webinar I hosted, the most feedback I got was about the issue I discussed of designing your daily habits to ensure you are living the life you want now, not in some far distant time. I’d explained the importance of designing and then implementing your MidLife Musts, the core, non-negotiable elements to every day, that ensure that not only are you getting the best out of each and every day - and therefore ultimately your life - but that your day brings out the best in you.
It struck a chord because how we live is what we become.
It struck a chord because being a human doing is not the same as being a human being.
It struck a chord because it’s all too easy to end up living reactively to the needs of everyone around us, rather than proactively towards a clear design of our own.
When I coach someone, often the most important part is helping them turn the spotlight on themselves, often after a long period where they’ve spent most of their energy shining their light on others.
To really live proactively rather than reactively, you need to turn the spotlight on yourself with curiosity, intention and action.
An example would be my life-long desire to be a writer. All through my 20’s and 30’s I had a dream of publishing a book. Yet the term ‘writer’ is a noun, as if it is a finished product. The only way I could become a writer (noun) was to write (verb) - writing actively, as a daily habit, be that writing blogs, articles, journalling, taking courses, and then yes eventually my book. I’m working on my second book now, but again, it won’t magically appear one day as a noun. It has to be written, word by word, as an intentional actioning verb.
The noun can’t exist without the verb.
The goal is the idea, but the daily habits are the actions that live it.
The first step is not simply adding a list of random actions into your day, overloading an already overloaded To-Do List. The first step is to ask yourself ‘What do I want, and how do I want my life to feel?’
Then it’s about deciding what are the main elements that you need to live that life, elements that keep you alive, alert and connected to you the person, not just all the other roles you play.
It’s about ensuring that your day isn’t just about output but contains sufficient input and nourishing output that enriches your life, not just drains from it.
Life is lived day by day, every habit, every routine, every priority ensuring that that day works for you, or against you.
So when the alarm goes off, it’s not just time to wake up and roll out of bed with no curiosity and intention, but to wake up, fuelled by the actions you’ve designed to live the days… and the life you want.