Are you feeling blah about your work and life? Does the experience of boredom make you unmotivated and unexcited? Are you having a mid-life crisis? You can promote your own personal growth, motivation and career development to overcome this inertia. Here are ideas and tools that will help you explore personal growth, set new goals, choose motivation and get your life and work back on a course that excites, motivates and fills your life with joy. My recent article, Create the Life You Want With a Mid-Career Crisis, sparked a number of reader comments about a mid-life crisis, in general, not just about their careers.
One person, in particular, said “I am bored, bored, bored with everything in my life – my friends, my job, my family and how I spend my time. I don’t feel any excitement and I’m not looking forward to anything in particular.” These thoughts are for you. You can make this a searching time or you can do silly things. The stereotypical mid-life crisis turns a conservative businessman and family man into a gold-chain-sporting, long-haired, red-Corvette driving hedonist. It doesn’t have to be this way. Mid-life crises, whether you are thirty, fifty or sixty-five years old, can be a time of awakening, self-actualization and new direction.
Guided Thinking Exercises
Take some time to do these exercises. The time invested will enable you to focus on the positive and the possible for your life. I recommended the first two exercises for your career crisis and I also recommend them for your personal growth. The rest are new.
- List everything you’d like to do in your lifetime. These lists can run several hundred items. (Mine included walk frequently on the shore of Lake Michigan, write books, travel to every country in Europe and design two additional websites.) Your chosen lifestyle must allow the accomplishment of these dreams.
- Write down your ten favorite activities, the ones without which your life would feel bereft. (Mine included reading, writing, creating new recipes, traveling, walking and more.) No life choice is suitable unless you get to do your favorite activities at least weekly, and preferably, daily.
- Think of a time when you felt more positively about your life. What has changed between then and now? List everything that is different. Perhaps you will gain insight into what is causing your current dissatisfaction. Then, you can change the issues causing unhappiness.
- If you are like many of us, you rarely take time to be alone with yourself. In fact, many people avoid this time and prefer to fill every minute of the day with activity. Schedule quiet, thinking time for yourself every single day. Spend time alone with yourself doing nothing. Some people call this meditation; others practice yoga. The key is to spend time in your head going gently wherever your thoughts take you. If those thoughts turn negative or self-deprecating, kindly change the subject.
Take Action Exercises
You’ll want to do these daily as you explore what makes you happy.
- You have listed your favorite activities and the hundreds of items you’d like to do in your lifetime. Begin. Add one each day to your schedule. Minimally, do all ten activities you love in a week.
- Do something that is totally new to you once each week. Get out of your comfort zone and try on new people, places and activities.
- Write a journal that tracks your thoughts, the new ideas you are generating and the added life activities you schedule every day.
- See a friend at least twice a month for conversation and to maintain the supportive and caring relationship.
- Eat a balanced diet, get daily exercise, even if only for ten minutes, and sleep on a regular, refreshing schedule.
Here are more ways to explore your personal growth, development and motivation needs to create a life that excites you.
Personal Growth and Understanding Instruments and Surveys
In the midst of your new thoughts and activities, you will want to supplement your thinking with tests and quizzes that provide information about yourself. For your thoughtful consideration. What kind of cheese are you? (I’m brie.) How’s your emotional intelligence? What “type” are you? Take these Personality, Leadership, Career: Tests, Surveys, Profiles, and Quizzes to add to your understanding of yourself.
Read Books About Personal Growth and Motivation
Personal growth and self-motivation books fill an entire section of your local bookstore. There are also hundreds of websites online that profess to help individuals with personal growth and motivation. Explore by doing a search at http://www.google.com. Pages of articles and books are available. Take a look at these books for a starting point, especially those that Barbara Sher authored or co-authored. I also recommend Marlys Hanson’s Passion and Purpose: How to Identify and Leverage the Powerful Patterns That Shape Your Work/Life.
Take a Class
Your local college or university will likely have several choices of courses about personal growth and motivation specifically. Your exploration, in the earlier recommended exercises, may have targeted additional topics you want to study.
Take the time to explore your mid-life crisis to identify your needs for personal growth and motivation. Maybe it’s just the job that’s depressing you. Perhaps you have not focused on adding your favorite activities to your daily life. Maybe, in the daily “busy,” you have forgotten to think about your own need for solitude, thoughtfulness and exploration. I believe, that if you spend time exploring these recommended activities, you will find your answers, refresh your life view and put the joy and energy you deserve back into your life. As Brian Tracy reminds us, Change your thinking; change your life.
By Susan M. Heathfield, About.com Guide