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6 Things to Keep Doing Even After You Have Children

6 Things to Keep Doing Even After You Have Children

When kids enter the picture, it’s easy to let go of things that you hold dear to accommodate the new changes in your life. But that could be a huge mistake. Updating your lifestyle is inevitable, but letting go of the things you love and make you happy is not. These are six things that you should keep doing, even after you have children.

1. Travel

One of the most common regrets I hear among parents of teenagers is “I wish I hadn’t stopped traveling.” Many of us relish the opportunity to country hop, see new places, and experience new cultures. And you don’t have to stop just because you’ve started a family. Albeit, the way you travel, where you travel, and what you do may be different – but this isn’t a reason to stop completely. The best vacation I’ve ever been on was to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada. We trekked, drove, and rafted – all with a three-year old and a three-month old!

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2. Exercise

It’s easy to let go of yourself when you’re chasing after two (or more kids) and holding down a full-time job, but make sure you make time to exercise. Exercising is good for your body and for your mind. It gives so some much needed alone time several days a week and the endorphin rush makes you feel better. With so many things you have to do every day, do this one for yourself. Pick activities you enjoy – sign up for a barre class, or go for a forty-five minute run before or after work. Something that keeps you excited and motivated is key. You’ll be happy you kept it up when your kids are older. When you’re telling them about the importance of exercise, it’s easier to deliver the message when you are modeling the activity.

3. Adult’s Only Vacations

It’s great to travel with kids, but it’s important to take time out for yourself too. Go away (even if just for a day) on your own or with your significant other once a year. Everyone needs a mental break from the daily grind, and that includes the caregiver grind, so do yourself a favor and take a solo or couple’s vacation before you burn out.

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4. Date Nights

It’s easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your relationship (or the attempt to find one) once there are children in the picture, but don’t. Your significant other needs to see you as their husband or wife, not just as a parent or career person. And if you aren’t coupled up, you can’t meet someone or start a meaningful relationship if every date involves a high chair. So, for your own sake and long-term happiness, keep working on your relationship and don’t cancel those date nights.

5. Hobbies and Personal Interests

Are you a musician? Photographer? Biking enthusiast? Kids or not, don’t let go of the things that make you happy and keep you interesting. It’s easy to let hobbies fall to the wayside once you become a parent, but it’s harder to restart a hobby than to find ways to keep it going – even through paternal leaves or busy times at work. An added bonus? When your kids are older, they may take an interest in your hobby as well and then it will morph from a solitary to a family activity.

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6. Learning

You may be a parent now, but you still don’t know everything. We spend our lives learning new things. And best of all, you have a new teacher – your little one. It’s fascinating to discover the world through the eyes of a child and it’s not an experience you’ll want to miss.

Featured photo credit: Gulliver’s Travels / Mini-DV via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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