Photo: Joshua Davis / Flickr
You've got 20 minutes to change your life in 100 ways. Go.
This is the premise of an exercise I tried once, when I was feeling stuck in life. I wasn't sure what was amiss, but the routine I had fallen into was not satisfying the inner voice in me that insisted there was something else out there for me. (See also: Change Your Life With Storytelling)
After trying (forcefully) to understand what was going on, reading self-help books, filling out aptitude tests, and working with business and life coaches, I was given a suggestion that became a catalyst for some pretty big personal changes.
Here is how you can change your life in 20 minutes, step by step:
- Clear all distractions. Turn off the phone, the TV, the computer. Lock your door, and go to a quiet place.
- Sit down comfortably at a desk or table, with a blank piece of paper and a pen in front of you.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes.
- Go. Write down 100 things you want to do. Or careers you want to have. Or people you would like to meet. The sky is the limit.
- Don't be realistic. Dream big. Write down the craziest things you can think of, as well as the things that you don't even think bear mentioning because they are so simple. Write it all down.
- Work quickly. 20 minutes isn't very long, and you have 100 items to get through, if you can. Don't think about whether or not to write down an idea — just write. Write everything that comes to mind, even if it doesn't make sense. Just keep on writing, and don't stop until that timer goes off.
Something happens after about 10 or 15 minutes if you employ the exercise to its full potential. You stop caring about what specifically the ideas are, and you start to release an inner creativity that may have been locked away for a while. In an effort to get through 100 things in 20 minutes, you start to write outlandish things down that you aren't even really sure you want, but that are ideas that came to you nonetheless.
Ding! The timer goes off. No matter where you are in the process, or how many items you have written down, stop. (OK, if you are really on a roll and have a few more to write down because the juices are flowing, keep going. I won't tell.)
Leave the list alone for a day. Try not to look at it, and certainly don't revise it in any way. The following day, sit down and look at your list. How many of the items on it are feasible? Can you see your way to accomplishing any of it? Did anything come out of the list that you hadn't actually really thought of until you wrote it down in a hurried attempt to get to 100 items in the time limit? Any surprises in there?
The point of this exercise is not to create a giant and outlandish "to-do" list that never gets ticked off. Instead, it is simply to open up your mind to the idea that anything is possible, and to give you ideas that will help you to become unstuck in life.
Personally, after feeling stuck and making out my list, I identified a few ways to make positive changes in my life at the time; I joined Toastmasters because an item I wrote down was to become a public speaker. I also eventually started a blog to satisfy an inner wordsmith in me that has blossomed into a career. And ultimately, the list helped lead me to the decision to sell off everything I owned to live out my dreams of travel and adventure now.
And it all started with 20 minutes and 100 ways to change my life.
Like this article? Pin it!
Tagged: Personal Development, lifestyle changes
Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.
Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Life after 60 can be one of the most challenging and uncertain times in a woman’s life. It can also be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding. With our roles and responsibilities changing, life is once again a fresh canvas. If you are just now turning 60, you may be wondering what’s to do next.
Do you want to take it easy for a while? Or, after years in a corporate career, perhaps you want to start a business of your own? Whether you want to travel, work, relax or volunteer, there is no reason that life after 60 shouldn’t be amazing.
Since starting Sixty and Me, I have had the opportunity to talk to hundreds of women just like you. As I have learned more about them, I have noticed a few patterns about the women that feel most fulfilled with their lives. I would like to share their strategies with you for getting the most from life after 60. I hope you find these ideas helpful.
Here are 6 ways to get the most from your life after 60.
Take Care of Your Body and Your Health
For generations, there was an assumption that life after 60 was a time of inevitable physical decline. This is no longer true! While there is no denying that our bodies change after 60, making the right choices for your body can make a world of difference. In fact, recent studies suggest that older women can keep getting stronger and continue to feel great by staying physically active.
As I wrote previously, getting in shape after 60 doesn’t require you to join a fancy gym or become a body builder. There are plenty of fun ways to lose weight and get in shape as you get a little older. The most important thing is to get started today.
One trick that I find particularly useful is the “one-minute” technique. This involves starting with an almost ridiculously simple goal, such as walking for one minute, and gradually increasing your commitment. If you haven’t encountered this technique before, I promise that it has the potential to change your life.
Be sure to talk with your doctor prior to starting a new exercise regimen. Depending on your overall health condition and lifestyle, there might be some exercises that are better than others.
Build a New Relationship with Money
In a perfect world, life after 60 would be a time for enjoying the fruits of your labor, not worrying about how you will pay your bills. Unfortunately, for far too many of us, this isn’t the case. If you’re having financial difficulties, or don’t feel like you have your money working for you, it’s time to make some changes.
One obvious place to start is with your expenses. This might include downsizing or simply looking for ways to cut your expenses. By all means, have fun with your money – you can’t take it with you after all! But, keep in mind that you will probably live for much longer than women of previous generations, so, your money will need to last as long as you do.
Another option for women who want to improve their financial situation after 60 is to look for ways to make extra money.
Develop New Relationships
Most women over 60, even women who are married or in a relationship, are afraid of being alone. Single women may wonder if they will ever find love again, while married women may worry about the prospect of their partner dying before them. Either way, the fear of loneliness is all too real for women of our generation.
Regardless of your relationship status, now is the time to build a social support system that will keep you happy and healthy for the rest of your life. You are an amazing person and you have so much to share with the world. Explore your hobbies with like-minded people. Force yourself to do at least one social activity per day. For those of us who have been too busy to enjoy the company of others for most of our lives, we may feel a bit “rusty” at being around other people. It gets easier every time.
If you are single and are still interested in finding a partner, check out this relationship advice from the other women in the Sixty and Me community. Remind yourself that you don’t “need” a relationship – you should “choose” a relationship to be a complement to your full and fulfilling life. It is definitely possible to love and trust again after 60, but only if you feel confident and self-aware.
Understand and Accept Your Body Image
People often say that one advantage of getting older is that we become more comfortable with ourselves. This is partially true. We definitely gain wisdom with age – and with wisdom comes acceptance. At the same time, society continues to promote stereotypes that women our age are invisible, unstylish, or not interested in a sex. In addition, we are constantly bombarded with anti-aging ads and “older” 30-year-old models.
Accepting ourselves after 60 is a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, why wouldn’t we want to be in great shape, wear stylish clothes and take care of our skin? There are plenty of ways to do exactly this. On the other hand, we need to learn to love who we are and embrace the changing perception of beauty after 60. Just remember to be kind to yourself and remember that you are beautiful, inside and out.
Find New Ways to Relate to Your Food
Now, more than ever, our bodies need the right food to function properly. Fortunately, there are more options than ever for giving our bodies the nutrition that they need. First, consider the source. Do you have a farmer’s market in your town that you can buy fresh produce from? Could you grow your own organic vegetables or start a window-box herb garden?
Make eating a ritual. Instead of “unconscious eating,” in front of the TV, be more deliberate and thoughtful about every bite of food on your plate. Shop carefully and think about portion sizes, but, treat don’t forget to treat yourself now and again. After all, life after 60 shouldn’t be all about self-discipline! Let’s remember to have some fun! Here are 6 natural foods to help you boost your immune system naturally.
Make More Friends
Many women over 60 feel isolated. This is especially true for women who have retired and no longer have a regular social outlet. Instead of feeling lonely, be proactive. Reach out to people who share your interests. Build and nurture your circle of girlfriends and act as the “event organizer” if needed.
There are so many ways to make more friends after 60. Why not host a regular dinner party, coffee circle, book club or outdoor activity group? Or, you could consider using your experience to be a mentor to younger people. There are also ways to bring new people to you. For example, you could host international visitors and backpackers with sites like Airbnb.
If you value friendship and take action, your life after 60 will be full of friends. Compliment people, stay positive, and be grateful – your attitude will bring the blessing of friendship into your life.
Life after 60 is a time to make positive choices for your life. So, build on your experiences and let go of past regrets. No matter where you’ve been, it’s time to look to the future. It’s time to let go of the past and live a healthier, wealthier and more socially connected life.
Have you reinvented your life after 60? What advice would you give to the other members of our community? Please share your story in the comments below.
Find out how to deal with stress and find happiness after 60 in my interview with Dr. Dale Atkins. Enjoy the show!