In this week’s post we will talk about making space for change, an important missed step by most people when working towards their goals.
Make Space for Change
Have you ever tried to change your clothes in a cramped space? It’s pretty difficult. You have to squirm and squish in and out of your clothes. Then when you’re done you look all disheveled and feel flustered. Now think about when you have the expansive space of your bedroom or store dressing room. It’s much easier to change and you feel refreshed in your new clothes.
When we want to make changes in our life it’s the same way, we need to make space first. There are several ways to make space for change: allocate the time, clear your environment and create mental space. Is your mind asking what change has to do with your goals? Isn’t a goal a change from your current state? I doubt you would have a goal if you were content with how your life has been going, right? Making space for change is missed step most people make, because we aren’t taught it when we make goals. So let’s take a moment to break it down.
Making Space by Allocating Time
Picture a goal, what category does it fall into? Immediate (next few days or weeks), short-term (next few weeks or months), long-term (few months or years away). If your goal is immediate or short term then it probably has just a few steps to achieve it. How much time does each step require? Take out your calendar and block out that time now. With longer term goals, there are usually many more steps and requires more stamina to achieve them. Again, work backwards and evaluate how much time each day you need to allocate to achieve that goal. You’re working with a limited resource, time, so make space to make progress.
Make Space by Clearing Your Environment
Just as in the example above, it’s difficult to change when there’s limited physical space. How cluttered is your workspace? Do you have to push papers and files around just to locate a pen? Then it’s time to make space. When you take time to clear out old files (which is similar to old thoughts) you will have a greater capacity for growth. Build this process into goal attainment plan. Use some of the time you blocked out above to clear out old files, purge unfinished projects that are no longer relevant, and establish a fresh working environment to progress towards your goals. It’s mentally distracting to keep seeing that stack of unfinished files out of the corner of your eye or those half-read books that aren’t applicable to your current goals.
Before every new project or venture I take a few hours to de-clutter my office. I file or recycle reference docs that don’t apply to my next project. I schedule some time to tie up any loose ends that I need to finish so I don’t have that nagging feeling that my attention should be somewhere. When we slow down and clear space – physically and mentally – we will be able to hit the ground running and achieve more in less time with the new project.
Make Space: Mental Real Estate
The real estate inside your head is valuable, so what’s taken up residency in there? Do you have pending issues that need to be resolved before you can focus on your next goals? What do you need to let go of, finalize, accept or take action on so you have the mental bandwidth to really focus on your project? Pause this podcast or stop reading and go to YourProgressCoach.com/resources and download the Make Space for Change worksheet –
Write down your next goal, project or progress step at the top. Focus on that goal and notice what your mind is doing. Write down any and all thoughts that come up, to do items that are haunting you or mental resistance to approaching this next project. Don’t make any judgements and don’t filter anything. Just write them down in a list in the first column. Oh and if you have any feelings or sensations, then write those down too. We are just building an awareness list in column one.
Next, decide what you need to do with each item on your mental download list. Are there still things that need to be done to clear that item from your mental space, if so what is it? Make a note of the action here, then on page 2 of the worksheet we will look at this action list in more detail.
Do you need to let go of it and just move on (then give yourself permission to release it). Another option is just acceptance (do you need to make some extra space for that item? Maybe you’re not able to finalize it or release it, then acknowledge it and make space for that item too). Remember the goal is to clear and make space for your new project or goal, there’s limited mental real estate and it’s like valuable beach front property, so be selective with what you choose to bring forward.
Great, now take your “Action Needed” items and turn to page 2 of the worksheet. It’s time to prioritize what you need to tackle, so put your most important or pressing item to address first and continue down the list. In the “How” column this is more specific detail or step that needs to be achieved so you can get this Action Item completed. Is it a phone call that needs to be made, an email sent, a report typed, research to be done? Put your specific action in the “How”. Now the “Who”, is there someone else involved with this action item? If so put their name there or if you can delegate it you can put the responsible party down. If it’s just up to you then your name goes there. The “When” is your must be completed by date. This is your deadline. Write it here and on your calendar.
As you continue to make space for your new goals and projects, you’ll have more room for new ideas, opportunities and options. Please let me know if this was helpful and if you’d like more support on making space to make changes in your life connect with me at yourprogresscoach.com. Thank you for sharing your valuable time with me and all the best.