I could literally hear the crickets in my head as I sat down to write this, my first ever blog post. It’s more nerve-wracking than I thought it was going to be. My first draft sounded like I was some sort of self-help wizard that could impart all knowledge, as if I, a twenty-six-year-old with a Master’s degree and not a ton of job prospects had all of the answers on life. For my second draft, I leaned towards being extremely professional explaining in very thorough yet dull detail the benefits of a life Itinerary. Which by the way there are many benefits but I’ll get to that later.
The fact is, the point of this blog relates to anyone who, like myself are living in a state of “I’m stuck and have no idea what happens next.” I had to realize even though I’m figuring it out as I go and may not be as much of a life guru doesn’t mean I don’t have something to offer you. Yes, YOU the person reading this curious as to what I am rambling on about. Which brings me to draft number three (third time’s a charm, right?). The lesson learned from draft one and two, just keep it real.
The idea for this blog began after taking a long hard look at my life…and to keep it as simply put as possible I wasn’t crazy about what I saw. Personally, I was a mess. I had gained a ton of weight, I was living unhealthy, and reverting into myself. I didn’t really want to socialize with anyone, and I began to question certain areas of my life. Professionally I had just finished graduate school and was debating my next steps, trying to choose between the pureness of passion and necessity of realism. During this, I found myself self-slipping into a creatively stifled, confused, and depressing place.
Then one day as we all do every once in a while, I had an Oprah (who I love by the way) “Aha” moment. My journey changed with a quote that I came across from leadership expert John C. Maxwell.
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
And just like that “The Life Itinerary” was born!
SO…WHAT IS A LIFE ITINERARY?
When it comes to balancing the components of your life, which best describes you?
a. You feel like there are not enough hours in the day or money in your pocket to do everything you need to do.
b. You tend to slack off, get distracted, and make excuses why you can’t get anything done.
c. You begin with achievable goals, but have no follow through with completing them.
d. You allow certain insecurities, obstacles, and situations to hold you back from accomplishing what’s needed.
An Itinerary is technically defined as a planned route or journey. And what journey is more greater, complex, and relatable than life itself (I really tried to write that without sounding so cliché but sometimes a little cliché is necessary). At one point or another in my life I have related to at least one of these points if not all of the above. And keeping in the spirit of keeping it real, your Life Itinerary depends on you and how you look at. It is anything that falls under the category of “I need to get my life together.” It’s about developing a personal system for yourself to live the healthiest, happiest, and most productive life you wish.
For me, I needed a balance between professional drive and personal fulfillment. What started out as a daily routine developed into my own personal agenda. I began eating healthier working out and overall just taking better care of myself. However, as time went on it became more than just a routine. But I began to re-evaluate my life on a deeper level. It wasn’t necessarily just asking myself am I wasting my life away? I started to think am I taking advantage of my full potential? Am I doing things that I really enjoy? What do I want to do with my life? Who am I? I’m learning that’s a never-ending life evaluation, it’s important to constantly search to be better and maintain your happiness. And I believe your Life Itinerary is your strategy to do just that.
There are three key aspects that serve as the foundation for your itinerary including 1) the components of your life, 2) preventing or fighting through the limbo that leaves you stagnant, and 3) taking action on your journey. I haven’t lost you yet have I? Keep reading so I can break it down for you.
MAINTAINING THE COMPONENTS OF YOUR LIFE
So how do you start creating your Itinerary? You compartmentalize your life, and I mean that in the most non-OCD way as possible. There are certain components that are vital in developing a routine and overall lifestyle. You want to hustle to achieve what you desire, but at the same time you have other responsibilities that need your focus (cough-cough bills, rent, food, basically anything you need to survive). On top of that, you attempt being healthy and feeling good about yourself, but convenience can become a major roadblock. And let’s not forget the often neglected, but needed “me time” to just have some fun and relax.
So the question is, how do you make it work REALISTICALLY without having to clone yourself? This blog is going to help you personalize and prioritize your life components and establish the best approach to support and balance them. Check out the “The 9 Life Itinerary Components” to learn more about each component!
WHAT’S YOUR LIMBO?
So we’ve addressed what the Life Itinerary is. And we’ve talked about why it’s necessary? Now, onto the who? And I’m gonna by pass the corny lead into a really bad joke regarding a certain band. Anyway…if you’ve never found yourself stuck in a drought of uncertainty, I really would like to know what your secret is cause either (A) you’re definitely not human or (B) possibly in some state of denial (just some tough love…keep reading). I’ve realized that being caught in whatever limbo is normal among the many hiccups I have overcome and have yet to face. However, it becomes detrimental if you find yourself trapped there. And that is who the Life Itinerary is for.
Everyone (again us humans) has a certain reason they’ve become stuck or at least something that continues to hold them back. There’s a never-ending list of ways you could find yourself trapped. You could be caught in an ongoing limbo cycle. You most likely could be struggling with more than one kind. It could also be something you’re unaware of. Maybe you’re not even necessarily in limbo, maybe it’s just a personality or character trait you need to work through. Again, I could go on and on, but I won’t at least not for now.
It’s weird because when you’re in a limbo you think you’re the only one and no one understands. But I’m writing this because I can relate. At some point in my life, I have related to each of these limbos in some way, shape, or form (and NO I do not have some sort of multiple personality disorder). And if you’re still here with me reading after you check out these limbo profiles, you’ll find how you can relate to them too! So, It’s time take a look at yourself and the life you lead (same way I had to and continue to do). It starts with why you’re stuck and in this rut, to begin with, and I hope your Life Itinerary is going to be what gets you out.
TAKING ACTION IN YOUR JOURNEY
So, you’ve evaluated the components of your life after realizing the limbo you’ve been struggling with. Now you have to take action, be like Nike and “Just Do It!” (that was really bad but I’m going to ignore it and continue). To be honest, even if you weren’t sure of your limbo and couldn’t seem to find a way to work out your life components, the action is the most vital factor. And although you may not be able to control your uncertainty, you can start searching or at least fight for clarity and stability. I learned that in trying to find some order in other aspects of my life, it helped in gaining perspective.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF, FIGHT AGAINST YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I personally LOVE my bubble of comfort. It’s my safe place with no expectations and no pressure. When you think about it though you’re just hidden staying in the same place. But realistically, I’m learning in order to be progressive in whatever area of my life, I have to take risks and do things that are completely out of my comfort zone. That is the exact objective of challenging yourself, it allows you to take the baby steps necessary for a new and improved you.
DEVELOP YOUR IDEAL MENTALITY
When you want more out of life, it is NEVER going to be easy. However, that is what makes your ultimate success worth it. After acknowledging whatever limbo you’re stuck in, you shouldn’t only challenge it, but establish the mindset to maintain the change that you are creating for yourself. To me, the ideal mentality encourages positive thinking. It consistently practices habits to preserve the right head space. And it also allows you to authentically find ways to represent or express your mentality.
A Life Itinerary is not only the remedy for avoiding bad habits that could allow you to become unhealthy, unproductive, and depressed. But it’s about exploring your interest and passions, as well as the best approach to take when tackling your responsibilities and choosing the lifestyle that fits YOU best.
When I realized the sort of limbo of anxiety and depression I was trapped in I had to prioritize the components of my life and create realistic goals while developing a productive routine. I think a certain level of routine allows you a certain level of accomplishment. And accomplishment means taking action, which leads to progress and growth. Taking action can be a simple habit of waking up early every day giving you more hours to do what you have to do. Or giving yourself a makeover to feel more of a confidence boost. It could be finding your center or self-awareness to find you happiness and peace of mind which can help the way you approach situations. Or even developing a full-out career strategy to approach your dream career or dream job. Whatever way you choose to take action, it all stems from planning your “route” to get there.
Taking action can be a simple habit of waking up early every day giving you more hours to do what you have to do. Or giving yourself a makeover to feel more of a confidence boost. It could be finding your center or self-awareness to find you happiness and peace of mind which can help the way you approach situations. Or even developing a full-out career strategy to approach your dream career or dream job. Whatever way you choose to take action, it all stems from planning your “route” to get there.
P.S. Yes, these last couple of paragraphs may or may have not been from draft one or two, but I still hoped they inspired you!