Your problems at times may feel like labyrinths. You’re cruising along, feeling good about the progress you’re making, and then wham! You run face first into a wall or sliding door. Or maybe you’re in a place where each turn feels uncertain or even like a step back closer to where you started. I know I’m moving but can’t actually tell if I’m getting anywhere. We are acutely aware of these problems as we go throughout our daily routines, but we go through them anyway.

We don’t have time to address these problems during our busy days. We may even feel some mild twinge of success at just getting by in the face of these problems, but deep down we know we are stuck. I want to encourage you to dedicate some time to address these problems in your life using the deathbed inventory.

If you know you’re stuck but don’t know how to get unstuck, one thing to do is make a deathbed inventory. If it sounds grim, it’s not. This is about preparing to live the life you want. If you were on your deathbed tomorrow, how satisfied would you be when you looked back on your life at all your various commitments, activities, and experiences? How closely do your thoughts and actions align with your true values? Are there any gaps in your bucket list? How many and how big are they?

Asking yourself these questions will force you to reassess your routine’s relationship to your heart/soul’s true purpose. If there is a great distance between what you do on a daily basis and what you truly feel is important, this process will make those differences more apparent to you and help you plot a path to a better, more fulfilling life.

Now, get out a piece of paper and a writing utensil (computer’s fine if you prefer) and write this stuff down as we go along. It’s one thing to sit and contemplate something until you’ve reached some sort of conclusion. When you do this you may have real insights, but they often pass from your mind just as quickly as they came. But making these thoughts concrete will create a degree of accountability that says, I’m not just thinking about this stuff, I’m committed to taking action.

Write down a list of what activities take up the greatest amount of your time. Then write down a list of what aspects of life you hold dearest. Be honest here. If money is of the highest importance to you, don’t be ashamed of that. On the other hand, if you’ve been treating money as if it’s more important to you than it really is, this is the time to note that as well. This process will not work unless you can be very self-aware and honest with yourself.

This exercise is meant to remove “waiting” from your list of activities. If you aren’t satisfied with a certain aspect of your life and just assume that it will change on its own at some point, this is a major problem. Start to take proactive steps to change your behaviors to be a closer model of your true passions and values and you will be on your way to a more joyful, abundant life.

photo credit: Masa Sakano via photopin cc