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An exercise for December

An excerpt from Cheryl Richardson’s newsletter this week. Reminds me of my diary reading adventure two days ago! Spooky, I tell you! 🙂

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“Find your true path. It’s so easy to become someone we don’t want to be, without even realizing it’s happening.” –Bernie Siegel, MD

~*~ Topic of the Week ~*~

Last February, I offered you an experiment designed to helped you uncover valuable information about yourself and the gifts and talents you may be meant to share with others. I asked you to put this information away until the end of the year, when I offered a “part 2” to the experiment. This week’s newsletter fulfills that promise. First, reread the earlier newsletter below. Then, follow the “Take Action Challenge” to learn more about yourself. If you didn’t participate in the experiment, don’t worry. These exercises are a perfect year-end planning tool. Here we go . . .

From February:

While doing research for my next book I found several exercises in an old journal, that I used to help me explore my life’s purpose. I was shocked to find that 80% of my answers were directly related to what I do today. At the time that I completed these exercises, I was twenty-five years old and struggling to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. As I read through the entries it was obvious that, in retrospect, I knew more about myself and what I was meant to do than I realized at the time.

There’s something about keeping a journal or writing private thoughts in a notebook that activates our inner wisdom. While your entries might seem like random thoughts or ideas, often they contain vital information about who you are and what you’ve come here to do. This week I thought we’d try an experiment. Below are some exercises for you to complete in a journal or notebook. Once you’ve finished them, I want you to tuck this information away until the end of the year. In December, I’ll ask you to retrieve it in order to complete part 2 of this experiment.

Think of this assignment as a special Valentine’s Day gift to yourself. Taking time out of your busy life to reflect on who you are and what you want is one of the key ways that we influence the direction of our lives. To make it easier, break the exercise into five parts and complete one
part a day over the next week. Work on it during your lunch hour or while the kids are at school. When we get to part 2 in December, you’ll be glad you made the investment in yourself.

Once you complete these exercises follow the “Take Action Challenge” below to complete part 2 of the experiment. Enjoy!

1. Finish the following sentence stems with at least ten answers for each one:

I am
I will not
I would like
I will
I love
I hate

2. What advice would you give yourself at this time in your life? (fill at least one page)

3. Imagine you were interviewing *you* and answer the following questions:

~*~ What three major choices brought you to this point in your life?
~*~ Looking back, what three things do you wish you had tried?
~*~ If you had to choose an object that represented your future, what would it be?
~*~ If you had to choose an object that represented your past, what would it be?
~*~ What tasks or assignments would you say you’ve been given in your life so far?

4. Complete the following four exercises:

~*~ List three internal changes you’ll need to make to live a more meaningful life.
~*~ List three external changes you’ll need to make to live a more meaningful life.
~*~ List three positive qualities that you feel proud of possessing.
~*~ List three qualities that you’d like to develop.

5. If you could try five new jobs over the next year what would they be?

~*~ Take Action Challenge ~*~

To complete part two of this experiment, read through your answers to the exercises above and, using your journal, take time to answer the following questions:

What themes or patterns do you see?
Which answers *feel* right, but scary?
What life lessons have you needed to work through?
If you were meant to teach others three things, what would they be?
How is “who” you are, related to “what” you might offer others?
What one theme best reflects your life lesson thus far?
What have you learned about yourself since you completed the first experiment?
What advice would you give yourself now?

Using the first and second person, write at least one page in your journal completing each of these two sentence stems:

When I read through my answers, I notice that I . . .
When I read through the answers, I notice that (your name) . . .

Finally, what are three specific action steps you need to take to do something with what you’ve learned from the experiments? Challenge yourself to take these steps *before* the New Year!

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