For most of my adult life, I used to dread Mondays.
Come Sunday afternoon, I would already be feeling that subtle sign of anxiety arising as butterflies in my stomach.
I would try my best to distract myself from this to stave off the impending Monday morning rush.
Scarfing down junk food (“cheat day” right?), binging on Netflix and staying up way past a healthy bed-time were just some of the tactics that I used to employ.
And what exactly did I do about this recurring, weekly, semi-depressive state?
I ignored it. For years.
I thought that I would eventually get over it (this is real life, after all, I thought) and I would get used to the dread of going into a job… that didn’t suck.
And that was the truth: I didn’t hate my job.
Heck, it was pretty okay most of the time.
Sure, there were the usual office politics, 80-hour weeks and a handful of face-palm moments each day, but overall getting paid 6-figures was good.
But it wasn’t great.
And that kept niggling at me until one day I realized I didn’t want to be in a job anymore.
I didn’t want to startle awake to a blaring alarm each morning.
I didn’t want to request my vacation leave ‘subject to availability’ anymore.
I didn’t want to sign off my emails with “Kind Regards” any longer.
I didn’t want to deal with the office drama any further.
I didn’t want the highlight of my day to be what I was going to buy for lunch.
I didn’t want to deal with traffic and commuting anymore.
I was tired of the boring water-cooler talk (no, I don’t care what shenanigans Susan from Finance got herself into on the weekend).
I wanted the opportunity to book my vacations whenever I fancied for however long I wanted.
I wanted to be able to take a random half-day and curl up on the couch with a good book if I felt like it.
I wanted freedom from the bureaucracy and red tape that accompanied every step forward in the corporate world.
I wanted to work at something that I liked. Maybe even loved.
I wanted to make a difference.
And when I realized all of this, I felt HUGELY guilty.
Wasn’t this precisely the personification of the dreaded millennial snowflake that every person in the 21st century disdains?
So I did what I was already so adept at practicing:
I ignored it.
I ignored how I really wanted to live my life because I believed that I shouldn’t have wanted anything different.
I was in (what many would consider) a ‘great’ job that afforded me a comfortable life.
I even had a fantastic husband, beautiful family, and terrific home.
There was nothing inherently wrong with how my life was going, so I thought that something must be wrong with me why I wasn’t satisfied.
But after a while, I got tired of ignoring this feeling that just wasn’t going away.
No matter how Instagram-worthy my 4-week annual leave was.
No matter how many new purses I bought.
No matter if I treated myself to weekly manis and pedis.
All of those things started becoming a band-aid to temporarily soothe the feelings of ‘I was meant for more than this’.
Once I broke it down, I discovered the reason I was afraid to explore life outside the status quo was for these two (what felt like very real) fears:
1. Fear of failure.
What if it (whatever it was) doesn’t work?
What if I go broke?
2. Fear of what others thought of me.
One of my worst nightmares that kept replaying in my head was casually bumping into someone I knew in the grocery store and having them ask that inevitable question, “You quit your job to do what?” A cringe-worthy moment if there ever was one.
I soon realized that these two fears were literally holding me hostage in my own life.
And what that actually underscored was a lack of self-belief and intrinsic absence of confidence in my ability to redesign my life to live on my terms.
To step outside the norm.
To take the path less travelled.
And ultimately I realized that these things would never change unless I changed.
So eventually (and I mean verrry eventually) I took a breath and began slowly.
And when I finally permitted myself to explore what was out there, I was astonished.
I quickly fell in love with working in the online space.
I adored the freedom and flexibility it gave me.
I treasured that I could still finance my comfortable lifestyle.
I cherished the fact that I could choose which incredible clients I got to work with.
When I finally did quit my job to work full-time in my online coaching business, there was no turning back.
I was flying full-steam-ahead into a new kind of lifestyle that was exhilarating.
One where I have the freedom to organize my time in a way that works for me.
One where I can take a three-day weekend to spend with loved ones if I wanted to.
One where I’m actually in love with what I do (where ‘real work’ feels like ‘playtime’).
One where I finish my day beaming like a kid who just won 1st place in the spelling bee.
And so it’s true.
I no longer dread Mondays.
Instead, I’ve learned to savour each day of the week for what it brings.
And I’d love to share with you how to not dread Mondays anymore.
These are the some of the same tactics that my clients (some also still in the 9–5) use to start making their current life not just more bearable, but enjoyable as well.
1. Figure out what exactly you want your life to look like, and own it.
Step #1 in trying to accomplish anything in work, life or finances is to figure out the end goal.
Where do you want to go?
What do you want to do?
What exactly do you want your life to look like?
A lot of us have a great idea as to what we don’t want our life to look like:
· We don’t want to work 80+ hours per week.
· We don’t want to be alone forever.
· We don’t want to be struggling for money.
But many times we don’t take the time to figure out what exactly we do want.
If you’re always concentrating on what you don’t want, you’re wasting energy on the negative and living in an avoidance state.
Instead, getting super clear on how you want your life to look like every day when you wake up means that you can take decisive action to make it happen.
After all, if you don’t have a destination, how will you ever get there?
And getting into the nitty-gritty here is a must.
If you want to be in a relationship, what exact qualities do you want in your partner? What will you and your partner do together on Saturday mornings?
If you want out of your 9–5, what would the perfect job/business/day look like to you? Break it down hour-by-hour.
If you want to open your own art gallery, where would it be located? What would the layout be like? Whose art would you include?
You may not want to quit your job, start an online coaching business and travel the globe (though it is a pretty awesome way to live!), but maybe a happy life to you means spending quality time with loved ones, exercising more or reacquainting yourself with your creative side.
Once you have a crystal clear snapshot in your mind of how you want your life to look like, the next step is to own it.
Running through your mind, right now, are thousands of thoughts being processed at faster than we can even consciously acknowledge.
But I bet as soon as you allow your mind the opportunity to explore what you want your real, happy life to look like, a horde of raging limiting beliefs shoot to the surface like soldiers being called to battle:
“No way will I ever find the man for me, all the good ones are taken! So I might as well stay in my dysfunctional relationship or I’m going to end up old, grey and alone.”
“Quitting my job to open my own doggy-daycare is never going to happen. My work colleagues will laugh. My family will think I’m nuts. It’ll be a flop anyways.”
“Get real, I’m always going to be stuck being overweight and unattractive. I might as well find clothes that hide all this and keep drinking/smoking/gossiping to make myself feel better.”
The first thing to remember is that this is TOTALLY normal! Our brains are wired to keep us safe, so even the thought of taking a peek into the unknown sends your unconscious mind into panic-mode, spelling out worst-case scenarios and putting together a full-scale report as to why what you want to do is utterly impossible.
Your job is to acknowledge these thoughts. Then let them go.
That’s right — these limiting beliefs are consciously and subconsciously keeping you living at a lower level instead of reaching your greatness and true happiness, whatever that might look like.
So let them go.
Then continue exploring what you want your life to look like. Feel it deep within yourself. Visualize it happening. Get excited like it is actually a possibility.
And then journal about it. Share your dreams with your spouse and best friend. Focus on it, because as the saying goes, “Energy flows where attention goes.”
2. Take ONE step, today, to moving closer to that life.
So many of us spend months (sometimes years) convincing ourselves that our ideal life is out of our reach.
We come up with very legitimate-sounding excuses why it can’t happen:
“Oh, well when the kids grow up, then I’ll have enough time to…”
“When things slow down at work then I’ll try learning…”
“After next year is when I’ll really start…”
Do any of these sound familiar?
If so, you are only fooling yourself.
Waiting for the perfect time to start changing your life is a risky endeavour because here’s the catch: There is no perfect time.
Think about all those success stories that you’ve ever read about. Like the woman who lost 100 lbs by just tweaking her eating and walking every day. Or the homeless guy who decided to start his own company while sleeping in his car, and eventually became a multi-millionaire. Or the family dog who, after being left behind with a family friend, escaped and found its owners over 1,000 miles across the country at their new home.
Every single viral success story you have ever read or will ever read, has three crucial points:
1. It seemed impossible, but they did it anyway.
2. They all started by taking one small step at a time.
3. They took action consistently.
And let’s be real: Not everyone is going to quit their job and buy a plane ticket to a tropical island. That honestly does take some kahunas.
But at the end of the day, what is really holding you back from taking that one, small, doable step towards your fantastic future?
You really want to meet a life partner? Start by getting off your couch and picking up a hobby or practicing a sport that you would want to do with your future partner, from now. Wouldn’t the chances of meeting someone who is also interested in what you are be higher? And in the meantime, you’re getting on with your life and having fun.
You really want to open that art gallery? Think about who would you have to speak to/network with/hire to make it happen. Can you reach out to any one of these persons today? Of.course.you.can.
Taking action is going to make you feel like you have a purpose to your life. That living for Friday happy-hour is not just all there is to our time on Earth.
So start with one step.
Be consistent with taking action.
And remember: Done beats perfect every day of the week.
What is your first step?
3. Get the right support and stop living in purgatory.
At the end of the day, there’s a reason why you aren’t living like that ideal picture in your head.
And it comes down to this: There are limiting beliefs and false perceptions that are holding you hostage right now in your life. (You’re not alone — we all have them).
You can believe any excuse you want to with 100% of your heart and soul. But if you are serious about changing your life, it means challenging those beliefs that aren’t serving us anymore, some which we have held on to tightly since childhood.
And the quickest, easiest way to do this is to invest in yourself. Get a coach, mentor, counsellor or therapist. Whatever type of support you need to finally move past these beliefs and actually become happy with your life so that you’re not dreading Mondays anymore, do it.
You can read all the self-help books you want (which are extremely helpful up to a point) and attend all the conferences in the world. But until you have someone in your corner whose job it is to bring to light the repetitive, unhelpful thought patterns going on in your head right now and literally listen to you like no one has ever before while celebrating your incredible successes and growth, you will stay stuck spinning your wheels and dreading Mondays.
It’s pretty liberating when you finally realize that anything you want you can have. Literally anything. All it requires is getting the right support and taking consistent action.
It’s as simple, and as complicated, as that.
Call to Action:
I’d love for you to come hang out and meet me in my Facebook group, The Freedom Lifestyle Coach: A community dedicated to the new coach who is looking to build her online business without pressure, effortlessly attract clients and create her freedom lifestyle, whether that means travelling the globe or taking 3-day weekends to spend with loved ones.
Kalila Bodden is a medical doctor and business coach for ambitious, introverted women. Going from self-doubt to beautiful confidence is her specialty! Helping women create an online coaching business that supports their dream life of freedom, wellness and travel is what she’s all about.
Originally published at medium.com