#1. Weigh in on your regrets and mistakes. Ask yourself what you have learned. Are you carrying any residual guilt or unfinished business? Do you need to make amends to anyone? Have you forgiven yourself and accepted your own humanity as a part of growing up?
#2. Imagine yourself dead in five years. What would be important to you? How would you live differently? What would be your new wants now that you’re haunted by the idea of finishing life sooner than you expected?
#3. Imagine who it is you’d like to be. Write down your ideas without editing. Then create some small steps to help you make that happen. i.e. you’d like to be more thoughtful so be sure to acknowledge one person a day.
#4. Think about your energy levels. Write down and pay attention to what drains your energy and what replenishes your energy. Adjust your lifestyle to achieve a healthier balance.
#5. Ask 5-8 people to write down three things they like about you and one thing that needs improvement. Take time to absorb what is written.
#6. What anchors you in the world? It could be reading, pets, gardening or bicycling. Consider small, medium and large possibilities.
#7. Write down your top 10 strengths and 3 shortcomings you’d like to improve. Is it hard to come up with the good things? If so, that’s a problem.
#8. Spend some time thinking about people you admire. What attributes do they have that you would like for yourself? Who are your heroes or heroines? I ask this question often and most people come up blank. This is a way to consider who you want to be.
#9. Try making a collage about you. Divide it into three parts the past, the present and the future. Use real pictures, cut out pictures from a magazine, glitter, quotes or poems. Take the time to glue it on poster board.
#10. Pick two adjectives to describe who you want to be in all your different roles; as a partner, parent, aunt/uncle, friend, son/daughter, or employee/professional.
#11. Pay attention to your resentments and anger as a way of learning more about your wants. Wants and hurts are often buried underneath anger. The more clarity you have about your wants the more you will know who you are. Then risk asking more directly for what you want.
#12. If you had the courage to make a hard choice, what would you do differently?
#13. If you had more courage what new risks would you take?
Answer each of these questions with specifics, instead of vague generalizations which are not helpful. It is your job to solve your own insecurities. It is not o.k. to splash them all over the people you love.