Pop culture seems to always portray transformation as just one task, one quick fix away. Organize your closet and your life will fall into place, or all it takes is a juice cleanse! But we all know that there aren’t any shortcuts to long-lasting transformation. It takes deliberate choices every day to reach a state of enduring success. In fact, upon reflecting on my own journey, I have found there are five critical choices that I’ve made throughout my 25-year journey that have brought me to my enduring success. And with this five-choice framework in mind, I’ve put together a tool here in this blog that consists of journal prompts to help you identify the critical choices you’ve made in your own life. Ask yourself as you work through these prompts, how can I replicate and build upon my past successes to launch myself into the next phase of my transformation? I’d love to hear how these prompts are working for you! Comment below or send me a message, I can’t wait to hear from you.
1. The Chance to Change
At 20 years old, I found myself alone, on a dirty bathroom floor with a needle plunged into my vein. A childhood of sexual abuse and neglect that eventually resulted in a crystal meth addiction had left me with no friends, no job, no love, and no hope. All I had was enough meth for two more fixes or one fatal overdose. But one phone call from my sister changed everything. With my first critical choice, to pick up the phone, I gave myself the chance to change.
Journal prompts to help you give yourself the chance to change:
- What’s an example of a critical first choice you made in the past? Did you know it was critical?
- In reflecting, was your first critical choice seems simple, like putting on running shoes, saying “I’m sorry”, or your first journal entry?
- What “first choice” do you need to make at this point in your life?
- What impact could that choice have on your life?
2. Joy in the Ordinary
I made my second critical choice a few weeks after that phone call: I committed to a two-way agreement with my sister and brother-in-law. I agreed to the actions required to live clean and sober in their home, and they agreed to the actions that supported me through this initial phase of recovery. It was through committing to this agreement that I learned ordinary actions that start from duty can transform into efforts of joy.
Journal prompts to help you find joy in the ordinary:
- What’s an example of a two-way agreement you committed to in the past, that served you well? Was staying committed easy? Hard?
- What two-way agreement might you want to create and commit to right now and with whom?
- What do you have to gain by committing in this way?
- Is there an ordinary moment in your life (perhaps, your daily commute or cooking dinner for your family) that brings you joy? How might you bring this feeling into other parts of your life?
3. Earning Independence
A year later, my job selling gym memberships taught me about building trust. I learned that by making good, small decisions each day, I could build trust in myself and inspire the trust of others. Because of my third choice, to build trust, I earned my independence.
Journal prompts to catalyze your journey to independence:
- What’s an example of a good, small decision you made today? At work or in another part of your life?
- What’s an example of when you knew you had earned someone’s trust? Was it a big moment or perhaps a combination of lots of small moments?
- Where might you need to do more of the little things great right now? Home, school, work?
- Who is one person you’d like to inspire trust in? What is one thing you will do, each day, to earn their trust?
- What will it feel like this time next year if you choose to do one small thing great, consistently, starting right now?
4. Creating Community
When I was 30 years old, although I had achieved more success than I ever imagined, I didn’t belong anywhere. I decided to join a running club and met five women who showed me that forging true friendships and creating community starts by letting others in. I learned that you get by giving, and over time, I was able to foster my place of safety, shared identity and belonging with this amazing group.
Journal prompts to help you foster community:
- What does it feel like to belong?
- Who are two people you can introduce to each other to help them expand their communities?
- What’s one possible first step you can take to create your community?
5. Enduring Success
Finally, with the support of my family, extended family and community, I had the opportunity to make my fifth choice: to give all my love and to receive all the love others want to give. This final choice defines my enduring success.
Journal prompts to help lead you to enduring success:
- Is there a time you might have withheld some of your love?
- What’s an example of when you’ve really embraced love (to love AND be loved) in the past?
- Where might you need to a) embrace love outwardly and b) receive love inwardly?
- Why might choosing love be such an important part of your own journey?
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