Have you ever felt like you were drowning under the pressure of your to do list?

Do you wake up sometimes feeling paralyzed, as though making a decision, any decision, on which task, meeting, choice, or approach to follow is just SO overwhelming!

You are not likely alone, a lot of people today are feeling overwhelmed.

We’re constantly being told to grind, push harder, get after it, like life is some sort of high intensity training session that never ends!

For most of us who can swim, the idea of being dropped in the middle of a small lake, versus being dropped in the middle of an ocean with no life preserver would likely feel more appealing.


Because if you were dropped in a lake you can probably imagine yourself swimming to shore and saving your life, even if you were quite tired!

The shoreline represents your success structures and habits

But swimming to shore when there is no shore?!

That’s a lot more difficult to fathom.

That’s what life is like when you are paralyzed and overwhelmed by everything you need to accomplish each day.

You begin to feel as though you are in the middle of an ocean, with no life preserver, no sense of direction, and no shoreline in sight.

Think of the shoreline as the structures and habits of your life.

They give you a grounding point, a sense that you can reach towards your objectives, and open your mind to the possibilities.

When we have consistent structures and performance habits, then we know there is a shoreline in reach, and we can rest assured that although we may have to work hard, we do have an anchor on which we may depend.

#1 — Establish a Vision for Your Life

WTF does that mean?

Basically it means stop mindlessly getting up each day and ploughing through life, and start to consider who that person in the mirror really is and who you wish to be!

Not easy you say?

Easier than you think!

What’s getting in the way is your subconscious mind that likes to tell you that you are a fool to think any differently.

The subconscious mind that has been influenced and defined by all that has happened to you since you were born.

That subconscious mind has been programmed not to believe in you.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is you can re-program it!

How do you do that? Check out my Medium article “It doesn’t matter how hard you paddle if your boat stays chained to the dock” and you’ll see the process of re-framing your mindset.

Once you understand that life is just a series of stories, and that you can write your own stories, and create new ones that help you FEEL where you are going, you will be on your way to swimming freely.

#2 — Build and Execute a Personal Plan Based on that Vision

Once you have a feeling for who you want to be, and where you want to go, then you can establish a plan of any length (could be a year, two years, three years, or even ten years, as you wish), but establish a length of time and then work back from that point to establish markers of progress.

What will my life look like in three years?
 If I want it to look like that, what does it need to look like a year out? Two years out?

What will you need to do to get to those markers?

Establishing the markers, and considering the timelines will allow you to break the vision down into tangible steps. Steps you can actually rise to and accomplish so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the depth of the ocean!

#3 — Set your Intentions Daily, Connected to that Plan and Vision

Each week and each day, establish your intentions based on your plan, what do you need to accomplish this week, this day, so you are moving towards your vision. Not to do lists, but tangible elements that are contributing to your vision.

Yes, there are lots of “things to do” but work towards prioritizing the key elements of your vision first, these are the things that will feed your soul and give you a sense that you are moving forward.

This is often best done at night before you go to sleep, so you establish what you are going to accomplish the next day.

In combination with counting your wins, this is a very powerful approach to setting your mindset up for success the next day, but allowing you to sleep well and feel like you are floating, not drowning!

#4 — Prepare and Review Your Day Ahead

Each morning, wake up and review your day ahead. What did you establish as your intentions for the day? Has anything changed since last night?

Kids up all night, slept poorly, schedule changes, all things that could require modification of your intentions or expectations for the day.

Revise and re-set, and then execute your day.

But don’t let all the “stuff” clutter your day. And when it does, take some time to reflect on how that “stuff” aligns with your vision.

Does it?

If it doesn’t then start working toward: delegating it, removing it, or reducing the frequency of it in your life.

That stuff is killing your mojo!

#5 — Regularly Review Your Plan and Revise if Necessary

Build into your personal life schedule time to sit down, maybe quarterly, to have a solid look at how you are progressing with your plan.

What did you set out to accomplish, what did you accomplish, why didn’t you accomplish it, and how can your revise your vision or your plan for the next quarter based on what you’ve learned.

This isn’t a beat yourself up day, this is a pat yourself on the back day, and a moment to consider where you’ve come from, and where you are going.

Progress is the process, not perfection!

#6 — Count Your Wins at the End of Each Day

Take stock at the end of each day of what you have accomplished, what made you smile, how you uplifted someone else’s day.

The act of refection on the positive is extremely influential on our state of mind. We like to dwell on the negative, so the fact that we shift our mind onto thoughts that are positive, force it to re-frame the day, can be mood altering.

By counting your wins, you finish the day in the positive, bathe your mind in positive thoughts, and you will more likely sleep with less obstruction or interruption.

Good sleep is a huge factor in setting the tone for your next day!

Sleep well, rise well, be well, live well!

All of these elements along with the right mindset work set the foundation for your day and your life.

From this foundation, you can achieve anything.

You know you will not drown in the middle of an ocean of things to do, stuff to accomplish, or things to attain.

Instead, you will swim freely, allowing yourself to flow, dream, and move towards your vision knowing that the shore is there to keep you grounded when necessary.

Originally published at medium.com