Between the Lines

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
— George Bernard Shaw

Kathy Steffen

Every New Year I feel the same way I did as a child at the start of every school year. This year is going to be different. This year is full of possibilities. THIS year I will be who I want to be. So, as an adult, why not take this approach? A shiny brand-new year can mean a shiny brand-new you. “But Kathy, I like myself.” Fine, and in fact, great! But why not branch out, go beyond your daily life tasks and get out of your comfort range? What follows will be uplifting, exciting and fun, and give you a new positive attitude about life.
What do you want to try? Make a bucket list (all the things you’d love to do before you die) and pick the top three. Answer these questions for each: Why do you want to do this? How will doing this make you feel? What sort of person does something like this (and what attributes will you add to your personal resume?) How can you make this thing happen? What is the first step? Put the first step on your calendar and ready, set, go!
What do you need to plan time for? What is on your list to accomplish once you “have the time”? What yearning do you have that you never find enough time to make happen? List everything. Choose the one calling loudest to you. Why do you want to do this? How will doing this make you feel? How can you make this thing happen? What is the first step? And now for the important part: Make an appointment with yourself. Same time every week. Write it on your calendar. Set a phone alert. Don’t let another year pass without doing this most important thing. As a multi-billion dollar advertiser advises: Just do it!
This advice is from Eleanor Roosevelt — Do one thing that scares you every day. Ask yourself: If I had no fear, what would I do? Free-write the answers and amazing things will follow. You will uncover hidden deep desires you have pushed aside and ignored because they scare you. Gain confidence and decimate your underlying frustration. Time to take back your life.
List your strengths. Include everything you like about yourself. Everything you do well. All your positives. There, didn’t that feel terrific? Now, since you are in such a good mood — list excellent aspects you’d like to add to The List of You. Highlight the top one. As a famous “Star Trek” captain advises: Make it so.
Remember the Random Acts of Kindness craze? Make a list and do one a month. Or a week. Or a day. There are tons of calendars, posters and blogs to get ideas (over 10 million on Google). Compliment someone, let someone go ahead of you in line, encourage someone, donate to a food drive, give blood, smile at someone, volunteer, pick up litter in your neighborhood, write a positive review online, send a thank-you card. Become the type of person you want to be.

Kathy Steffen is an award-winning novelist and author of the “Spirit of the River Series:” “First, There is a River,” “Jasper Mountain,” and “Theater of Illusion.” She writes from her home in Spring Green she shares with her husband and cats. Find out more at www.kathysteffen.com.