How to Use Vacations to Your Advantage (& Stop Feeling Guilty About Taking Them)

This week I am in Lake Tahoe, it's been quite a whirlwind and the lake couldn't have arrived at a better time (in case you missed my July, catch up here! What to Do When Challenges in Someone Else's Life Affect Your Work). When in places as naturally beautiful and peaceful as this, it allows for some things along with the known carefree vacation bliss. One of those things is a vacation from everyday thoughts. The space, disruption of routine, and time out can be an opportunity. And sometimes, when I light this kind of fire in my own thinking, I feel compelled to light a fire under you guys. To remind you that this is not a dress rehearsal...I also want to provide you tools to help leverage your brain for success. The following is a worksheet that I use with my clients to jumpstart action and change...I think this week is a good time for me to use it myself. Perhaps you'll ask yourself the same. Check it out:

5 Questions to Overcoming Avoidance worksheet

Success comes from taking action. Without action, goals stay dreams while life steadily ticks by. While we can always find ways to keep busy, there are a few actions that deep down we know are vital. If it is taking up space in your mind and thought, it is requiring energy and attention should be given to it. 

When we associate pain with an action (aka fear) it becomes very difficult to overcome. Since fear is almost always the way to our best next step for development, it’s important to look at what it is telling us…not just to automatically shy away from it because we are scared. Remember, our 6 million year old brain is hardwired to avoid fear and pain! When contemplating a risk, your brain is experiencing something close to a flight response, your first step to win this is to relax and get the energy moving in a toward (not flight) state.

When you bring forth potential rewards rather than risks you calm the limbic system of your brain and can then begin thinking in terms of possibility and good fortune. This is one of those simple yet not at all easy tactics. Action becomes the means to a greater end, in combination with knowing your why, you can now find worth in taking action rather than avoidance. Your brain has now begun moving to a towards state.

What are you avoiding? Answer the following 5 questions. It may take some effort but keep at it, ultimately you will make the shift.

1. How often do you find yourself thinking of this? Are you replacing the action with time fillers, yet it keeps resurfacing?

2. What pain have you linked towards taking this action?

3. What pleasure have you found avoiding this action? (In your mind, the status quo may be safe and therefore renders you to favor inertia. Be careful of this lulled state of complacency.)

4. How will you feel once you have taken this step? (NOTHING inspires you like your progress.)

5. What pleasure or positive results will come from completing these actions? (Brainstorm here. The more on this list, the more motivating it will be to complete. Think big, no limits because it’s all about what could be!)