Randy Brazzel MA, LPC, LMFT

Definition of Renewal: 1) to restore or replenish. 2) to revive or make fresh again.

In today’s rapidly changing world, the wear and tear of life creates an ever increasing need for renewal. We frequently will take the time and energy to maintain our possessions, such as our cars, but we often forget to renew ourselves. Listed below are 15 steps to replenishment.

  1. Take Personal Inventory: Ask yourself the following questions.
  2. Am I where I thought I would be at this time in my life?
  3. Am I happy or am I stressed out and filled with apathy?
  4. Are my needs being met in the following areas?
    • Intimacy
    • Emotionally
    • Sexually
    • Spiritually
    • Physically
    • Intellectually
    • Career
  5. Take an Inventory of Your Strengths and Accomplishments: It is often easy for us to see our failures, but difficult for us to remember those things that we do well. All of us have strengths, many of them unique to us. It is easier to maximize strengths if we can remember what they are. Ask friends to indentify your strengths for you. They can often see talents that you are unaware of. In addition, ask yourself the following questions.
    • What things am I good at?
    • What do I really enjoy doing?
    • What motivates me?
    • What things have I done well in the past that I really enjoyed doing?
    • What were the strengths that I used during these times?
  6. Use Imagery: You can keep hope in your life by visualizing change and renewal occurring. We will go where we are looking. If all we see is things staying the same then that is usually what we find. If, on the other hand, we visualize ourselves as being filled with renewed energy we will create what we see.
  7. Make Long Term Goals: Imagine how you would like your life to be in five years. What would be different? What would be better? What would stay the same? What would you add more of? Begin to set priorities and be realistic. While you might like to be retired and living on a tropical island, it may not be a goal you can realistically reach in 5 years. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are unreachable.
  8. Begin to Set Short Term Goals: After you have decided where you want to be in 5 years, begin to set short term goals that will help you attain the goals you have for the future. Start by setting goals that you would like to accomplish in 1 year and then break down the tasks that are involved into measurable actions that you can begin to take immediately. Remember, goals that are not followed by action are nothing more than fantasies.
  9. Learn to Manage Time Effectively: It is hard to create the life you want if you spend most of your time doing activities that don’t line up with your dreams. We tend to be happiest when our goals and our actions are in alignment. As a result, in order to effectively renew your life, you need to spend your time wisely.
  10. Learn to Distinguish Urgent vs. Important Tasks: Many times we get caught up in activities that don’t support our goals in life. Focus on those activities that are important to you, rather than letting the distractions of life dictate your actions.
  11. Schedule Your Priorities: Many people prioritize their schedule, but then don’t schedule time to implement those priorities. Effective time management involves scheduling your priorities and then following the schedule. A good question to ask is “What is the best use of my time right now?”
  12. Find a Role Model: You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Find someone who is doing what you want to be doing. Find out how they got to be where they are and what they are doing that works. Don’t be afraid to borrow behaviors that lead to renewal.
  13. Take Small Risks: Add new things and new people to your life. Renewal comes with change. Your self-esteem will go up if you take small risks and allow yourself time to experience small success. Don’t let fear make decision for you. Fear is a primitive emotion that helps us survive. If all of our decisions are based on fear, then all we do is just survive life rather than live it.
  14. Be Willing to Grieve Old Losses: Grieving is a normal process of change and renewal. Trees grow fuller when they have been pruned of dead or unnecessary limbs. Grieving a loss whether it be a perceived loss or an actual loss, allows for renewal to begin. You have to make room for the new by getting rid of the old. For example have you become a pack rat; saving things just in case you need them 20 years from now? You might want to go through your personal items and see how much you are holding onto rather than saying goodbye to them. If you haven’t used something in the past year and or you didn’t even remember that you had it, then it’s probably just taking up space. Prepare for the future by letting go of the past.
  15. Develop New Traditions and Rituals: Whenever you let go of something old it leaves a vacuum in your life. You have to be willing to replace old behaviors with new ones or the old thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will return. Don’t go out to the garbage dump to pick up the stuff you threw away, just because you feel empty. Leave room for new traditions to develop. If you try something and it doesn’t work, try something else rather than returning to the old behaviors.
  16. Develop New Self-Talk: Stop worries before they snowball. It is much easier to stop a train that is just starting to roll, than it is to try to stop a train that has a full head of steam. The quicker that you can spot the anxieties of failure and the self-talk of defeatism, the quicker you can change it. Remember, we can affect how we feel by how we talk to ourselves. So don’t underestimate the power of self-encouragement.
  17. Play: Most decisions that we make are not life and death decisions, so don’t treat them as if they are. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Learn to laugh and have fun.
  18. Use Self-Evaluation: Continually evaluate your progress toward your goals. Reward yourself for your efforts, not just for your accomplishments. Be willing to adjust your goals to fit any changes that might have occurred.