If you are like most people, there are things in your life that really aren’t working for you, and you want to do things differently. In theory, moving away from what makes us feel badly towards what makes us feel better should be easy. But we humans are a bit more complicated than that, are we not? Change can seem really hard sometimes, and we keep ourselves stuck in the self-sabotage, bad habits and ways of being that really aren’t serving us. Here are just a few tips to get you started off on the right foot change-wise.
Why do you want to change? This is a question that actually requires more thought than you think it does. Right off the top of your head, plenty of answers come up, such as being happier or healthier. Fine. But, that’s insufficient to really get the ball rolling. Those are surface reasons with no real meat or emotion behind them. You have to uncover your why at the deeper levels. You have to identify your core values and desires. Why do you want more money? Why do you want to be happier? Why do you want to be healthier? With each reason, ask why you want that and keep up the questioning until you can’t go any further. At this point, you will have gotten to know yourself a lot better, and you will have clarity. This powerful combination will keep you on task, and will make it easier to do what you need to do to get where you want to be.
Stress Management is Paramount
We have established lots of different behaviors and habits as a means of coping with stress, and most of them aren’t great. They are familiar and comforting, even if we know they are less than optimal, so we gravitate right towards them without a second thought. Finding healthier ways to cope with our stress is important.
But, before you even get there, you must make stress management a top priority. It is a huge barrier to positive change because when we feel crappy, we are less motivated to make good decisions. The optimism drains right out of us. When we are in a better state of mind, we are in a much better position to take the steps required of us to make the specific changes we seek.
Find what works best for you. Perhaps it is finding more time for your favorite hobbies, taking a trip to the spa with your best friend once a month, scaling back on commitments that no longer resonate with you, joining a yoga studio or simply spending more time in nature.
Pencil anti-stress activities into your routine—make a ‘must do’ list, not just a ‘to do’ list.
Keep It Simple
If you go from never having run a mile to trying to do a marathon, you are likely to end up sore, battered, bruised and frustrated. You’ll give up. Same goes with making changes. Don’t try to do things that seem like too much of stretch right now; don’t do too much too fast. This may seem like the way to go, but you will actually make faster progress with incremental steps. This does not mean slow, just moving up the ladder gradually.