I think it's safe to say that we've all be on the cusp of change and feeling like it was still so far away. Change is scary, it's big, and it can be overwhelming. These are the thoughts that I find flooding my mind when I'm on the brink of having an 'a-ha' moment. When I know I need to change something but it seems so big and daunting to even begin.
What I tell myself is this: Pause. Breathe. Begin
It's so easy to get caught up in the overwhelming feelings associated with the changes you need or want to make. Whether it's within your diet or someplace deep within your mind, the only way to get to the other side is to trek on and start the work.
It's said that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. That is why you see so many cleanses and detox programs that are for twenty-one days, with the hope that by the conclusion of the program, you will have created a new way of looking at your diet and yourself. Anyone can do something for twenty-one days. And for some, this works.
I believe in taking small steps that create lasting change. Some believe that you need to just go cold turkey but I'm not so sure. Of course there are exceptions to this rule like with drug and alcohol addiction, sometimes cold turkey is a matter of life and death.
However, with changes that pertain to matters of the heart, mind and diet, I believe small steps are key for longevity and lasting change.
Whenever change is imminent, I think it's important to look at the big picture, what do you want your life to look like and then determine what it will take to get there. How you get there can be determined by doing this little exercise.
Take out a pen and a piece of paper and draw five columns. At the top of each column write these words: relationship, career, physical activity, diet, spirituality.
In each column write out one to two things that you know you want to work on. Don't over think it, let your intuition guide you and keep it something that is just big enough that causes a little discomfort but not so big that it will overwhelm you. Remember, we are taking small steps that will create a ripple effect in our lives.
For example, maybe you've been wanting to cut back on coffee, going from 3 cups a day to 1. That would be your goal and your action steps may look something like drink one cup in the morning then replace other two with herbal tea or warm water with lemon. Or, you can begin by cutting back to two cups and then eventually move to one.
Another example could be that you want to be more physically active. Your action step could be to begin with two 20 minute walks a week and increase when you feel you can go further or add another day in.
So the question is, how long do you do this for? You do this until you don't have to even think about doing it anymore because it's a part of you, it's a new, healthier habit.
Now it's your turn. Take out a piece of paper and a pen and create your columns and small goals. Then write your 1-2 action steps for each one and begin to take action!
If you can't fill in each column don't worry. Just fill in the ones that pertain to your life. When you feel like you've created a new habit and your goals are no longer relevant, create new goals. This is, in many ways, a lifelong process.
Remember, start small and be kind to yourself. If you stumble, just pick yourself back up and begin again. Change takes time.
I'd love to hear from you and learn what some of your goals are. Please feel free to leave a comment below!