Change – 3 Ways To Make It Last
You are totally geared up to make a change in your life – start doing something new, stop doing something or even make minor tweaks to an exciting habit/routine – only for the whole thing to backfire shortly after. Aka you find yourself back where you started, but minus your motivation this time. Sounds familiar?
I’ve totally been there. Many times! I’ve learnt something very valuable throughout the years – the All or Nothing approach, more often than not, Does.Not.Work.
This applies to everything, and it is especially true for any behavioural changes in the wellness arena. UNLESS, you’re totally out of your normal environment, away from your usual responsibilities, and basically all things adulting and life. Hence why a lot of health, fitness & mindfulness retreats/boot-camps tend to work and effect some change in a short period of time. You’re not dealing with life and have all the space & time in the world to indulge in activities without any distractions.
So, how do we approach change in the best possible way? Because let’s face it – we are all naturally programmed to not like the change process, regardless of how excited and ready we are for the outcome.
Here’re some proven tips you may find useful!
1. Start Easy.
When it comes to wellness, less is more. Let’s say you want to quit smoking, start exercising, improve your sleep and start cooking more. How do you go about making all this happen?
When you think about it, ask yourself: ‘What is the one thing that would stress me out the least right now?’. Going to bed earlier? Fab. Start there and trust your body’s innate intelligence on this. Otherwise, you would’ve gotten a different insight, wouldn’t you?
If the thought of doing something is stressing you out (beyond just feeling a bit uncomfortable and out of your depth), it’s best to leave it for a while and revisit it again later. Unless it is absolutely critical that you make the change there and then.
Reason being is, stress tends to have a much worse impact on our health than not eating well, not exercising and smoking combined. When the body is stressed, all regular processes tend to get altered while the body is focused on helping us fight/escape that sabre-toothed tiger. Super intelligent, right? As a result, excessive stressing will make the whole process way more difficult, you’re likely to quit the whole thing altogether and ultimately stress WILL undo all your good efforts.
2. Crawling, not running marathons.
It makes sense, right, but in the modern day and age of fast-paced living so many of us overlook this. We’ve come to expect ‘quick fixes’ for everything. I, for one, am super impatient!
Whatever we are looking to change and achieve, it is likely not a very familiar territory for us. It’s natural for things to not work amazingly well in our favour overnight as our body and mind are adjusting to the changes. We need to allow time to get better and not get exhausted/fed up in the process.
Slow and steady wins the race. Small actions, repeated often are usually way better than big, bold moves, especially in the beginning. Approaching the process with a relaxed attitude very often takes the rigidity out of it and makes it actually enjoyable!
3. You will fall (and that’s OK).
That’s a given. And part of the process. Perfection only exists in fairy tales. How many times did you fall before you learnt how to ride a bike? Doesn’t matter now, does it? The point is, you got back up.
What we did yesterday is irrelevant. What we do today, now, is what matters. It’s super powerful to know that we have the power to choose and we can make a different choice if we want to.
These ‘failings’ do not derail us from the goal, unless we let them.
You decided to quit sugar, yet you had a piece of cake at the party yesterday. No big deal. Today? Aim to get back into the flow of energy that is congruent with the end result you’re after and from that place, make different choices. A piece of cake here and there, as with most things, will not have much of an impact on your overall wellbeing and desired outcome (unless you’re critically ill or allergic to the ingredients).