Making a significant change in our lifestyle is something many of us are after. We try to improve many aspects of our lives, and going down that road we find that the fastest way that can take us there is the progress done on daily basis. And this in a way implies making changes in our lives, our lifestyle, and our routine.
As creatures of comfort it is always hard to abandon the familiar and undertake some new methods, pave new roads. These changes can range from just tiny adjustments, to serious shifts in the way we perceive and do things, so it’s quite understandable that we feel a slight doze of resentment even towards the very idea of a change.
Every change requires level of discomfort whether it is on physical or psychological aspect.
Another thing that is likely to set our undergoing effort on zero is of course the fear of failing, and approaching changes in our lives without any strategy is exactly what we are about to do- fail. However, if we are to decide that change is what we want or need in our lives, and realize that it’s not that hard to achieve it, then it can be done quite easily.
But why I say that a healthy lifestyle change is so hard? Well, understanding and observing human behavior, we will come to realize that we rarely even make little adjustments to our lives.
We get up in the mornings, go to work, or start working on some projects, we consume our meals the way we do, eating the diet we are used to, interact with people in the same fashion more or less, enjoying the free time as we are always used to, do the same routine before we go to bed, and all of this with some slight variation that more often than not is unnoticeable.
Those are mostly routines that we formed in our childhood and some picked up along the way. Once a routine is formed, it’s hard escaping from it and forming a new one to replace the old – even harder.
It is clear of course that many of us want almost the same things from life. The picture of success, fulfilled life, healthy and fit body, relationships that give meaning and lifestyle that embodies all of that is probably more or less on the wish list of all of us.
It is easy to envision the success. But actually getting there is a whole different story. A path of lesser resistance is what the most likely explanation is, I guess. We practice holding up to that never changing wheel, our daily routine that is.
So how to actually slip some new habits in our lives, and make them stay for good? How to make ourselves not to dread that first step towards unfamiliar any more, and how to gather the courage we need in order to leave the comfort zone of the repetitive and familiar once and for all?
First of all we must realize that doing that is not so hard. Second we must realize that it cannot be done overnight, but rather one baby step at a time. And last we must not fail to realize that persistency is the thing we are about to need the most.
7 insightful ways to approach the change:
- Make the plan and the strategy first. Know exactly where you are headed, and what the journey is most likely to look like. Try and imagine the final results, try and imagine the difficulties that may occur, imagine the outcome way ahead. Embrace the idea of a healthy lifestyle change fully, and without question. Try and motivate yourself to do so.
Start small, and expand the time and the interval of your routine. Here is the start. Your mind already starts to react as expected. It finds the new routine, the change in the system, like something hostile, foreign. So in the start just go small, and don’t allow the mind to recognize the huge difference right away.
This means just putting on the running shoes and doing a stretch instead of going for a run for example. It means changing your diet one ingredient at a time. Once you do that try and make it a consistent habit. The second that is done, go and expand the whole thing in the direction you planned. This way the resistance is minimal, and the mind almost fully accepts the change, and even supports you in fully developing it.
- Stick to the schedule. This means not allowing yourself to be swooped by enthusiasm that comes from the initial results and forgetting about going small. Keep the baby steps on at a time until you are sure you got that right. Give it a week for example.
- Choose something to represent a trigger, that will instantly prepare your mind that your habit (new routine) is about to take place. Drink a glass of juice before starting to work, or light a scent candle before preparing to meditate. That way you are always preparing the mind what you are about to do next and it feel like second nature, the new routine that is.
- Do one change at a time. This is important. As appealing as improving every area of your life at once seems to be, in practice it results with slight disappointment. Changing all we are used to, even with the greatest of motivation and knowledge is just too much for ourselves. So do one change at a time, and once you form the habit of getting there, and feel the success instead of failing, it will be more easy to push more things at once.
- Surround yourself with people that are likely to support the healthy change you are about to make in your lifestyle. For example avoid people that are more lazy if you want to go for running every day. Avoid people that are more nervous if your goal is to be more calm and relaxed… You get the picture. Also it’s quite helpful to announce that you are about to make some change to people that support you. That way you will feel a certain obligation not to fail them as well as yourself.
- Reward yourself. And here only you define the extent of what reward means. Treat yourself with a nice book, movie, a nap, go to a massage… Whatever you find suiting really. That way you are acknowledging that the new habit is now something that is a part of your life, not something that you dreaded up till now.
How do you approach change? What is your experience with changing some aspect of your life? If there is something you want to share please do. Also keep in mind these steps and principles if you want to make a sustainable change in some aspect of your life.