Real change is all about baby steps
Whether or not you can see it, you’re at the helm of a ship and with each passing moment, you alter your path. The bend that your life takes is the product of all the tiny decisions you make each day —things that might seem trivial or meaningless in the moment, but en masse produce the results you see in your life, today.
As the new year stands before us, instead of attempting to sprint toward a goal to be different than you are now (a goal that is likely based on the should’s of the year past), I challenge you to instead make a few small shifts in your behavior in favor of bettering yourself. Just having that goal in the back of your mind will affect the bend of your path —but any and all small changes are what you are going to commit to, starting now. Things as tiny as one cup of coffee instead of two. Or smiling and feeling grateful first thing in the morning vs. checking your email.
If you’re not sure what to shift, start with a conscious desire to simply choose better. Keep it small and simple: something you might not miss too much, that you feel you can stick to. It’s all about being consistent until that positive change becomes a part of you. Once you have successfully overruled an old habit in favor of the new choice, you will find that you automatically move on to more self-bettering. Self-empowering habits inspire more empowering habits —it’s just what happens when you take on new skills: your capacity grows.
Just like you would collect pennies in a jar as a kid, choose to collect one valuable currency each day —a habit that will be of some value to you in your life. If you feel you want to be more positive, make it a gratitude ritual. If you want to save more money, choose to trim a daily purchase you make that you feel is a bit wasteful. But again, keep these small and easy to implement on a regular basis. Don’t give up soda if you absolutely love soda and work at a soda factory. This is about momentum building —and when it comes to making behavior shifts, you have to be practical. If you’re not sure what to choose, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- A waking gratitude ritual. As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, smile and speak aloud one gratitude for the gift of life.
Results? A raised bar for positivity. If it feels silly and like it’s a waste of time, fake it! It doesn’t matter —overtime you’ll feel more positive, plus when you smile, your body doesn’t know the difference between fake and not.
- One more hour (or half an hour) outside in the sun each day.
Results? More happy-chemicals being produced in your body, plus a simple, effective treatment for brain-chatter via being a living-breathing-part-of-nature.
- A mindful walk / stretch / break of some kind that involves blood-flow to break up your workday. Set an alarm for every hour or even every other hour.
Results? Your body will be better able to metabolize, your mind will stay sharper, your circulation will improve and your vision will also probably stay stronger for longer. (If you stare at a computer all day like me, you are warping the shape of your eyeballs.)
• One less ______. (One less cup of coffee/glass of wine/packet of sugar/hour of TV/etc.)
Results? Stronger self-control and improved health. Regardless of your vice, if you choose to simply reduce by one, change is a lot easier to commit to —and one less definitely counts as progress! This is about ensuring you can live happily and stay consistent, while you cut back on something you know isn’t necessarily good for you.
• A decision to let everyone in —in traffic, always.
Results? You feel good about yourself because you are acting like a kind person. Try it! I know this is a weird one, but once you decide a blanket rule for yourself like this, ironically life gets easier —and you get to skip a whole lot of ambivalent energy-draining judgment when you’re on the road. Overtime, you’ll likely grow into a much happier, kinder person in many more ways than you would ever imagine.
Great successes in your life result from the small everyday actions, amassed over time. That’s how you got to where you are right now! A bunch of tiny decisions made in a row. So as you think about yourself and what you want more of in your life, think on something small and positive that you will become conscious of (and choose to shift) that you will gift to yourself each day.
Get excited! Because you’re about to grow a new muscle —and it’s going to get easier and easier to use it with each new day. 🙂
Sending you my love and vibes of positivity: this year to come is going to be the best one yet!! xox Sarah-May B.
Featured image “What About Bob” via