Has it been a challenge to make positive changes this year? Maybe you started a few but they’ve fallen away over the last few months. You’re not alone, I’m sure that we all had a different idea of how this year was going to turn out.
But, the good news is that there’s still plenty of time to turn it around. And, time in lockdown might have given you a new perspective...I know that it did for me and for that I’m grateful.
When you feel ready, making lasting changes can be much easier than you think and so i wanted to share a few tips to help you mindfully move forward and make the most of the rest of this year.
ASK YOURSELF WHY
It’s surprising how few of us really identify why we want to change but that’s what lies at the heart of our motivation and keeps us moving forward especially during the early days. Without a clear reason why you want to make a change, you’ll find it a lot harder to achieve.
For example, let’s say you want to eat a healthier diet. Why? Do you want to improve your wellbeing, lose a few pounds and feel more confident in yourself, or reduce your risk of future health concerns. Maybe all three! But, choose your main priority and write it down somewhere you can see it every day; on your phone, in your purse, on the fridge...you get the idea.
MAKE SMALL AND MANAGEABLE CHANGES
Change can feel overwhelming for most of us. But, try seeing the change you want to make like climbing a mountain and break it down into manageable steps to help you navigate the journey ahead. This is the way that I approach everything. It’s much easier to look ahead to the next step in the journey rather than stare up at the mountain wondering how on earth you’re going to make it!
HAVE A REALITY CHECK
Most of us miss this step when we’re trying to create change in our lives. Take a moment and have a reality check because life happens while we’re climbing that mountain of change. Anticipating potential challenges helps us stay on track rather than giving up at the first sign of trouble. So, make a note of what - or who - could prove a potential challenge and plan how you’ll navigate around it or right on through it if that’s your style!
This isn’t really an exercise in what could go wrong, simply a dry run of what’s likely to appear on the journey...like tackling social occasions when you’re giving up alcohol or making healthier food choices.
MOVE FORWARD EVERY DAY
When you’re making changes in your life, forward momentum is essential for keeping your motivation and energy going. Commit to taking a step every day. No matter how small they are, they all lead you towards your goal. At the beginning of every week, plan what these daily steps will be...run through the reality check that I mentioned above and then commit to them. I like to chart my progress and so I created a 30 day tracker that I keep visible and mark off each day that i’ve taken action - if you’d find it helpful then you can download and print a copy of it here.
I’m sure that not many of us have ever created lasting change in our lives without tripping up a few times along the way. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you do stumble, pick yourself back up and continue on the path. You don’t have to give up entirely or start over. Revisit the reason why you’re working on this change and plan your next few small steps - be sure to take one of those steps straight away, no waiting until Monday.
WRITE IT DOWN IN DETAIL
Writing down the changes and goals that you want to achieve actually makes it more likely that you’ll achieve them! And, it’s fun to get creative and let your imagination go while you write about the changes you want to make and how you’ll feel when you’ve achieved them.
Once you’ve had time to do this, be sure to create some firm steps to achieve it. It’s essential that this part is clear, so rather than write ‘I want to be more creative’ instead, write ‘I will spend two evenings a week from 7pm until 9pm drawing’ Now, that’s a plan, one that’ll be easier to achieve.
CELEBRATE THE MILESTONES
We all need a little acknowledgement once in a while, even when it comes from ourselves. But you don’t have to wait until the change is complete in order to celebrate. Put a few milestones into your plan and then decide what you’ll do to mark the occasion; something that feels important to you...I like to plan a day off to myself, a massage or sometimes a little gift - it depends on the changes that I’m working on.
However you mark the milestones on your journey, be sure to celebrate yourself and the progress that you’re making. It helps to boost your motivation and keeps you moving forward.
Remember, there’s still plenty of time left to create lasting change this year. Start by following these seven steps and see where they lead you - don’t forget to keep your reason why at the front of your mind and to celebrate your progress along the way.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.