The phrase ‘life-changing’ can raise all kinds of emotions – excitement, anxiety, a feeling of being overwhelmed. When we think of changing our lives, we often default to big, drastic acts that we hope will bring about 360 degrees of change. But that’s not always what we need. Nor is it often achievable. There’s no better way to set yourself up for failure than by aiming for unrealistic, unachievable goals in an attempt to effect change. Real change takes small, regular steps in the right direction. In fact, while you can start too big, you can’t start too small.
The key is to choose things that are almost impossible to fail at. And once you’ve mastered those, slowly add on until you've reached your goal.
Here are five achievable ways you can set about changing your life today:
Set one intention a day
We’re all tempted to start the day off with a to-do list as long as our arm, and then feel very disheartened at the end of the day when we’ve only checked off a few things. But when did we start measuring a good day by how productive we’ve been? Harness the power of intention setting - but start small. Set one intention the night before – like spending five minutes meditating before you get up or drinking eight glasses of water throughout the day – and then aim to meet that. Once you’ve mastered one, add another until you’ve built up an arsenal of healthy habits that just happen.
Is there anything better than a good stretch? There are simple things that can have a significant impact on our lives. Taking five minutes to stretch those stiff limbs after a day in front of the computer is a great way to wind down and keep your joints limber. You’ll be surprised at what a difference getting those kinks and cricks out can make. Try this yoga video as a good starting point.
Skip the snooze button
Now, this is easier said than done. But there is no denying - avoiding that snooze button has its benefits. In her book, ‘The 5 Second Rule’, Mel Robbins explains how hitting snooze really can result in us starting our day in a groggier state than if we’d woken up with the alarm clock. We then take longer to get going and have to deal with the frustration of a slow, unproductive morning. So, don’t roll over and go back to sleep. You snooze? You lose.
Be consistent with your personal goals
How many times have you set a new year’s resolution only to give up a few weeks in? Consistency is the key to achieving goals, and it takes planning and persistence. Set yourself up for success by giving yourself every chance to be consistent. Writing out your goals and scheduling time to work towards them is an excellent place to start. Say you want to write a book or learn a new instrument? Scheduling regular writing or practicing time into your calendar will help you keep working towards your end target. You’ll need to take yourself seriously though and stick to your guns. It will be worth it in the end.
Find something you’re passionate about
Don’t panic - this is not as ‘pie-in-the-sky’ as it sounds. Finding something you’re passionate about can bring joy and fun to your life, not to mention the potential for a whole new set of friendships. If you feel like you don’t do enough of something you love, then start by carving out time to do it. Not sure what that ‘thing’ is just yet? Well, it’s time to get out there and try new things. Join a sports club, a book club or take some classes. Do any of your friends have a particular passion they’re pursuing? Perhaps you could join them for an afternoon to learn more about it. You never know – it might be right up your alley. But if it’s not, then don’t be afraid to move on. The whole point here is to find something you love doing and want to do with others. That way you’ll meet like-minded people and have the satisfaction of spending time on something you enjoy. It’s the whole definition of fun.
These suggestions may seem a bit simplistic when it comes to finding ways to change your life. But remember, it’s the small, consistent actions that can result in real, and lasting change. And it’s a much more effective approach than setting large, unrealistic goals that will leave you feeling disheartened and disappointed. Take it one step at a time, and you may soon notice the difference.