How are you feeling today?
Do you feel alive, vibrant, ready to take on the world; or a bit sluggish and fatigued, perhaps wondering how you’re going to get through the day?
Grabbing a coffee might make you feel great for a few hours, and a glass of wine may give you the pep to get through your evening; but are you running on empty under the surface?
So many of us are feeling the crunch of this around the clock lifestyle. Technology has made us more sedentary, we’re bombarded with food choices that aren’t high on the nutrition scale, and our stress levels are going through the roof with little sign of abating.
We do more, rest less, and fill our lives up with activity. Yet, so often we procrastinate when it comes to our health, we make resolutions to improve, but the day rarely comes when we make the changes, or we last a few days and then we give up going back to the old traps.
Has this been your modus operandi?
When you feel good within yourself you’re more likely to be positive, happier, less prone to anxiety or depression, and feel like anything is possible. We become better partners, parents and friends, as we’re able to manage our emotions, and have more energy for the people and activities in life that we love.
Change though can often seem so daunting to put into place.
Small Shifts Make A Big Impact
However, are you aware that small changes can make an impact to your life?
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing process. You’re not going to feel happy if you’re deprived, and a complete overhaul overnight is rarely sustainable and unlikely to bring you long term results.
It’s all the little things that you do that add up over time. Remember that’s it’s not what you do every now and then, it’s the small daily habits that make up your life and your wellbeing.
So, how can we go about creating change without making it a daunting process?
Take Baby Steps
Rather than jumping in the deep end with unrealistic expectations, make small achievable goals.
For example, if you don’t exercise at all, rather than saying you’ll go to the gym 5 days per week which is unlikely to happen, perhaps the beginning step is taking 3 x 30 mins walks per week. Then you can slowly build up from there.
Or, if you would like to start a meditation program, you could begin with diaphragmatic breathing for a few minutes each day, noticing how this effects your stress levels, and brings about a sense of calm.
When you experience how the first incremental step makes an impact, it gives you a feeling of achievement, and spurs you on to go further.
Have An Accountability Buddy
This could be a friend, a colleague, or if you want to make significant changes perhaps you might like to invest in a health and wellness coach. Apart from the fact that it’s fun to do new things with someone else, it also gives you someone to be accountable to and helps you stay on track.
Add On To An Existing Good Habit
You’re in the habit of cleaning your teeth every day right? In fact, you wouldn’t leave home without it. So an effective way to create change is to connect your new goal on to an existing habit, as the original one is strongly wired in the brain over long periods of time.
Some examples could be: Before I take a shower each morning I will do 5 minutes of meditation. After I clean my teeth at night I will write down 3 things I am grateful for.
Add In, Rather Than Deprivation
You never want to feel deprived of anything, so if you’re taking something away, make sure you replace it with another option.
Especially if you are looking at changing the way you eat, you never want to go hungry, otherwise you’ll just crave (and end up eating) all the things you’re attempting to avoid. Have healthier options on hand, so if you have sweet cravings in the afternoon, rather than reaching for the chocolate or chips, perhaps give a handful of almonds a go to sustain you.
See your steps as experiments and enjoy the process. We’re all different and what suits one person’s body is going to be different for you. There are so many different diets, forms of exercise, and stress release available, and it can become confusing out there. Try something out, see how it goes and if it works for you. If you enjoy it, fantastic, if it doesn’t feel right, change it up and explore another way.
Have Compassion & Don't Give Up
If you don’t succeed the first time, miss a day, or have a rough week, have some compassion towards yourself. Sometimes your best plans or intentions get interrupted by life, and it's important to be kind and not beat yourself up. Tomorrow is a new day and you can just begin again, so don't feel you need to throw in the towel if you have a little set back.
Celebrate The Wins
You don't need to wait until you've reached the end goal to pat yourself on the back for your achievements. It's just as important to acknowledge all the little wins along the way and honour yourself for how well you are doing.
Make your health a priority and you will be rewarded in all areas of your life.
Your energy and vitality will improve, and you’ll feel good within yourself, ready to tackle anything.
Be that person that wakes up with a spring in their step, it is possible!