So you’ve decided it’s time to make a change in your life. Perhaps you’ve decided to make multiple changes. The road on this trip we call life has become somewhat bumpy for you and you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade yourself in order to enjoy the trip more. That’s all good and well, but without a plan, a map if you will, you might find yourself running in place. The following tips should help you start your journey with the right mindset.
1. Become self aware, in other words, know yourself.
Maybe you want to lose weight, maybe you just want to exercise more, whatever it is you want to do to change your life, make sure to do it in a way that suits you. If you don’t, the change won’t stick.
What do I mean? If you want to eat healthier but you’re not big into vegetables, don’t plan on becoming a vegetarian just because it’s what you see “healthy people” do on TV or because it “feels” like it might be the fastest way to achieve your goal. Instead, think of what you do like and find a way to improve your eating habits around that. Always limit the take out and fast food meals and when you do eat out, make the best choice possible for yourself. Even the most unhealthy fast food restaurants have acceptable options and you can also speak up and say “hold the mayo” and “water” instead of soda.
Perhaps your goal has to do with working out more, but being on a treadmill isn’t really your thing. No problem there, once again, think of who you are and what you like. If you like martial arts or MMA, then it’s time to find a gym where you can actually learn how to do the moves you see on TV. What’s the best part? You don’t have to want to be a fighter to train like one. Even better? The health benefits are incredible. Same goes for you soccer, tennis and wrestling fans, as well as fans of any number of physical activities. Don’t know if paying a gym or club membership is worth it? I mean, what if you don’t like it? I have a simple fix for you. Go to Meetup.com and join a group (or multiple groups) that are involved in the activity you’re thinking of and… Meet up! Usually you can find groups where they do the activity you like, usually for free. On top of that, the people you meet will probably change your life in a positive way, as you might make some like minded friends that will keep you motivated on your journey.
2. Change is a process. Take it one step at a time.
So, you believe your life needs a complete overhaul, from eating habits to exercise to learning new skills, you want to be an upgraded version of yourself. That’s great, and better still, it’s possible. Every single one of these goals and more are achievable, as long as your goals are clear.
The one thing to remember is that each of these goals are lifestyle changes. This makes them incredibly complex to achieve because they have to do with habits you’ve cultivated over months, years and sometimes your entire lifetime. So to achieve them, you really should focus on one large goal at a time. The best strategy is one goal, one month. Focus for one month in implementing and cultivating one change in your life. That way you can cross the stress and discomfort threshold and by the end of the month you will feel good about continuing that new habit while taking on the challenge of starting on a new challenge. It will not be easy, but it will be rewarding if the changes you are making really are that important to you.
3. Remind yourself why you’re making a change.
The goals and changes you want to make are about you, not others, you. That’s why it’s important to understand the need to focus on knowing yourself. The changes you make should be based on your own motivation, your goals and where you see yourself in the short and long term future.
So if you want to change your life, you have to set your goals. Make them clear, make them achievable and make them about what’s important to you! So when the process seems difficult, when you feel like you don’t want to wake up early, you will be able to remind yourself of why you are doing this. It has to be about you first, it’s the only way you can make long lasting changes in your life.
4. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Change your life. That’s a lofty statement and an even loftier goal to have. It’s not easy to achieve and you will stumble along the way. Don’t worry too much about falling down or succumbing to temptation as it happens to the best of us. The key to making lasting change happen in your life is to stop beating yourself up about a momentary lapse and instead keep moving forward, even when you think might fall again. Like falling into an unhealthy meal (pizza, chinese food, anything from Heart Attack Grill). After you eat that unhealthy meal, you might feel like a failure, you might feel like you have compromised your goals but the truth is, you have only put them a little further away. You can still achieve them, as long as you get up, get back on your path and start moving forward again.
The moment you get off your path, the moment you stop moving forward and make the decision not to continue, that’s when you fail, and even then, the path will still be there, waiting for you to return. The only thing you’d be doing is letting your goals get further and further away, still attainable, but requiring more effort. Keep trying and keep achieving by setting smalls goals. Before you know it, the new path you’re on, the new lifestyle you are trying to achieve will become your lifestyle, with nothing new about. It will be your new normal. A new and improved you that will be the new normal for everyone who knows you too.
Only one thing is constant in life and that is change. Focus all your energy on making sure all the changes that you can control in your life are positive ones. It will take time to see the results, it will take effort to overcome the obstacles that will surely get in your path but it will be worth it for the overall results you will achieve. You deserve to be the best version of you, never forget that, never doubt that and never believe those who make you feel like the truth is something else. When you change your life for the better, you change how you interact with the world and how the world interacts with you. Be better and be happy.