I believe it was Coldplay who sang those fateful words that nobody said it was easy, sadly, no one ever explained just how hard it would be – to change, that is. There are probably plenty of things about yourself that you would like to change, and they seem small, inconsequential even, especially to others. Yet, you want to change them because you feel that these changes combined could really help you move forward in life.
Maybe you're interested in bigger changes – like learning a new language or losing weight and training to run a marathon. Something has always prevented you from following through, though.
What is it?
Instead of framing the change in baby steps we get caught up in the grandiosity of our plans. So, the idea of trimming the fat and training for a marathon seems like an insurmountable task – well, it is, if that's how you're selling it to yourself.
It's All About The Baby Steps
I'm going to keep referencing the weight loss and marathon example because it's a great way to break things down. If this was your goal then you would need to start at the beginning and that means with one small step every day – that begins with weight loss, though this will fuel your marathon training, too.
You could start with something as simple as hopping on a treadmill every morning for five minutes. Once you've cemented that habits you can increase it to 10 minutes, from there 20, and beyond. Here are some additional baby steps that you can take to make serious changes in your life.
• Ditch The Negativity – It won't be easy because we are negative in ways that we don't understand, realize or even notice most of the time. Being immersed in negativity leaves you at great risk of stress, depression, and illness.
So, the first baby step you can take is to make the decision to be positive every single morning – and be mindful of your actions as you progress through your day – make decisions that will enforce your new mindset. Here are small ways you can do that -
▪ Help someone else every day – suspend a coffee, go out of your way to lend a hand, listen to someone.
▪ Be accountable – stop shifting the blame and accept responsibility for your actions.
▪ Be grateful – list three things you have to be grateful for.
▪ View problems as challenges.
• Be Kind – People are act kindly are happier in the long run – it feels great to be good to other people, it leaves you feeling more positive. It costs nothing to be nice, so the next time someone is sharp with you, take a breath before you respond, throw your cashier a thank you and a bigger smile than normal – it's so easy to do and it's something that can trigger a major change in you as a person.
• Support – We underestimate how damaging stress can be to our lives – and one of the most effective ways to manage stress is by having a strong support network. There's a lot to be said for having a strong community to provide us with belonging, security, guidance, advice, and anything else we need as we need it.
• Eliminate Nonessentials – If you want to effect real change in your life – it's time to identify what is essential to you and then get rid of everything else. How badly do you really need that doodle your ex from middle school drew on your math homework? Don't downplay what clutter from your past could be doing to you – and just think of how much extra stuff you have to pack and move... why are you allowing this stuff to build up and leave you with emotional clutter? Clear the decks. Clutter creates stress.
The key to persevering with the changes you would like to achieve is taking regular baby steps. When you find yourself focused solely on the big picture it's easy to feel overwhelmed.
While big-picture thinking can be seen as a positive, it's just as important to be able to break it all down into the baby steps you can take that will keep you motivated. This is how we stay focused, this is how we stay driven, this is how we win.