4 Tips for Tiny Changes that Create Big Shifts When Everything Seems to Suck
By: Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
I am going to be honest. I just scrapped most of this post to rewrite it. I was trying to put a much happier face on the way I’ve been feeling recently than was honest. I had some glossy client stories to share. I kept it light. But I’m not feeling all that light as of late.
I’ve got two things going on. I’m all packed to move but my house hasn’t yet sold AND I’m having some trouble feeling like everything is rosy when the world seems like a steaming pile of rotting crap a lot of the time right now.
See? You might have been happier with the glossy client stories, right?
Now I acknowledge with my political leanings, my Facebook feed might now be a good indicator of the mood of humanity. There are happy republicans out there and those who can truly dial off the news who might be feeling just fine. But the feed looks pretty anxious right now and it seems to be a pretty good indicator of the state of the hive mind, even outside my world. A lot of us are feeling less joy than we’d like to be for a variety of reasons.
I talked to a friend the other day who suggested she wanted an entirely different life right now. She’s been feeling funky for quite awhile. She realized it might not happen overnight. However, she wanted to feel different about every part of her life as quickly as possible and was willing to do anything to get there.
Quit her job? Sure!
Move to Spain? Why not?
Break up with her fiance? Not off the table.
Train for a marathon in three weeks? Totally reasonable.
And when we’re in the dumps the big changes are very seductive. It can be easy to think it’s time for massive shifts and big upgrades.
However, that’s not the way the system really works. Big changes are hard to make and they are even harder to sustain. Big changes often don’t include the kind of incremental upgrades that really create a life transformed. Big changes look really bright and shiny, but they often set us up to fail. So while I’ve been that girl that wanted to wake up tomorrow all different than I am today, I’ve learned from experience, that baby stepping it up to feeling better is a much more effective way to go.
It’s also frustratingly less exciting on its face. When you want to remodel your whole life, focusing on one small change at a time can feel like a waste of time. Small changes don’t capture my attention the way a big goal does. However, small shifts actually change a life faster in most cases than big ones do. Incremental changes are easier to make especially when you’re overwhelmed. Incremental changes catch the wind and get momentum. They get more powerful and more powerful each and every small step along the way.
When we take on big life shift and we fail, we often end up in a cycle failing and starting over, failing and starting over, getting there and slipping back, getting there and slipping back, and so on. While it might seem like you make more progress faster by taking bigger bites, usually that’s not the case.
Not to mention, a lot of people don’t have the energy for the big changes right now. Many of us are managing some form of survival mode and that is an energy suck of epic proportions. As much as I’d like to vibrationally strong arm my alignment for where I am to unicorns and fairy dust, I don’t have the juice to do that kind of work right now. I don’t think I’m alone.
So, I’ve been having to practice baby steps myself recently. While the slow path to change isn’t quite as sexy as the fast lane to big shifts, I am starting to see the payoffs in a big way. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, sluggish, and honestly, maybe a little depressed. As much as I want everything to be different right now, I decided to focus on one thing.
Get up earlier.
Getting up earlier is not an easy thing for me. However, it’s one thing and it’s doable. Once I’m up, it’s fine – it’s just that sixty seconds between sleep and being upright that suck for me.
But I decided to do the hard thing for sixty seconds – consistently.
Here’s the thing, since I’ve been getting up earlier:
I’m exercising more.
My meditation practice is rocking.
I’m starting my day with fresh juice instead of Dr. Pepper.
I feel more engaged in my day in general.
And those things came shockingly easy.
If you’d asked me a few weeks ago if up-leveling my ailing exercise routine could be easy – I’d have said of course not.
If you’d asked me a few weeks ago if I’d find the motivation to start juicing in the morning without being late getting my day rolling – I’d have said no.
If you’d asked me a few weeks ago if I would ever be a morning meditator, I would have said, hell no.
But it was a baby step that created big shifts – and the big shifts came almost effortlessly. I mean, what’s a girl going to do when she’s up so early in the morning?
Now, has all this magical change completely made everything in my life feel instantly awesome? Nope. Not everything and not instantly. However, I’m feeling better – certainly better than I would be if I wasn’t doing these things.
So, here is a simple guide to taking a tiny step in better direction.
1. Make sure it’s a step, not a goal.
Losing weight is not one step. Switching out your morning latte for green tea is one thing.
2. Pick something NOT directly related to whatever you think your biggest issue is.
If you’re seriously stressed about money – do not decide to start saving for retirement a few dollars at a time.
Take a tiny step regarding anything else. Get some momentum going in a place that has less resistance and see what happens.
3. Even if it’s a tiny new thing, if you’re doing it consistently reward yourself like you just climbed Everest.
New habits form faster if they are associated with pleasure. Rewards work and we tend to withhold rewards for “big” wins. Reward yourself liberally every week you are consistent with your small upgrade.
You can cut the time it takes to form a habit almost in half by giving yourself a payoff for consistency.
4. Don’t give up or move on too soon.
You may want to keep working on your one tiny thing longer than you think you need to before picking your next little tiny upgrade – probably twice as long. There’s no rush. The longer you linger the more likely you’ll notice secondary gains from your little shift.
If you’re trying to take one tiny step in a new direction that turns out to be harder than it should be to be consistent with, that doesn’t mean you should dump it. Stick with it longer than you think you should before trying something new. Things usually hit a clicking point when your momentum catches up with your resistance to change.
More by Lisa:
Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.
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