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Change, one step at a time

Feeling overwhelmed by all the things you want to change, do, buy? Do you have a million mental and not so mental to do lists floating around? Yet, nothing is really getting done? Does it make you angry at yourself? If so, you are among friends. I believe that majority of us in the modern world are feeling the pressure.

With more and more exposure (TV, radio, books, websites, blogs, etc.) to all the things that we should be doing we forget we are human, and although change does not have to take a lot time, when you are trying to change almost everything and do a million things at once nothing is really getting done. Real change can generally manifest one step at a time.

I am so guilty at having a million changes I want to make, like:

  • Eat better (I made a million changes there already but there appears to always be room to improve).
  • Drink more water.
  • Sleep more, sleep at better hours, and wake up earlier.
  • Practice yoga, meditate, and stretch.
  • EXERCISE (it is in bold because this one is screaming at me).
  • Just clear my home office and emails already!
  • Watch TV less.
  • Read more.
  • Write more.
  • Relax.
  • Eliminate toxins from my life.
  • And so on and so on, I can fill many pages with these….

Well, here is what I do. First, I write everything down, this way most of it stops floating in my head and make me crazy.

Second, I try to organize the things I wrote down by when and if I want to do them. So I have a list of things that if I do them great, but if I don’t, nothing will change really. Once a month or so I look at that list, cross out any items I did or do not want to do anymore. I then look if there is anything that needs my attention and maybe needs to move to the next list and then I move on.

Then I have a few different pages by categories. For example, I have one for books I want to read and things I want to research; I have one that is more of shopping list but for things that need more research or time; I have one right in front of my face in the office that are things I have to do soon so I try to do one or two a day; and then I have one with life changes I would like (this looks more like the list above but “a little” longer).

I go over all these lists about once a month, clear them, reorganize them, and add/remove items. I make sure that the only list I see on a regular basis is the short list of things I have to do short term. This takes a lot of pressure off, clears my head, and helps me move forward without spending all my time being overwhelmed and not wanting to do anything.

You have to realize that changing your life completely and at once is not realistic in many cases. If you are moving away and changing everything already it might work as you will have to adapt to almost everything new. Also if you are going on a long trip (I mean months), you can probably do some major changes when you come back and no longer in the old habit loop. But stirring all these new changes in when you are in the same place in life can stir a lot of difficult emotions. When I try to turn my life inside out I start getting scared, insecure, weirdly emotional, and I start doubting myself.

From experience, the changes I can say that really stuck so far in my journey are the ones I took slowly and one at a time. Like drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, or going to sleep earlier, taking supplements, becoming vegan, etc. I am far from where I want to be, but I feel good about having little changes that stuck instead of a lot of changes that I give up on because changing too much is just plain and simple too overwhelming.

So, make a list, or a lot of lists, and cross items off one at a time. Remember to not overcrowd your more immediate list, keep it small and everything else can go to the lists you check when you are done with this one.

So, what change will you do next?

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