If there is one thing I like to do it is to help people see the many ways they can “do” their life better. And help them make changes so what they envision actually becomes a reality.
My work is all about helping you see where you are cluttered or unwell and create better routines and habits so you feel freer.
And more alive. So you can really love your life.
You deserve that.
Change is not easy. And of course we all know it is also the only constant we can rely on. Which is just so ironic. But when you think about having to make a change, even if you know you need to, you get scared. And caught up in the “how” – which can really stop you in your tracks.
This time of year it seems even more appropriate to address making changes. Especially when it comes to lifestyle and being “healthy”. To be clear, I don’t believe you need to, nor should you wait for the New Year to make changes. But I do understand how it all works, what the New Year signifies and how motivated you are to make promises of change.
It’s a good thing. And even better if you can stick to those goals and really make those lifestyle changes happen. For good.
Over time, those good intentions on doing life better tend to get lost, if you will, sometime around March – if not sooner. March is about the time when things are getting back to “normal”. Life becomes chaotic again. Work is hectic. You get back into a monotonous routine as you try to get through winter. “Doing” life in a fulfilling way starts to take a back seat; it starts to lose steam. It can be difficult to keep up with the demands to be successful in the ways you resolved just 3 months earlier.
That breakdown happens in part because the plan you set (around this time of year) might have been on rocky foundation. Here are 6 ways to help you build a better foundation for your goals, and keep that optimistic feeling you have in January going when March, August and even next December roll around.
1. Write out your goals and share them with those close to you.
When you were younger and needed to memorize something for school, or needed to get a more full understanding of a concept you probably heard that writing it out – as in long hand which is quite the lost art – would help you remember. It’s absolutely true. It’s a little thing that helps the brain solidify what it is you want to learn or memorize. And it is an excellent concept to embrace when it comes to your goals as well. Write out your goals, be clear and specific and include your why. Why do you want to make this change? Why is this goal so important? Writing them out makes you more likely to remember them. Seeing them, daily, helps to hold yourself a bit more accountable, as does sharing those goals with a trusted source, a partner, a best friend. Take seriously your desire to change and improve your life with this important step.
2. Assess your goals in February, and then again in July.
This tasks needs to go on your calendar now. Schedule an hour to do a “life” check in. Review those goals; make sure what you set out to do in January still applies to where you are, and who you. If necessary, tweak it to make it applicable to your life now. If you find yourself feeling less than jazzed about what you are doing, reconsider it. Ask yourself if what you are doing contributes to your overall well-being. Does it serve you? Asking those questions sounds selfish but you know that when you are at your best, you are more likely to do better for others. This time of assessment and checking in with your self – which can preferably be done more often than not – is integral to you making progress with becoming who you want to be. And it helps to stop any wheels that start to spin.
3. Break up your goals into manageable parts and schedule your tasks.
If your goal is to not only eat healthier but to live your lifestyle as a whole in a more healthy way you must start small. If your goal is to declutter your whole house, lighten your load so you can more clearly see what you own (and why) and have room to …breathe… you must start small. Whatever the goal, don’t bite off too much because if you do it can cause extreme overwhelm, the ultimate goal stopper. Break up those big goals into smaller, manageable tasks that you do daily, weekly, monthly. And schedule those tasks in small chunks on your calendar. Need to food shop and plan meals? Schedule it in. Want to clean out a closet, a drawer, a cabinet? Schedule it in. Small tasks are manageable. And scheduled, small tasks are more likely to get done and keep you progressing towards your goal.
4. Keep your physical spaces clear of clutter.
When your space if cluttered it is harder to “see” what you have to do, or how you can do it. Clutter creates chaos and, in fact, skews your perception of time. It makes you feel as though you have “no time” to do even the smallest task towards your goal. Clear, open space opens you to life that was previously buried, under clutter. Let go of what doesn’t serve a purpose in your life, tidy up daily, and put things back where they belong. Question what comes in and be sure it has a purpose – and a home. That is how you stay clutter free.
5. Keep your mind free of clutter and show gratitude.
Just like clutter in your physical space can slow you down, overwhelm you, and create chaos, so too can mental clutter. The negative, sometimes demeaning thoughts about your self that come into your mind can really leave you feeling not good enough. And when you feel that way – even if intellectually you understand it to be false – you start to see the goals you have set as unachievable, and you not worthy of reaching them. Clutter in any form serves no purpose. Free your mind of clutter. Take 5 minutes every day to reflect on your goals, what you accomplished that day, even what you could have done differently. Try to visualize what a good tomorrow will look like. And write as if it has already happened. Then quickly write 3 good things about yourself (you cook the best breakfast around, you are a great listener, you helped someone in need) and 3 things you are grateful for (a warm bed, your ability to walk, a loving partner). Visualizing a good day helps to make it so! And showing yourself love and expressing gratitude keeps you grounded, present, and aware. It makes you feel good and when you feel good, you do good – for yourself and others.
6. Slow down.
Yoga, meditation, taking time to be still and just breathe – even in your car – for 5 minutes allows you to regroup, reassess, refocus. You do things more efficiently when you are focused, and relaxed. You live more deliberately when you take the time to be present. And often that presence comes when you slow down and quiet the noise. “Noise” is all around us, and it isn’t going anywhere. It’s up to you to be aware of it, and silence it for your own well-being.
I think the new year (and really all new years to follow) should be all about doing. Not about thinking or saying you will do something. Actually doing.
“Doing” means you are actively trying on life. Making progress, failing, and getting right back up and trying again.
Doing allows you to become. It allows you to grow and learn.
And to really live a better life that you love.