Making a lifestyle change when you need a total restart
Not too long ago, my life felt like a total mess. All my good habits had gone out the window. I felt tired, sad, and out of balance.
Nothing was really working, and wondering how to make the lifestyle change I wanted felt overwhelming.
A little voice inside said, “add pockets of joy. One at a time.”
I did this by incorporating simple rituals into my routine daily, things I could look forward to like a yummy hot beverage or my decadent morning ritual.
Once that felt established, I added the next thing and the next, until suddenly, I’d made a total lifestyle change.
Even my most stubborn habits started to shift without really trying.
Maybe that sounds dramatic, but the momentum of all these little changes added up and made things feel easy.
I started going to bed earlier even though I’d been fighting myself with that for years.
I stopped eating so much sugar even though I’ve been an ice-cream junkie forever.
I even stopped biting my nails! This is something I’ve done forever and have stopped a few times, but always started again. Now it’s been a good few months and I can comfortably say the habit is gone for good.
I share this to let you know that no matter how stubborn you are....
No matter how much of a deep, dark hole you find yourself in.
No matter how long you’ve been trying to change that one habit that just won’t shift — you can make a lifestyle change, and I can help you learn how.
Here's how to make a lifestyle change when you need a total restart:
It’s easy to get swept away in all the changes you want to make.
This happens each year around New Year's and by Jan. 12, millions of people have already called it quits, according to a study done by Strava, a social network for athletes. What?!
Huge overhauls rarely create lasting lifestyle change.
Instead, it’s better to focus on adding one new positive habit at a time.
This worked with my most recent lifestyle change.
I got clear on the one result that would make the biggest change in my life (feeling happier), and then tuned into the simplest way to do that, which for me was to begin one new joyful ritual every day.
Just start. Continue until it sticks. And then add something new.
I love how The Play with the Day yearly goal journal includes space each month to set a single intention and just three goals to commit to for the month.
This helps you focus, which helps you succeed.
Plus, writing your goals down increases the odds you'll achieve them by 42%, according to Inc Magazine.
Think how much your life could change in a whole year by putting all your heart, energy and focus into achieving a few simple goals each month.
2. Decide to change.
This might sound obvious, but most people have trouble creating a lifestyle change because they don’t truly want to or they haven’t decided.
Focusing on why you want the change helps but ultimately —
Deciding is an internal clicking in that happens when you're done with your own bullshit.
This is kind of a random analogy, but I got these really cool handmade ceramic salt and pepper shakers in Italy last year.
I’ve always wanted to use them, but could never figure out how to remove the little plastic stoppers because they were really wedged in there!
So they sat on my counter-top for months, beautiful but irrelevant.
Fast forward a few weeks ago, this Ayurvedic face oil I ordered arrived in the mail.
It too had a little plastic stopper in the top! It seemed really jammed in there, and I groaned, wondering what secret to life I was missing out on.
But I decidedin that moment to remove the little stopper.
Immediately my mind went to work, and I received the inspired guidance to try a new technique.
Fired up with enthusiasm, I tried the same technique on my salt and pepper shakers, and guess what? That worked, too!
So now I happily use my face oil AND my handmade Italian ceramic salt and pepper shakers.
But the key is, I decided. When I deep down thought I didn't have what it took to figure it out, I was available to fail. And that’s exactly what happened.
You can do anything you put your mind to. As long as you truly, in your heart, decide.
3. Make micro shifts.
Have you ever heard about kaizen?
It's a Japanese concept referring to small, continual improvements.
A book I once read talked about a severely overweight lady who wanted to exercise but felt overwhelmed at the idea of a dramatic lifestyle change.
So she started walking in front of her television for 7 minutes each night. Seven minutes became 15 minutes which became walks around the block which became legitimate half-hour workouts.
(I could be making some of that up but the gist of the story is definitely true.)
I’ve found success in my life this way, too, by taking one small step at a time.
4. Add or start things rather than stop them.
This is a big one. A lot people think about “stopping sugar,” or “stopping mindless scrolling,” but whatever you focus on expands.
The key question is — what do you want to do instead?
It's hard to stop doing something if that's all you can think about!
When you add positive things into your life and let them build, they gradually crowd the less positive things out.
5. Be specific.
When setting intentions, it’s fine to be general, but when making a lifestyle change or creating a new habit, it’s important to zero in on the exact change you’re trying to make.
Take the goal of reducing sugar.
When do you usually eat sugar? Is it a dessert? What's a healthy alternative?
So then instead of, “I want to stop eating so much sugar,” it becomes, “I want to start drinking this yummy healthy warm drink after dinner.”
You’ve defined a goal. You’ve made it small. And you’re focused on adding things.
That’s how you succeed!
You know every day if you’ve succeeded or missed your target.
But there's another step!
6. Track your habits.
I honestly always thought habit tracking was kind of stupid and didn't see the point, but let me tell you —
Habit tracking is life-changing.
It's suprisingly motivating.
Imagine if you've decided to reduce sugar by drinking a yummy healthy elixer after dinner to stave off late-night cravings.
(In the morning or late. :) )
And instead of just thinking about your goal, you wrote it down.
And then you tracked the habit. You literally checked off each day if you enjoyed your yummy, healthy drink.
(OMG. I can't stop saying that word.)
But some nights you went to sleep without checking it off. You'd know deep down the next morning you'd wake up and see a blank space where you broke your promise to yourself.
Knowing that inspires you to follow through and make the lifestyle change.
Play with the Day yearly goal journal features a daily habit tracker that will motivate you to make gradual shifts in your life so they last.
It guides you through a simple but effective process of identifying your goals, breaking them down to habits or rituals, and then tracking those habits daily.
7. Get clear on what your bad habit is costing you.
When I don’t keep my promises to myself, I observe the negative consequences.
Do I feel more tired the next day from going to bed late? Do I feel gross from eating an unhealthy meal? Do I feel stressed from skipping yoga?
Once you more clearly associate your negative behaviors with the negative consequences, and realize how the positive behaviors really do make life more pleasurable, you can funnel any frustration into positive momentum to create change.
At the end of each month, Play with the Day yearly goal journal has space to review the month.
You're invited to tune in and see if there are any shifts you feel called to make.
This is a great place to recognize the negative consequences of poor choices so you can continue heading a more positive direction.
8. Have self-compassion but also kick your ass.
I love Elizabeth Gilbert's quote: “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn't begin with the person in question finally getting sick of their own bullshit."
And it’s true. You DO have to be your own personal trainer.
This isn’t about criticizing yourself so you feel like shit, but hold yourself accountable.
We all have an inner child and we also all have an inner parent. Activate yours.
It’s those moments of looking yourself in the mirror and vowing, “This will NEVER happen again,” that create real change.
9. No excuses.
Another great saying is, “you can have either excuses or results."
This is essential wisdom for making a lifestyle change.
Listen. There’s always somereason why you weren’t able to follow through on the promise you made to yourself.
But the bottom line is you let something come between you and your goal. You let something else be more important than your dedication to change.
It’s tempting to start making excuses, but in those moments, you just have to admit you broke your promise to yourself and vow to try again tomorrow.
10. Keep reaffirming and trying for as long as it takes.
Honestly that people call it quits on their goals 12 days after the New Year speaks volumes about why the masses... are the masses.
You have to keep going. Every day is a new day. Each moment is a new moment. You don't need to wait until the new year to make a shift.
People lapse on their good habits when creating change. That’s the process.
That’s why they say it takes 21 days or however long to make a good habit. (I personally think that for some habits, it can be longer.)
So if you mess up, try again. Keep going. Keep re-affirming and recommitting your desire for a lifestyle change.
I've been trying to go to bed earlier for Y E A R S, and only just now am I achieving that goal.
Giving up destroys the potential for change. You're essentially relegating yourself to live with negative consequences because you think you're not strong enough to make a lifestyle change.
Those are your only two choices. A life full of negative consequences from bad choices. Or to try again. Why not keep going?
Also notice the positive impacts your new habits have on your life. This will create momentum to help you make other needed changes in your life.
The Play with the Day yearly goal journal guides you through the exact same process I used to create a lasting lifestyle change.
11. Check which direction your thoughts going in.
Sometimes it can take a long time to make a lifestyle change. You might have relapses, or it might feel hard to finally shift.
(Or am I just particularly resistant to change?)
The key is — what direction are your thoughts going in?
Are you telling yourself to just give up? Not the right direction.
But if you find yourself working things out in your head, recommitting and affirming, deciding again, remembering why this matters to you and figuring out how you can get better at keeping your promises to yourself, that’s the right direction.
And as long as your thoughts flow in that direction, you will keep making small micro improvements.
Becuase you are what you think. So think good, life-affirming thoughts.
Those micro improvements will build and build, and eventually, you’ll have created the lifestyle change you’ve always wanted.
In Play with the Day, you're guided each and every month to get clear on the negative thoughts feeding your bad habits and to identify more positive, life-affirming thoughts to replace them with.
Doing this in advance will help you succeed!
Whatever dreams you hold in your heart right now, I know that if you want it badly enough and are willing to do the work, you can do it.
You can do anything.
You are more powerful than you know.
And as soon as you decide to follow the absolute truth of what's in your heart, you will be guided. The Earth will move, Heaven will support you, and you will be well on your way.
2020 is a year of momentum and positive change.
Let's do this!
Get your Play with the Day journal to receive support every step of the way.
All the love,
Founder, Soul Scroll Journals
Very helpful, particularly with everything going on now. I’m spiraling and I need this training. Thank you.