So. You’re done with whatever it is that’s not working for you. Shitty job, douchy lover, unhealthy diet, whatever. It could even just be a general feeling that this just ain’t it. You’re done. You’re changing your life. For real this time, dammit.
You want to get down and dirty with the things that could be it. You wanna work on changing your life. With a more challenging job, a new adventure, a quest for a better relationship, with a change of diet, exercise or simply a change of heart. You want to start changing your life, at least a little, at least part of it.
To prevent yourself from failure, here are five simple things to keep in mind when you want to be on your way to something better.
1 YOU’RE HUMAN
I’m just going to break this news to you: you’re human.* There. I said it.
You’re a person. You need sleep, food, the occasional bath and human interaction. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, please keep in mind: You don’t do good work when you’re exhausted. You can’t be pleasant when you’re starving or superstressed out. If you smell, people are not going to like you enough to come near you (so job offers and marriage proposals become very unlikely).
Point is, take care of all of those necessary human needs while changing your life.
*All superheroes report at firstname.lastname@example.org as to where they got their powers. Radioactive spiders, alien rings, genetics: I don’t care. I want in.
2. YOU GOTTA MANAGE YOUR TIME.
We live on earth. Days have 24 hours. Just throwing that out there.
It’s highly unlikely that when you come home three o’clock in the morning, you’ll be fit and feisty enough for a run at six. Nor do I think that you’ll be up for a 3-hour, uninterrupted study routine after a long tedious day trying to find your mother-in-law a new purple salad tosser. Or that you’re going to read The Discovery of Heaven while you work 60 hours a week. (Or that you’re going to read Discovery of Heaven at all, but that’s my personal experience with the book so not really relevant.)
Here’s the good news. The realities and hurdles of your own humanity and a 24-hour day span do not make it impossible for you to change. They actually allow you to develop and change things at a healthy pace, in a sustainable matter.
Sure, if you have the luxury (or not, but just feel brave enough to take it anyway, in which case you’re kind of intimidatingly awesome) you can radically throw around one or two areas in your life. But in the remaining part of your life, should it still need work, it’s perfectly fine to take things slower and smaller.
You’re not like one of those hawk baby birds who we can just throw off a cliff and then flies.
Crawl before you can walk. Get to crawling, walking and then flying. When we’re excited about new things we throw ourselves in and often come to a screeching, scared halt when we realize we can’t meet our own ridiculously high expectations. So take it step by step.
A half an hour of yoga before bed is better than telling yourself you should practice from 05:00-07:00 AM and failing to get out of bed because the task is just too daunting. Five minute meditation is easy to do if you compare it to trying to get your head to STFU for a whole hour. Reading your literature every time you commute from and to work is easier than trying to finish a 600-page novel in one sitting. Which brings me to my next point:
4 FIT IT INTO YOUR OWN SCHEDULE
Plan new things into your schedule as it is right now, in your own personal 24-hour day. Sit down and think of ways in which you could implement changes without violating aforementioned condition of you being a human with your own time table, your own set of obligations. Start changing your life, your way.
For example, you work from nine to five. And on Saturday afternoons, you go visit your parents. Now unless you have only been working because your trust fund bores you, quitting isn’t the best idea. Nor is it in anyone’s best interest if you stop seeing your parents. I mean, they gave birth to you and everything. So, work around what you absolutely still must do. Use your Saturday mornings for your personal use. Clear a Sunday. Work out after your work (or before if you’re that much of a morning person).
You might have noticed this before, but turns out that a morning of abs exercises doesn’t give you a six pack. And one day of healthy eating does not make you drop ten pounds, get perfect skin. And one kind word to a friend in need does not win you the Super Awesome Friend Award.
Give it time. Changing your life isn’t easy, or quick. Don’t be discouraged if things don’t happen overnight. Except for pimples (what is up with that anyway), things don’t happen over night. You can’t run a solid 10K from scratch. You don’t get a good grade from doing your homework that one time. You don’t get a great job performance just because you did great work one week. You don’t lose weight from one day of no cupcakes.
Things like this take time. Consistency. And sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. I have the worst skin after three days of healthy eating and yoga, but after a week or so, things start looking up. Way up. And I feel uncomfortable when I have to ask people for stuff, but when I get a few yes-es I feel superhappy. So sit it out for a while. Make sure you try long enough so the results can actually happen.
FAVORITE ONE, 6: HAVE FUN WHILE YOU ARE DOING IT
You gotta be okay with a little discomfort and challenge, but remember, you’re doing it, for you. Changing your life should be fun!
To improve your life, your health, your success, to get yourself to a better point in whatever area you’re working on.
So enjoy! Relish in the little victories, laugh about your small (or big) blunders and keep hanging on to that delicious feeling of taking a positive pro-active approach to a better life. It’s a great way to live.
Have a good one!