Us humans don’t love change. It’s uncomfortable, scary and often disorientating. So instead of improving, we seem to often stick with old ways and habits, knowing that this isn’t the best idea. But it’s safe and that’s pretty appealing.
Up until recently, I’ve found myself in a little rut, because of this discomfort that change brings. Since climbing out of it and experiencing this shift in lifestyle, I want to share this with you. If you know you could be doing more with life, but just don’t know how or where to start, this post is for you!
While I’m all about living a life of balance and progress, this little recent rut resulted in things clocking over slowly. I knew that I was working and living at 60% of what I could be.
As I probably fit pretty snuggly into the category of A-type personality (stereotype: organised, detail-orientated and highly-strung workaholic), this did not suit my need for development and progress. This rut came with symptoms of lack of productivity, self-loathing and self-sabotaging. Generally, I was not loving life. And this continued for months! I knew I needed to change, I just didn’t know where to begin!
This changed suddenly when I positively shifted one thing: I began a 30-day yoga challenge at my yoga studio. This means, one daily yoga practice for 30 days (today is day 17.) I now have a daily activity that I have committed to and within two weeks; it’s changed seemingly unrelated parts of my life.
Why is one shift so powerful?
- It changes your mindset and allows you to think differently. Depending on what you choose to shift, this may be because of your change in environment, the new people you are meeting or the shift in identity you have to make in order to fit with your new activity. I now see myself as a novice yogi and it’s a pretty exciting idea!
- Positively changing something in your life (no matter how small) shows you that you can do and be something different. It gives you a sense of autonomy and control over a part of your life. Through proving this to yourself in doing something small, maybe you can begin to ignite bigger and more meaningful changes.
- Through choosing to do something and continuing with it for a few weeks/months, proves that you can stick to things! Sit with this new shift/habit for enough time that it becomes a part of your way of living. Now, add your next positive shift. Before the year is over, you could have created an entirely different life for yourself, starting today with this small beginning action.
- Lastly, a shift (specifically in the form of a new activity/habit) gives you a different structure. In my case, doing yoga everyday meant that I had to make time for it. I had to rearrange my afternoons and squeeze work in between other things. This sense of urgency actually increased my productivity, which suited my A-type personality perfectly! Just be careful not to push too hard and make life too challenging! Remember what you purpose is when making this shift – getting out of a rut or not-so-great patch.
What shift will you make?
There is a set of criteria, which I recommend you consider when choosing your ‘shift.’ Is it, productive and helping you step forward towards a better version of yourself? Is it relatively enjoyable and not too demanding of your time and energy? Can you realistically sign-up for it? When are you going to do it?
Lastly (and most importantly), ask yourself: What is the value of this shift for me? Why are you doing it? Why is it meaningful for you and worth the effort? How is it aligning with your morals and values as well as your self-image? If you’re unsure of these answers, I suggest you dig a little deeper and really solidify them for yourself. These answers are what are going to help you see your shift through. They are going to be your motivation when you’d rather skip or chicken out. You may choose to write these answers out and look at them from time to time.
Here are some examples of shifts, which you may like to use for inspiration:
- Yoga (clearly, I’m a fan)
- A new class or course (remember to make sure it’s realistic and isn’t going to add too much stress to your life)
- A social/business meet up if you’ve been keeping to yourself and could benefit from conversation and/or networking
- Frequent and scheduled time in nature. I’m sure your dog will love it (if he’s invited) and it will probably do you body and brain some good.
Tips: This is the first of your steps out of your rut. Don’t try leap too far.
- Make it an easy step that doesn’t involved extended travel time or a too much inconvenience.
- Don’t choose something that is going to turn into a reason to be overwhelmed. You’re supposed to be adding to your life, not taking away your sanity and happiness.
- Ensure that this shift is only one step out of your comfort zone. You can always add one more step at a later stage. You don’t want it to be the cause of intense anxiety, although be prepared for a little discomfort. That’s what change is about.
This shift is about getting you into a different mental (and possibly physical) space, whilst proving to yourself that you can make a change. Choosing something that you’re unsure of whether you’ll follow through with is going to be more detrimental that anything else. So, take it one step at a time. Do it often and stick to it. And most importantly, support yourself and celebrate your tiny victories. Positive change is hard! And it’s awesome that you’re choosing to make this investment in yourself.
Good luck with it!