How to Change Your Life – Where to Start When Change Seems Impossible
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Are you feeling like you just want to start from scratch? Do you want to revamp huge portions of your life, but don’t know where to start? If you’re at the end of your rope and ready to create big changes in your life, this post is for you.
As a parent with precious little time, it’s important to zero in and focus, making the most of each day in order to create big changes. Little changes can add up over time, so don’t get discouraged. Big goals aren’t met in a single day. Big changes come from little, daily habits adding up over time. Consistency in moving toward our goals is the key to achieving them.
You can’t achieve your goals and change your life, however, if you don’t define your goals! You can’t set off on a journey until you know your destination will be. So, figure out where you want to go and who you want to be before you do anything else!
Start by dreaming about what your ideal life looks like.
Dream and don’t hold back. What do you want your life to look like? What do you want your life to feel like? What is important to you? What legacy do you want to leave? Why do you want to change? Why is the way you’re living right now not working for you?
Write it down.
Write down gigantic goals, fantastical dreams that seem far away and hard to reach. Write down the stuff you think is important and holds value for you. Write down what you want your life to look like.
After you do this, without holding back and with honesty, you’re ready to make a list of your goals.
Write out your list of goals.
At the start of this year this was my list of goals:
1. Improve relationships
2. Improve mental health and find what sparks joy
3. Become debt-free
4. Organize my home
5. Strive for plastic-free and zero waste lifestyle
6. Less screen time and more nature time
Once you have these big swooping, overarching goals for your life you can analyze each area and jot down actionable steps you can take to achieve them. For me, this step included reading self-help books on finances and organization to kick-start my journey. I also scoured Pinterest for bloggers tackling some of the big things that I was interested in improving.
I read Marie Kondo’s book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
My husband read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Make Over, while I read roughly a zillion blogs that mentioned Dave Ramsey and other gurus of personal finance.
I read lifestyle blogs that offered advice on simple living and living a zero-waste lifestyle.
I have literally spent hours and hours reading and consuming information to help me better achieve my goals. If you’re serious about making a change, you have to go after it and educate yourself. Inspire yourself by listening to the stories of others. You can’t just sit back wishing change will come.
What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
If you don’t set specific goals, educate yourself, make a plan and take action, nothing is going to change. It’s just not. You must do something different if you want a different outcome for your life.
So where to next?!
Daily Habits – the EVERYDAY List
To begin the process of changing, we need to modify our daily habits. Come up with an “Everyday List”, a list of things to do EVERY DAY no matter what that will propel you toward achieving your goals.
This does not have to be a difficult list. In fact, it shouldn’t be. The items on your list should take probably around 20 minutes to complete throughout your day. Your list should also be short, no more than 5 or 6 items. A lengthy, 12 item long list is not a sustainable thing and you want this to stick right? So, create a short, manageable list and give yourself a fighting chance.
Choose the items on your everyday list carefully. Each item on your list should have a purpose, setting you on the right track toward your larger goals.
For example, this is my everyday list:
- Hug my husband and my children
- Check my bank account
- Take a multivitamin
- Drink water
The items on my list move me towards improving my relationships, finances, and mental health. They focus my attention on those goals, helping me to form better habits and keep me moving toward my goals even on the crazy hectic days or the sick days when I’m stretched very thin fulfilling my role as mom and helping my family.
Other ideas for your everyday list:
- Wake up at a set time, take a walk outside, compliment someone else, put 5 dollars in savings, meditate, watch the news, read for 10 minutes, make coffee at home, write in a gratitude journal
Post your list in a prominent spot in your home where you will see it several times throughout your day.
I have my everyday list on the side of my refrigerator. I see it when I’m cooking at the stove or going to get something to drink. You might want yours by your desk or on the mirror in your bathroom or saved as the lock screen on your phone. Wherever you think you’ll see it the most and it will have the most benefit for you.
Starting here, with little things, will set you up for big changes in your life.
Don’t tackle the big goals all at once or you’ll never succeed.
Start with an everyday list to set yourself on the right track and lay the foundation for a new, renewed life. THEN, set an area of focus for each month. Set one or two goals to achieve each month which will help you reach for those broad sweeping goals you’re aiming for.
For instance, one of my areas of focus or big goals is to become debt-free. Our first month out, I set goals for cooking meals at home more frequently, and decreasing our habit of purchasing coffee out to save money and getting a better picture of our finances. We tallied up our debt, income, fixed expenses, and tried to get a feel for our variable expenses using the budgeting app our bank provides.
From there we were able to set several smaller goals like finding a better deal on streaming services and insurance. You can see how we started with baby steps, continued to create more actionable goals and snowballing our way toward reaching our overarching goal.
It’s hard work to change. But if you do the work little by little and have the right support system, anything is possible.
Figure out your why. Set big goals. Then, set smaller goals and create your own everyday list to begin your journey towards redefining your life on your own terms! Create small actionable goals each month and write them out, choosing one big goal to focus most predominantly on each month.
Track Your Progress
I’m dreaming big here and there are no shortcuts. Achieving big goals takes time and tracking your progress will help you to maintain your motivation and your focus. I’m looking at the long term. Realistically, it will take between 3 and 5 years (more likely 5…) for us to become debt-free. The hole is just that big between student loans, consumer debt, and car loans. When you are looking at that sort of timeline, you really need to find ways to keep morale up and to stay motivated. Tracking your progress will certainly help with that.
At the end of each month, reflect on your progress and in a journal track how far you’ve come.
Also, consider following Instagram accounts of people sharing your journey and have a similar mindset to your own. Tell your close friends and family your goals so they can help keep you motivated and accountable. Keep a growth mindset and keep learning!
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone on your journey. There are other people out there tackling the same life changes that you are wanting to tackle. So surround yourself with people who get it and support you on your journey.
Give yourself grace. You will have setbacks. We all do. We’re all human. Just don’t let a setback stop you from reaching your goal. Reflect on why it happened so that you can acknowledge it and you can learn for the future. Pick yourself up and get back on your path you’ve created for yourself. Remember your why.
If you focus on your why, nothing can stand in your way of achieving big things and living the life you truly want to live.
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