When I was looking at magazine covers earlier I saw a trend in headlines based on New Year’s Resolutions. “New Year, New You” was very popular. So, was “New Year, New Look”. And though I do believe in the power of a good wardrobe, changing your look is not going to instantly change your life. Neither will resolutions.
Very few people can decide on change and see immediate results. It’s very hard for the average person to drop everything old, start everything new, and receive instant gratification from a whole new life.
And that’s okay.
From experience I’ve noticed that you can make small changes every day that will have some serious life-changing results.
These are the three things that have helped me improve my life. I hope they can help you, too.
(I’m not a guru and I’m not perfect. I’m just happy and would like to share what I’ve learned.)
1. Practice Gratitude.
It’s okay. You can roll your eyes. But I gotta tell ya, it’s it. Gratitude was the big start on my journey to big life change.
I already had a few small, personal gratitude practices. I did little things. But it wasn’t exactly part of my lifestyle. Now it is. Now it is huge. It’s such a big part of how I live my life now that it’s more of a habit than a practice. And I don’t stop with feeling grateful; I really savor it. For example, earlier this afternoon I noticed that the sun had started peeking through the clouds after days of gloomy weather. I didn’t just notice it, though. I got up. I pulled back the curtains. I felt the sun on my skin. I mean, I stopped everything else. All other thoughts evaporated. I just stood there in the window, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin. Then – without any sort of forethought – there it was: a smile.
Little things you can do to practice gratitude:
– savor the little things;
– while you’re falling asleep each night don’t count sheep, list some things you’re grateful for;
– start looking for new things to be grateful for (a parking spot becoming available, a break in the clouds, finding five bucks in an old coat, puppies!, being able to carry all of your grocery bags in in one trip, etc.).
(I just want to step aside for a second and tell you that it’s okay to want more. It is more than okay. It’s great. Wanting more is motivation. Wanting more is powerful. Seriously. And though it might seem silly to you to try to be grateful for what you have when you want something more, I have to really dig in to how important it is to be grateful. Positive things manifest from positive energy. If you’re walking around complaining about everything in your life you’re putting all of your energy into everything you don’t want. Don’t do that. That’s like spending your money at Walmart and watching four others pop up in your city. They’re popping up because that’s where you’re putting your money. It’s the same thing with energy.)
Gratitude is hard. It takes work. I know. It’s hard. I know.
But it’s also sooooooooo worth it.
2. Put your wants out there!
Make your wants known.
Seriously. Don’t be ashamed to want more. If there is no one around, tell your pet. If they’re ignoring you, just say it. Say it out loud to no one in particular.
Funny story, my husband and I were talking about looking for a bigger place in a better neighborhood last April. We seriously talked about looking for something close to a school with a fenced in backyard. We hadn’t really mentioned it to anyone else, though. Just a few days later we got a text from our landlord letting us know that a bigger house had become available across town. The bigger house was on a corner lot, close to a school, and had a fenced in backyard. We were moved in a month.
(Little side tip: Don’t be negative about it, “Ugh! I want out of this crappy apartment!”
No. No. No. “It would be so great if I could find a nicer apartment” is better. And be specific!)
Last thing, and this is something I’ve heard in different ways from numerous self-help gurus, but don’t brush it off just yet.
3. Map out your dream day.
That’s not the entire thing.
This is where more daily little changes happen.
Sit, relax, and ask yourself, “What does my dream day look like?” Break it down. How do you spend the hours in your day? Will you have normal working hours? Do you have animals? What kind of food are you eating? Who are you spending your time with? What time will you go to bed? And everything else you can think of.
What can you change now? What little things can you do to make your every day look more like your dream day?
If you have more contact with friends during your dream day then you should start reaching out to your friends more.
If your dream day contains more creativity then add more creativity to your day.
If you’re eating healthier in your dream day you can do something small to add more healthy foods into your diet.
I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.
It took a bit of time for me, but eventually I got there.