Often, when we see something that we want to change in our lives, we think that we need to throw everything out and start anew. We’ll make our changes loud and dramatic, letting everyone around us know that we’re intent on becoming a completely different person; someone confident; someone that goes to the gym at 5.30 each day; someone that only drinks nettle tea; definitely not someone who binge-eats donuts rather than facing problems, or gets sucked into ‘True Blood’ marathons rather than being a useful member of society.
Of course, making these dramatic changes rarely works. Because we can’t become a ‘new person’ overnight, and nor do we need to.
You’ll have much more success if you focus on some small steps and subtle changes.
Over time, thanks to the power of compound interest, these changes will all add up. And before long, these minor tweaks will start to have loud, dramatic rewards.
Here are 8 subtle changes that I’ve personally found have made a dramatic difference to my daily health and happiness:
1. When I’m working, I turn my phone upside down. I keep it on vibrate so that I’ll hear work calls, but I’m unaffected now by social media distractions and personal messages.
2. Have a water bottle nearby. I have a 2 litre bottle now – which doubles up as weight-lifting reps! Having a bottle close-by and visible has reminded me to hydrate much more often, resulting in fewer headaches and more energy.
3. I squat 30 times when I brush my teeth in a morning. Strong legs and strong teeth!
4. Keep my 6-Minute Diary nearby. I move it morning and night, so that it’s a visible reminder to fill in. This allows me to maintain consistent gratitude practice and self-reflection.
5. I’ve set a bell reminder on my phone, which goes off at key points in the day. When it goes off, I am reminded to go into the present moment. Even if this only lasts for a minute, it’s a moment of calm and peace that my brain deserves and needs.
6. Separate work and living space. If I’m working, I try to stay in my makeshift office. If I’m not working, then I don’t want to be thinking about work; therefore I have to protect myself from work-related distractions.
7. If a job takes less than 15 minutes, I do it immediately. I used to write them on my jobs list, where they’d hang over me. Now I just get on with it, which feels much better.
8. I prepare healthy work lunches the night before. Doing this on a morning in a hurry, while trying to be healthy at the same time, results in wild lunches like ‘Hot Dog Salad’ or ‘Avocado mess.’ Put the time in the night before and you’ll be able to grab a wholesome, tasty lunch that you can look forward to rather than dread.
Change – and even Growth -is a continuous process. No doubt, if I complete this list again in a year’s time, I’ll have another list of equal or greater size.
Have any of these life-tweaks worked for you? Do you have suggestions to add to the list? Comments welcome: