We love the idea of multi-tasking and doing a million things at once, but we can really only do one thing at a time. Similarly, we love reading stories about how people’s lives have been transformed. Self-help books promise to take us from miserable to happy just like that. We want to go from overweight to abs, ASAP. We want our bank accounts to be full yesterday, and we hope to go from unemployed to the height of our career in a jiffy. I think that desire comes from the way that the world’s changed and we have so much access to things in a jiffy. If we want directions, we pull them up on our smartphones. If we want to find the perfect gift, we log onto our computers and place an order on Amazon. There’s an instant version of just about everything these days, it seems.
But life works a little differently. To go from the “before” photo to the “after” we have to commit to a lot of little steps. Our lives are shaped by the choices we make one at a time. When we’re trying to improve our health, this can be comforting, actually! While we might wish that we could go from here to there at the snap of our fingers, the thought of all the things that need to change can be scary. But the steps necessary in changing our bodies, our health, and our lives do not have to come all at once. The truth is, we get healthier by choosing the veggies over the French fries at one meal, the walk over another episode of your chosen Netflix drug, the early bedtime over cruising through your Instagram feed just one more time.
We make tons of little choices every day, and part of making more of the “right” ones should come from setting ourselves up to make the good choice the easy choice. Are you trying to eat healthier? Make sure the healthiest foods you have are ready to go and look appealing, and the ones that tempt you to go astray are not the easy option! Are you trying to drink more water? A pretty important step is buying and bringing a water bottle along with you wherever you go!
It all seems so simple, but look around. People are getting in their own ways in all realms of their lives, it seems. If you don’t want to spend money on clothes, why go in a department store? Choose not to go there in the first place, and you’re far less apt to give into the lure of a new pair of designer jeans.
Start by asking yourself what realm of your life seems too hard to change. Ask yourself the story you’re telling yourself around changing it. It might be, “it’s too hard” or “I don’t know how.” And then challenge that. Come up with 10 little steps you can take, and commit to taking one. Then, take another. And slowly, that’s how you get from A to B. It might not feel like you’re turning into an overnight success, but I can guarantee you that those ideas you have about how our lives change come from seeing someone else’s struggle from the outside. They might make it look easy, but some of the most important changes we make require us to leave the realm of easy—one little choice at a time. So that secret to changing your life and getting to all of your goals? It lies in just making the next right choice.
What are you working on changing in your life right now?