You’re at a crossroads and you can feel it! Tomorrow is a new moon – the perfect opportunity for a new beginning. You’ve just listed everything you’re going to do differently and when you wake up, you’ll finally start living the life you’ve been longing for. And this time you’re gonna own it.
You’ll meditate for an hour every morning before work,
hit the gym 4 times a week,
meal prep on Sundays,
start eating kale and drinking apple cider vinegar,
buy everything organic,
cut your daily calories in half,
stop yelling at your kids,
and smile at every human – and animal, I guess? – you pass on the street.
And when some **** cuts you off on the way to work, you’ll take a slow, deep breath and think about the sound of ocean waves crashing on the shoreline. And you’ll be good. Everything will be good. Because you’re a happy person now!
No. It won’t.
And no, you’re not.
That feeling you have is what Community creator Dan Harmon calls an epiphany addiction and I suffered from that for a long ass time. There was always a new idea that would change everything. I’d be all gung ho about something for a week and then fall into a depression and shame spiral when it didn’t last. I wasn’t setting realistic expectations that matched my capacity for change.
I know you’ve been there. You don’t need me to tell you habits don’t change over night. That true transformation takes time and patience. But please understand that happiness is not a thing we become. Happiness is a feeling-not a definition of self. And we can learn to feel it much more.
So is it actually possible to make all of those changes?
Well, you shouldn’t be cutting calories in half but that’s for another post. What’s important is that you align your expectations and meet yourself where you are. Start with one or two small changes. Be authentic. You can’t tackle everything at once while life is still spinning around you. The overwhelm of trying will paralyze you.
Ask yourself, where am I at right now?
Are you working long days to support your family so you’re high stress and stopping at Wendy’s most days, scarfing down lunch in your car? Been there!
So start where you are.
Pack your lunch on Monday. Use the saved time to take a walk or meditate after you’ve eaten. If it feels good and you’re inspired to try again Tuesday, then great! If not, thank yourself for taking better care of your body one day this week then try again next week. But I would bet that one small change will catalyze more. Because eating one healthy meal, saving time, energy, and money…that feels damn good! And it’s so, so easy.
When you’re ready, challenge yourself to pack for an entire week. But whatever happens, do NOT judge yourself if you fail. You’re allowed to fail. You’re going to fail. And when you feel shitty because you didn’t eat well and you didn’t save time, money, and energy, just sit with that. Accept it. And move on. Plenty of opportunities ahead, my friend. Your brain is already helping you out by producing feel good chemicals when you take care of yourself so the process gets easier with time. That’s what healthy habit formation looks like.
What if you’re not eating much fast food and you’re already engaging in some form of self-care? First, feel great about that. Then…
Start where you are.
Could you substitute one canned or frozen vegetable with fresh this week?
Could you make mac and cheese from scratch instead of using boxed?
Could you make a larger quantity for dinner one night and have leftovers to save time the next?
Could you replace processed sugar in your coffee with raw or coconut sugar?
Maybe you can add some healthy seeds to a smoothie, cereal, salad or sandwich a couple times this week?
My point is – there are tons of options when you take a step back and narrow your focus on the present moment. What can you do today? Don’t think about tomorrow or next week or – heaven’s sake – next year. Just do now. Start small and eventually you’ll notice exponential growth. And don’t get caught up in how much time it will take to feel better. There’s no end game. You can set small goals and achieve them but there will always be room for improvement. Thinking too far ahead adds pressure. If it makes you feel better today, it’s worth it. We’re not guaranteed anything beyond that.
If I can do it, you definitely can. And I’m here to support you along the way if you need it.
My challenge for you…Change something small this week and see how it makes you feel. See what you’re inspired to do next. And tell us all about your experience in the comments.
You’ve got this.
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