We have all been at a point in our lives where we feel stuck in a rut or have a desire to make a change, but don’t know where to start. For many of us, these points have occurred time and time again. But why do we keep acknowledging the need to change and feel like we are doing things that should be making a difference, even though nothing actually moves? The worse part that comes along with that is the little voice in our head that makes us feel like we are not good enough or that we are a failure (we’ll chat more about that nasty little voice soon). Then the negativity becomes even more apparent in not just that area of our life, but in all that we do, and our self-confidence plummets. Trust me, we have all been there, and we can all agree, in not so graceful terms, IT SUCKS.
I have been at that point more times that I would like to admit. Luckily, because I have visited the point of confusion (feeling lost), delusion (being stubborn) and hopelessness (lack of confidence) many times, I have become aware of steps that genuinely work. Before I found the way to led me to success in change, no matter how big or small, I went about with the “all-or-nothing” approach. I decided I was going to do everything all at once, but not just in one area of my life, in all aspects. And you know where that left me? Feeling worse than I did before I started. Even if things were going well for a few days, it wasn’t sustainable for more than a week, let alone long-term.
Let’s take one example. After I returned home from the Miss America Competition in September 2016, I didn’t know what to do. I projected a sense of having it all together on the outside, by organizing services projects, making appearances, and sharing inspirational and motivating messages on social media. My internal dialogue, on the other hand, led me to a place of not really knowing what to do or having a clear path. Before I knew it, I would no longer be living the Miss Arizona life and return to being Kate. That scared me the most because I didn’t know what was next. I told myself I needed to figure everything out, including every step to get there: my fitness and nutrition goals, my next job and career, my philanthropic goals, my relationships with friends and family, and so on. In hindsight, it sounds silly, but at the time, it was the only thing that made sense to me. I took the “all-or-nothing approach” of needing to make big decisions all once and even changing all of my behaviors (physically, emotionally, financially, etc). to align with these new decisions. Where did that leave me? In an even more confusing, stubborn and lower-confidence place than before I started.
I FINALLY came to the realization that change doesn’t have to be complicated. We often build it up in our minds and convince ourselves that it has to be, but when we take that attitude, nothing really transforms. That is when change becomes so overwhelming that it almost becomes too difficult and too scary to process.
It’s not the big changes that lead to movement and development, it’s the small ones. And when we make small changes in behaviors and habits in one area of life, we start to see and feel changes in all of them. When we implement tiny changes in a consistent manner, we can eventually add in some that are a little more sizable in comparison (also in a consistent manner), and then that is when the transformation happens.
Let’s take it back to when I threw in the towel of the “all-or-nothing” approach. I was making things so incredibly complicated that I overwhelmed myself to the point that my brain shut down and I couldn’t even think about making any investments in myself. That’s when I hit rock bottom – hard. So I decided to take things back to basics.
I made one small task that I would do every day, that needed to be accomplished the before the day was done. Just one thing. One thing didn’t sound too intimidating. I decided that I was going to exercise once a day. Somedays that meant going to the gym, somedays that meant going for a walk. Somedays that even meant just taking five minutes to stretch. No matter what was going on that day, either scheduled or unscheduled, I needed to accomplish that one goal. Every single day for a few weeks, I made it happen. Then I determined I was going to add on another goal to my existing one – eat more vegetables. Instead of flooding myself with salads and green smoothies, I added one more serving of vegetables to my day. Just one serving. That didn’t sound too terrible. After a few weeks, I felt confident enough to taking on the next item.
Soon after I started making small changes in that one aspect of health, I started to see and feel the effects in all other areas of my life too. The ripple effect was so powerful from the small changes that I was driven to keep adding new ones. The sense of accomplishment and success was empowering, so much so that there has been some big shifts in my life. Those big shifts have almost seemed effortless because of the tiny changes.
Now it’s your turn. Dump that “cold turkey” mentally and revise it into something that is manageable and realistic. Pick one – yes, you heard me, just one – habit or behavior that you would like to alter. That could be in health, at work, in relationships, financially speaking, etc. Once you have that one thing picked out, turn it into a task that you could accomplish each and every day. Strive for that consistency and make it your mission to get it done. When you feel like a total warrior crushing that task or goal, add another (small) one.
Sometimes we don’t know where to start with our goals or which habit we would like to alter, and that’s okay. Contact me via the Contact page. Never be afraid to ask for help or for advice. We can’t do everything by ourselves. Sometimes we just need a nudge in the right direction.