When we envision a changed life, for many of us, our vision may seem so far away. But no matter how unreachable a better version of you may seem, I promise, it’s truly not as hard as it may seem to change your life.
In the past few years, I started my own business from nothing, stopped drinking for good, and started taking better care of my health. I was once a person who was avidly against working out because I “didn’t have time,” and because I didn’t see it as necessary. My mental health suffered and I was falling apart. My life didn’t get better overnight. And while I am far from perfect, I am in a much better place now.
When I tell you that simple milestones are everything, I promise you I am not lying. Here are 9 simple changes you can make that will change your life.
1. Realize your goals.
When you see your future, what are the main things you hope to achieve? Do you want better physical health? Do you want financial stability? Write down three major goals. Then, break them down into smaller goals. For example, you may want to lose weight. What smaller goals will get you there? Big goals are good for the big picture, but you can’t achieve a large goal all at once. You have to break down the big goals into small goals, and each time you reach a small goal, don’t stop. Create another milestone and keep going towards your biggest challenges.
2. Start a brain dump.
Brain dumps are life-changing! Do you ever feel like there is so much you need to do, and none of it ever gets done? Sometimes, my mind will be overloaded with tasks and I get bogged down. A brain dump is a piece of paper (I keep mine in a planner) where you dump all of your thoughts. I will sit down and write “groceries, toilet paper, clean bathroom, clean baseboards, call ______, ” and the list goes on and on. It’s all the thoughts inside my mind on paper. Once they are on the brain dump, you can organize them into other lists.
Exercise is NOT extra. It isn’t something people do when they have extra time on their hands, it is a priority. I’m not saying you should work out two hours each day- or that you have to run a marathon. Start simple, do something you enjoy, and make it consistent. Working out builds mental strength, physical strength and it enhances your mood and improves mental health. Much like your teeth need to be brushed, and your hair needs to be washed, your body needs to move and be pushed from time to time to maintain.
4. Work on your mental blocks.
Have you ever noticed that if you want to do something, but feel like you can’t that it becomes impossible? That’s a mental block. For a long time, I had a difficult time in social situations. I could barely talk to strangers and when I did, I felt awkward. I told myself “that’s just how I am.” That was my block. When I started questioning it, “Is that really how I am, or is this something I can change?” I was able to start approaching social situations and was able to improve my social skills. I still get awkward, but I now have building blocks in place that help me. If you feel blocked to do something, question it. It’s likely the area you need to focus on most, and when you do, you will be amazed at your progress.
5. Stop wasting time.
In a world filled with time wasters and distractions, it can be difficult to get things done. The next time you sit on Facebook for two hours, or the next time you mindlessly watch three hours of show you don’t even like, ask yourself “What would better serve this time I’ve wasted?” You could be working on a personal project, exercising, or learning something new. All that wasted time adds up!
6. Practice gratitude.
Gratitude is a skill much like anything else. And the more you practice it, the more hardwired your mind will be towards seeing the positive aspects of life. Having gratitude changes your perspective, literally. Each day, write down three things you are grateful for in your life. Even if it is something simple like “I am thankful for the comfort of my own home.”
7. Wake up earlier.
If you find that you don’t have enough time in a day, wake up one hour earlier. You’d be amazed at how much you can get done in one hour, and who knows, you might change one hour to two additional hours each day. Use that time to add helpful changes to your routine, like meditating, planning, exercising, and eating a healthy breakfast.
Each week, set out to read a new book. Regardless of what it’s about, choose something that interests you, and designate 20-30 minutes each day to reading your book. Some of the most successful and self-made successful people read at least 30 minutes each day.
9. Eat better.
You are what you eat. And while no one eats perfectly all of the time, try making changes and improvements to your diet in waves. For example, start by drinking more water, then add more vegetables to your diet, and cut back on sweets and desserts. Count the changes like milestones. You’d be surprised at how much better you feel with the right fuel.