Starting with Baby Steps
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. It was the usual stuff about what was going on in each of our lives. For some reason, it occurred to me at some point that we’d had roughly the same conversation previously. This happened when we each were listing the things we needed to get done and the things that we wanted to change. Getting in shape, painting the house, getting
organized… that sort of thing. That got me thinking.
We all want to improve our lives, but how often do we actually take action on getting anything done? Too often, we look at a situation, consider how much work it would take to make a massive change, and then file the idea away for a time when we are less busy. Guess what. We never get “around to it” because most of us have pretty full lives that seldom offer blank spaces for us to use as “life changing time”. The good news is, you don’t have to take on massive changes all at once. Sometimes, you can start improving your life by taking baby steps. Here are a few ideas to get things started:
Get up and move. That’s right, just a little bit of exercise. Many of us nowadays live a pretty sedentary life. It’s easy to forget that moving around can actually feel pretty good. If I start feeling stressed or just bogged down, one of my favorite quick fixes is jumping on the treadmill for 10 minutes. I try to do this a few times a day. I just put on some music and force myself to get moving. Of course, committing to a regular exercise routine would be even better, but just that little bit of exercise is usually enough to get me feeling better. You don’t have to use a treadmill of course. Just take a walk around the block or do some other activity that you like. Even if you are the busiest person alive, you can probably squeeze a few minutes in somewhere. (You’ve heard all of the standard disclaimers about checking with your doctor to make sure you are OK to exercise, so do that.)
Watch This. Here’s a very short, but interesting, video about the benefits of exercise and how it can improve mood (among other things).
Try something new. Are you stuck in a rut? That can be a real motivation buster. We are creatures of habit. That has its good side I suppose, but I’ve also noticed that if I don’t consciously make an effort to break from my routines, it doesn’t take long for me to feel like I’m stuck in one place. This doesn’t have to be anything major. Try a new food or drink that you never tasted before. Read a book about something new. Teach yourself how to do something that won’t take forever to learn. Maybe some basic juggling or how to whistle with your fingers. Use your imagination.
Keep in touch. Have you noticed that old friends have drifted away? Why not make an effort to get back in touch with them? See what they’ve been up to. Ask them about their lives. Resist the tempation to bury them with a list of the stresses and issues in your life if you ever want to talk to them again though. Do you have someone from your past that you need to get right with? Why not get that handled? Carrying around stress from past mistakes can really wear you out.
Commit a random act of kindness. If you really want to feel good, spend some time actively looking for something nice that you can do for someone. It can be anonymous or not. That’s up to you. The great thing about acts of kindness is that everyone usually wins. You feel great about helping someone out, and someone else gets a little boost in their day that they weren’t expecting.
Now Take Some Action
I’m sure you know this, but just reading about taking action won’t help you at all. You’ve got to do something. Even if it’s a little something. Break free from your inertia.
These are just some ideas that I like to use to kickstart myself and to get my life moving in a positive direction. Sometimes, I write blog posts that I hope will help other people. For me, concentrating on putting my thoughts down in words helps me to re-focus when I might have been thinking too much about my current “to do” list. What helps to get you moving in a positive direction? Leave a comment below!