Updated: Jun 7
Are you wondering how small actions tend to make such big changes in life? Keep reading and learn more about adjusting to change here.
Are you not fully satisfied with the way your life is going? Do you feel like the road to a better life requires too many big changes for you to overcome?
This can be especially true after a crisis or life-changing event. For example, this survey revealed that 72% of people want their lives to change significantly.
Change can be good, and it can make your life better. However, making a real change does take real effort, and that can be overwhelming for people who are afraid to take the leap.
But what if you were to find out that it only takes a few little things to make the changes that you want to make? What if it only took a few slight alterations to your normal routine?
Well, it is possible to have the changes you desire by taking small actions rather than one big leap. Here is how small actions can lead to bigger change.
Working Your Way Up
Starting small can allow you to do a task that you desire to do without it feeling overwhelming. The goal here is to get your foot in the door with this activity and do it at a level that is realistic for you. Starting by a smaller, more attainable goal can give us the confidence to then take the next step.
One of the biggest examples of this is exercise. If you're not accustomed to running, you are probably going to be hesitant to take a run outside for exercise.
You might see one of your neighbors running five miles every morning before they go to work, and you're wondering how they find the motivation and consistency to keep it up. However, what you have to remember is that they most likely built up to that routine.
They may have been dedicated to this for months or years. But before they could run five miles a day, they may have struggled to run just one mile.
In this situation it is helpful to not put pressure on yourself to match other people's routines but rather try to establish a goal that fits you and where you are at this point in time.
Recognizing WHY this is important to you also can serve as a motivating factor to go outside your comfort zone. Perhaps you want to be a role model for your children in living an active lifestyle or maybe you value adventure and growth. Reconnecting your values to the reason why you want to achieve a goal can help us find the perseverance and acceptance to experience discomfort and challenge.
The goal is to get yourself out there, starting small, aligning your life with your values, and recognizing that when you do it enough times, you will feel comfortable to push yourself further both physically and mentally.
Starting With Easier Tasks
Did you ever procrastinate on a big school project because you thought about all of the hard work that you were going to have to do? Well, you may have been dealing with anxiety that caused you to avoid the whole thing until the last minute.
However, that often causes more stress on you in the end. The better approach here is to start with what you think is the easiest step and do that first if possible.
An example of this process is if you are living in your house and you want to start a big DIY home improvement project such as starting a raised-bed garden. You may start thinking about having to clean up the area where you want the garden to be,
constructing the raised garden beds, hauling the dirt in from somewhere, to finally being able to plant your crops.
Instead of tackling that whole situation at one time, you could start by doing something small. It is often helpful to have a block of time dedicated to your project so you know there is start and end time. You can talk to a family member to let them know your plan so they can help keep you accountable and focused for that period of time. Also this strategy allows you to break down the tasks into small bite-sized pieces so you can steadily move forward of your goal.
Small, attainable goals gives us the momentum to keep going and work towards our larger goals. Again clarifying WHY this goal is important to you can help you reframe the dirty (literally! when we're talking about gardens!) into something more meaningful.
Doing it like this can get part of the task done and take a step closer to accomplishing your goal.
Changing Your Habits
Changing your habits with small changes can help you see a bigger mental change in yourself.
An example of this will be if you want to change your eating habits and eat more nutritious foods. People often label foods as "good" or "bad", however by starting to incorporate small changes to our eating habits, we can achieve a more balanced mindset around food. Let's say you start to stress eat and end up eating food that leaves you with a brain fog, unsatisfied, and with feelings of guilt from your choices.
Many people experience body image issues, depressed mood, or feeling like they lack self control and shame. One small change you can start with when you want to change your eating habits, is to simply pause and tune into your body before making a food choice. Try to tune in and notice how you are feeling physically and emotionally. Are you feeling bored, anxious, stressed, or actually hungry? If so, would food or something else help you manage those emotions or physical sensations? By taking time to pause and ask ourselves how we are really feeling, we make a small action that can lead to a bigger change and mindset shift.
Even slightly changing habits could see great results for your mental health and result in you making bigger and healthier changes in your life.
Make Big Changes
If you want to make big changes in your life, it does not always have to be a leap of faith. Doing small things like DIY home project, making healthier food choices, and going for a walk can lead to better change.
Do you find yourself anxious about facing change and needing help? Contact us today for anxiety therapy in Silicon Valley and anxiety therapy in Puerto Rico.
***The ideas, concepts, and opinions expressed in all Living Openhearted posts are intended to be used for educational purposes only. The author and publisher are not rendering medical advice of any kind, nor are intended to replace medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, condition, illness, or injury. It is imperative that before beginning any diet or exercise program, you receive full medical clearance from a licensed physician. Authors and publisher claim no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material.