Many people ask me for advice on how to make major changes in your life. Many friends have watched as I quit drinking and smoking, changed my diet dramatically, began making my own cleaners and H&B aides, switched to herbal medicine for most needs, and started growing some of our own food. I am a homebody and I don’t go out much anymore, I don’t watch TV or ‘entertainment’, I don’t pay attention to mainstream news, and I explore the alternatives and different views on many topics. None of it was easy. Not one of those changes really happened overnight. It really has been a shift in my mind’s way of thinking. Sacrifices have been made, but none I was not willing to make to have the benefits of the change I was making. It has taken a lot of persistence.
The best thing I can recommend is to research the topic of what it is you want to change in your life. If you want to change a bad behavior or aspect of your lifestyle, then research the not so beautiful aspects of those behaviors. Then research the positive aspects. It works different for everybody. Personally, I need motivation for the change which I get from knowing the nasty details of my bad choices. Then, I need motivation to continue in the right direction of making choices that support the life I want to live and the world I want to live in. I still have so much to change and bringing a family along with me requires that much more persistence.
Once you have some knowledge to help fuel your change(s), then it is time to take a step towards action. This can be difficult, because we often see a large amount of bad habits (choices we make daily/ moment to moment) that are driving an area. We can struggle with finding the time to make better choices as in eating healthier, because it does require extra effort to change the direction you are heading. If a ship at sea needs to change its direction, it can’t just keep doing what it is doing, it must maneuver the rudder, ensure a clear path in the direction it would like to travel, and continue to apply force to move on the sea. But you are already applying the energy to living life, and often it just takes minor adjustments to really swing it around. The hardest part is really making the decision to change the direction you are traveling. Just as a captain must assess the situation and make the call to change the course. Then, he must alert the crew to the change and they must work together to alter the course. Once that is done, smooth sailing can continue, but a different path has been chosen.
I wrote a piece about making the switch to eating GMO free and organic. It can be found here Making the Change to Organic and GMO-free Eating. No matter what change it is that you are making, the same type of process applies.
1. Gain knowledge.
2. Choose to make a change.
3. Gather the tools/resources that you may need for the change.
4. Apply energy to learning how to use the tools and resources.
5. Apply knowledge with the tools to begin acting on choices.
6. Make conscious decisions every moment that support your change.
7. If you slip a little from making better choices, do not beat yourself up and do not give up.
8. Celebrate the right decisions you make.
9. Be patient and recognize the need to encourage yourself.
10. Keep walking the path you have chosen.
11. Reflect along the way – how things have changed – no matter how small.
12. Be kind to yourself and know that making better choices is a breaking of old “habits” and a way of thinking – this is not easy for we are, too often, creatures of habits.
I am not saying this is the right way. I am not saying this the only way to make lifestyle changes. I do know that knowledge has been the driving force in all the changes I make. With the knowledge I gain, I am empowered to make a change. With the knowledge, I know what I need to change and why. Then, it has always been about persistence. The last ingredient in all the changes I have made has been love. Because I love myself, I want to take care of myself. Because I love those in my family, I want to help them to have a healthier and more truthful life. Because I love all those that are participating in this journey of life with me, I want to make choices that reflect that love and do no harm to all in this experience. I still have a way to go, but as I find my love in each decision I make, love responds and encourages me to keep on.