Does this image look and feel familiar to you? You are not alone! Life's demands are greater than ever and it seems that it will never 'slow down'.
How many of these can you answer 'yes' to?
- I am a parent.
- I am a wife, husband, or partner.
- I go to school.
- I work a full time job.
- I work multiple jobs.
- I care for an aging or ill family member.
- I maintain the house.
- I am involved in my child's sports activities, school activities, etc.
- I run my own business.
I can go on, but I may run out of room on this blog.
On top of everything you have going on in your life, how many of you want to lose or maintain your weight, exercise more or just have more time to do the things that serve your physical and mental well-being?
I know I do.
One of the biggest and and highly unaddressed issues I think a lot people face, is putting themselves last on a long list of important things to take care of. I often fall into this trap. Work comes first because you have bills to pay. Kids come first, well because they are your kids and you are their caregiver. Completely understandable.
The further we push ourselves last on the list, the bigger the risk of failing health- both mentally and physically. Added stress of doing too much can cause a host of issues, including: anxiety, insomnia, acid reflux, headaches, brain fog, lowered libido, and so much more.
So how can we properly manage our tasks so we don't become overwhelmed?
Despite everything that you hear about thinking and dreaming big (as you should), I also urge you to THINK SMALL.
Yes, THINK SMALL.
Many studies show that people tend to learn the quickest in small chunks. How many of us, come warmer weather, say "Starting Monday, I'm going to hit the gym everyday, bring my lunch to work, and drink 10 glasses of water each day!" I know I have. But the truth is, for me, that lasted about 3 days and I would get overwhelmed and on the brink of just giving up. Why? Because I was trying to accomplish too much at once. I needed to think smaller!
When working with my clients, I help them make changes in small chunks so it's manageable and sustainable. The more 'wins' my clients were able to achieve, the more empowered they felt and the more successful they were in reaching their goals.
I work with clients to identify the top 3-5 things they want to accomplish. I then ask what they feel would be the easiest to tackle first and that's where we start. Here's an example:
Client (let's call her Josephine) wanted to:
- Bring lunch to work at least 3 times a week.
- Replace soda with water.
- Work out at least 3 times a week.
- Wake up earlier to do some light stretching before work.
I then asked Josephine what she felt was the easiest for her to start with and she said replacing soda with water. That's all we focused on for a few weeks. Nothing else on her list was being worked on because I wanted her to 'win' with water. We replaced soda with seltzer and then replaced seltzer with water. Within 3 weeks, she had cut out soda and replaced it with water. Win.
This is just one of many examples of how thinking small can be successful in making lifestyle changes. Of course, most of us don't have patience and want to reach our goals as fast as possible. It's up to each of us to do what we think is best and most fruitful for change. If you haven't been successful yet in making changes, why not try a different approach and think smaller? Multiple small accomplishments add up over time to become life-improving changes.