A Long Post About Small Changes

I have this yoga teacher who is really great about giving us about 3 minutes of wisdom and then starting class with a “let’s dive into it, shall we?” While I sometimes love to listen to teachers talk a little more about the philosophy, I also appreciate the propensity to dive in and get moving.

In that vein, I acknowledge that I’ve been either actually absent from this blog lately or mentally absent, and I’m pretty sure that while I’ve gone through this a million times (and probably will again), I’m genuinely ready to recommit. Except, I still ended up writing a lot; so feel free to skip to the bottom for the TLDR (too long, didn’t read) version of this post.

My stress levels have been a bit high since the fall, and I lost a lot of good habits. Although that stress has somewhat dissipated over the last month, I haven’t really been able to get things back on track. I felt overwhelmed, like I had to tackle it all at once, and so in essence, I watched a lot of Parenthood instead.

This is real life, people, and it felt hard. I consider myself to be ultra motivated toward health, wellness, and balance. Well, that kind went all out the window. I’m pretty sure I already talked about it. But I thought it would come back easily, and um, it hasn’t. It turns out, my healthy habits were replaced with habits of mindless snacking, emotional eating, and halfhearted workouts.  I didn’t journal, I was sick of cooking, and my meditation practice died a swift death. Oops!

I’m not beating myself up about it because I figure I just needed a break so I could get some perspective and reconnect. So last week, I was all ready to recommit and get going.

Then last Sunday, I woke up with a megacough and congestion and nausea and basically a monster cold. The kind of sick where you take a four-hour nap and still sleep through the day. Thank goodness we don’t have kids. Sick moms and dads out there, you are the tops. Mad props to you.

Today, nine days later, I’m finally feeling human. You know what healthy habits happened last week? Um, none, but I did catch up to the current season of Parenthood, so there’s that.

All during that low time and the sick time, I still got my homework done and connected with friends, family, and Alex and made sure I bathed and kept the house from turning into a total disaster. So all in all, I was productive enough, but I knew and know that I am capable of more.

So today, on my first day actually being motivated I decided that instead of completely overhauling my life, I’d take a few little steps toward better habits:

  • I woke up early to put together a healthy lunch for Alex and I
    • I’ve been throwing things together during the day when I’m home, but today I got up early so that it would be done around lunchtime. Usually, I’m exercising in the morning but I’m taking it easy because of my cold so I used that time to cook instead. (It was a great recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook – I’ll post a review next week!)
  • I chose to eat mindfully
    • Ever since I was a kid, I have loved to read and eat at the same time. I used to read the cereal box. But today, I made a conscious effort during both breakfast and lunch to just eat. It was legitimately uncomfortable, and I kept having the urge to reach for my phone or a book or magazine, but I did it.
  • I got active on my study breaks
    • During one study break I did 5 sun salutations and during another, I took a walk around the block. Bonus dose of Vitamin D for the day. Moving my body really helps me stay focused on my work when I am sitting down.
  • I set a timer for working/studying
    • Setting a timer for 50 – 60 minutes of work and then taking a 5-minute break really helps me stay on task. I don’t check my email or the news or Instagram in that time because I know I’ll have 5 minutes to do it at the end of the chunk.
  • I wrote this post
    • I want to write more. Leo from Zen Habits recently had a post on writing and his advice? Write every damn day. Know that some of it will suck. That’s scary, but here I am, doing it.

These small changes made a huge difference today, and I’m really confident that I’ll be able to continue carrying them forward and adding on to them to get back to a place where I feel like I’m rocking life. Because that’s what I want to do, as often as I can.

Here’s the TLDR version of this post:

In a slump? Don’t beat yourself up about it. That doesn’t help.Accept that for whatever reason, you needed a break and you took it. I wasted a lot of time being mad at myself.

  • Think of one small change you can make and make it today.
    • Walk around the block. Replace the chips in your lunch with fruit. Watch one episode of your favorite show instead of marathoning 5 (been there).
  • Once you have a good thing going with that small change, make another.
    • Build on your habits but go slow. Give yourself time to adjust.
  • Recognize yourself for making changes
    • It’s easy to dismiss small changes as not good enough. Don’t do it. It doesn’t help. They ARE good enough.

2 thoughts on “A Long Post About Small Changes

  1. What a fantastic post. I am glad you are feeling “human” again — I so know what that feels like, as it seems I’ve contracted multiple mega-bugs in the past year! I love your small changes. It’s all about that sort of stuff to add up to the bigger changes in our lives ❤

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