There is a complementary opposite to how the really hard thing to do is changing what’s normal (for you, in your life), a logical conclusion that follows from the challenge of (creating) a better-normal life: the useful normality of a better life.
That is, where it is the hardest to change things for the better in normal life, making a normal life one’s better life may well not be all that hard.
What it takes are two things, the mindset and the doing.
Try and Think this Way…
There are very popular ideas focusing on the mental side of creating a better life.
Only too many of them are nothing but “mental” in the worst sense of the word.
Only because you want something, it will not happen.
No matter how much you desire it, no matter how often you write down what you want each and every day, it will not come.
Neither your attitude nor your best of intentions will change things auto-magically.
Mindset still matters, though.
It will help to see the problems that are holding you back not as insurmountable obstacles and shackles that will never let you live better, but as challenges to overcome and grow by.
Not in the sense that it doesn’t matter, but in the sense of choosing what works for you, from those things that have been shown to actually work.
Or choose something to try out, at least; it’s all just different labels for a similar approach focused on the potential to learn and grow rather than remain mired in the thought that there’s nothing you could do, after all.
…and, Walk This Way
Then, however, there’s also how you’ll have to do something – and as the proof is in the pudding, so the change is in the doing.
When it’s all about the challenge of changing a current normality to the normality of a better life, however, maybe things are not all that difficult.
After all, then, you don’t have to change everything immediately and to great extent.
The first thing you have to do, more simply, is to accept your mission, take on the challenge, take small steps in the direction in which you want to go.
- Clean up, get organized, seek ways to stay organized.
- Eat “clean,” staying away from ready-made “foods” (not to mention serious junk foods) and going for whole ingredients and/in self-cooked meals.
- Move more, walking and taking the stairs whenever you can avoid the car and the escalator/elevator.
These are just the kinds of things that are such small steps that they are hard to do, for they sound too easy and too small for the grand results we’d like to have, and have at once. But, they are also the practices that have good long-term effects.
Tricking Your Normal
These things may just be hard enough to do that we commonly fail, just as we do when we make a new year’s resolution to, well, be more organized, eat more healthily (let alone, lose weight), or visit the gym regularly.
So, it may still take some tricks.
And again, it’s a matter of normality and of what works for you:
You may be the person for whom a small change, a nudge, works best.
Get a FitBit or similar step counter (or Google Fit on your smartphone, if you carry that around enough) and play with hitting a “good” count.
Figure out where you can put what so the things you always use have their place and get put there.
Slowly get into the habit of seeing where what should go, taking it from there before you go out and putting it back there as part of the routine of returning home.
Start taking the time and trying out things, from the produce aisle, in the kitchen.
… Or A Leap
Or maybe you need a more radical step.
Go cold turkey on the junk food you love too much, keep it out of the house, and have better alternatives you also like at the ready.
Follow a clean-up program and throw out everything you haven’t been using for too long, then figure out the proper places for the rest.
Probably, you’re still thinking that this is just too little – and too hard – to have a great effect , but it’s not about an immediate great effect, it’s about making the normal better.
Better Normal, Not Harder You
In being about making the normal better, it’s not about being harder on yourself.
Somehow, we so love to be hard on ourselves, thinking that this is what it takes (just look at CrossFit or at the way UnderArmour advertises itself, even if as part of a focus on the practice it does take indeed).
Yet, it hardly ever works out. Instead, why not focus on taking our needs and our limits more seriously, with empathy – and including with empathy for the steps we may have to take to trick ourselves into a better normal.
Also, don’t try to change everything because you hate your life, your looks, whatever.
Try to just move towards the life, and the self, you think you’ll love – not because it is the great dream presented by others (and above all, by marketing that just wants you to hate yourself and buy stuff to make up for it).
Rather, because you can see it’s good: a sense of control over your life, because you handle its basics well-enough, experiences (and experiments) that are nice and interesting and help you get to new places, be that in running or in trying out new foods, in travel or in the armchair.