4 Steps to an Empowered Life (Without the Overwhelm)
If you’re anything like me, you’ve read all about living your potential and creating a life you love. You’ve tried so many “fresh starts” that you’re an expert at falling off the wagon.
It’s overwhelming, all the things we need to do.
I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have the energy to eat 5 fresh fruit and vegetables, meditate, do brain-training puzzles, get to the gym, hold down a job, sleep and still have a social life; let alone daily.
Equally, all that hopinkATg for a better life: of our potential self and of ‘living the dream’ is being held up by our daily actions.
As a Resilience Mentor and Self Development Coach, I’ve not only been trying to manage my own life balance to reach my potential, but I’ve worked with parents, young adults and those experiencing mental health struggles across a variety of roles to create a daily routine which serves them.
And I’m here to tell you that those small, daily changes really add up.
If you get nothing else from this article, take that tiny seed of truth:
A tiny change on a daily basis really can have an impact. (Maurer, 2014)
So I’m going to list out 4 simple actions below, but I don’t want you to try to incorporate all of them at once: pick one and try it for at least a fortnight before adding a second. If you want to add in all of the ideas, I’d give yourself 6 months to make these habits.
Think about your life 6 month ago, or even a year ago: it may feel like slow progress, but if it sticks and lasts for the next few years – isn’t it worth it?
Step 1. Create some mental space.
However works for you is perfect:
- Meditate for two minutes
- Try one minute of mindfulness twice a day
- A few minutes of journaling to get those pesky thoughts out of your head and onto paper
- Some form of exercise to get your body moving (one squat while you brush your teeth, for example)
- Any activity that is relaxing for you: a bubble bath, reading a book, or watching a comedy.
- Adult (or child!) colouring books
As long as it gives you a bit of space from your mind, it counts. If you can create even 1-2 minutes a day of that space, it will have an impact in time.
Step 2. Connect.
It doesn’t matter if it’s with another person, your environment, the four elements, or your pet: but some kind of connection is crucial on a daily basis. Loneliness is not healthy: we need to feel that we are part of a bigger story.
- Play with a pet
- Hug a person you live with
- Run your hands under the warm water tap or in a nice warm sweater
- Breathe in fresh air from open window
- Stand barefoot on the ground: either pavement or concrete or grass
- Gaze into a candle flame
- Join an online forum and get chatting about a shared interest
- Text a friend for a catch-up check-in
- Hug a tree!
- Write an email to someone
Step 3. Shape your vision.
If you do not know where you’re heading, you’re less likely to get there than if you have a destination, compass and map. Yet, we often move through our daily lives without planning the net few weeks, and often feel frustrated we haven’t made more progress.
– Choose one goal, and break it down into tiny, 15-minute steps. If something won’t break down, then set time-limits. So if “do module 1 of this course” and you can’t split it further, pick “look at 2 pages a day” or “create 10 minutes every other day to study the module.”
– Each time you reach a ‘milestone’ – one of those mini-steps, celebrate and then re-plan the next step! This is crucial to building momentum and keeping motivation going.
Step 4. Review.
Reflecting on our past attempts to change can be hugely useful. You learn what the obstacles are in your mind or your routine, and work out, on a small, manageable scale, how to overcome those challenges.
- Ask yourself: What’s working? What’s blocking me? What else could I try? What would it be like if this block wasn’t there?
- Take any ‘failures’ and learn the lesson: analyse what you now know, and use this to improve the process!
These ideas do not turn your life around: but they do build in the foundation for change. Making small, manageable, daily changes teaches us to act.
We learn what works, and doesn’t work, for our particularly personality. It builds motivation: which is a brilliant base for making further change.
It inspires without overwhelm. You’re so much more likely to sit for 1 minute of colouring in than an hour of meditation. Once you’re all set up, you’ll likely spend more than 7 minutes a week doing it, and if not, that’s over 6 hours of mental space a year that you’ve not had.
What could you do with that kind of mental space?
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About the Author
Katy-Rose is a Resilience Mentor and Personal Development Coach, melding psychology, neuroscience and meditation practises together. She supports deep thinkers harness their inner fire, feel inspired and gain a sense of direction, before they’re miles off track over at Map Your Potential. Sign up for her free worksheet bundle to craft the milestones of your personal quest here.
Maurer, R. (2014.) One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way. Workman Publishing Company.