Start super small to make big changes in your life

Instead of overwhelming yourself with big tasks, break them down into the smallest conceivable pieces first.

Many people set goals for themselves that may seem a bit too far out of reach to be easily accessible or achievable.

If you’ve been failing to achieve your goals, year in, year out, then you might need to reevaluate whether you actually wanted these changes badly enough in order to do what it takes to make them happen.

How seriously were you committed about turning them into reality?

Here’s the baffling thing – so many people who actually were committed at making these big changes, not to mention scores of women who truly wanted to lose weight or quit an addictive habit, despite the best of intentions, still failed.

It’s not only disheartening when this happens, it can make you feel like you can’t trust the promises you’ve made to yourself which can also chip away at your sense of confidence or ability to get things done.

You’ve been on the topic of time management time and again. You keep letting yourself down on finding ways to manage your time more efficiently. Have you had trouble making changes that were consistent and sustainable, rather than a flash in the pan?

This ranges from waking up too late and feeling rushed, to taking too long to perfect something (perfectionism always gets in the way because it chews up so much time, no matter how brilliant your work ends up looking), to getting caught up doing stuff that distracts you from what’s really important.

The simple truth is that big changes happen when you do the smallest of things, which can have a ripple over effect.

Tackle changes in your daily life first

According to American author and leadership speaker, John Maxwell, the secret of your success is found in your daily routine so if you wanted to change your life, you need to change something you do daily.

One of the most important changes you could make is to stop charging your phone by your bedside because the tendency to check it when you wake up is so strong and automatic that you could lose your first precious few minutes of the day just being on it.

Being on the phone can literally rob you of a beautiful start to your morning, especially if you receive a disturbing message or email.

Woman using her phone in bed
Instead of checking your phone first thing in the morning, exercise or meditate instead to get yourself into positive gear for the day ahead. (Rawpixel pic)

Studies have claimed that your willpower is at its highest point when you rise, so it’s an ideal time to get your sneakers on, practise yoga, do creative thinking or enjoy some form of mindfulness practices to get yourself into positive gear.

However, checking your phone the moment you wake up drains this finite store of willpower. So, it could be one of the best changes you’ll make to simply place the phone in a location you cannot physically reach when you get up every morning.

Attend to YOU first and your own morning regimen, rather than attending to the world before you’ve even had a chance to get into the shower. The world can wait another half an hour, surely?

Forget the big goals… focus on the small instead

The New York Times best selling author Tim Ferris said the trick is not to commit to big goals that are so challenging or scary that you might not reach them.

Do the reverse. He said you should actually commit to doing less than what you believe is achievable. This means making things as easy as possible.

So instead of overwhelming yourself with big tasks, break them down into the smallest conceivable pieces, even if it means flossing one or two teeth per day, rather than aiming for the entire set. But, the irony is, once you start, you’ll probably get through the lot.

For example, if you don’t have the patience or discipline to do 30 minutes of exercise or meditation in the morning before going to work, then just try doing two to three minutes because even a few minutes can already have positive effects on your heart rate and state of mind.

Perhaps, a few minutes might one day become five minutes and if it feels beneficial and easily achievable by then, this practice might one day become fifteen minutes and so forth which is way better than not doing anything at all.

The same thing applies to wanting to read a book or cleaning up your home. For those of you who have been putting off de-cluttering your living space, perhaps just commit to clearing out one drawer or corner of the room as a start. Just watch the magic that happens once you start.

So try making the smallest of changes to your daily regimen because it will start paving the way for major changes in your life.

Jojo Struys is a regional TV host, speaker and wellness personality. She is also the founder of OhanaJo Studio, Malaysia’s largest yoga and sound healing space (www.ohanajo.com)