This article has been republished from AIA Vitality-Vlife 2018.
It’s our ongoing mantra: to create positive change in your life you need to start small. So, what will be your #onechange?
Who are you? What do you want to do with your life? What makes you happy?
These questions aren’t easy to answer. They’re far too big, far too complicated. When we feel like it’s time to create change in our life, rather than try and answer the Big Questions, it can be more effective to start breaking them apart.
How do you do that? We asked Rachel Service, founder of Happiness Concierge, for some guidance.
Notice your niggles
You might know you want to create some change – but you’re not sure what, and how. To figure out which areas of your life need attention, start noticing the issues that are front of mind on a regular basis. They won’t be hard to spot once you start paying attention – they’re re-occurring themes.
“Listen to the themes of your life,” says Rachel. “When we say something is justfine, or we don’t mind it, these are things you need to pay attention to,” she says.
Once you can identify the things that keep cropping up – issues to do with work, your living situation, fitness, or friendship group – then you can identify those areas as your focus points.
“My biggest piece of advice,” says Rachel, “is to start small, start something, and start now.”
Create an ‘I want’ list
Here’s where the breaking down begins. Rachel recommends completing an ‘I want list’ (free to download from her site).
Filling out this list – noting down in ideal terms how you want to feel, what you want to have, and what you want to achieve – helps to bring your desires into focus and segment them up in a realistic way. Via this list you can give your future vision a timeline, actionable steppingstones, and identify the long-term habit or habits that will get you to where you want to be.
And don’t be put off if you have to complete the list several times in order to get closer to what you really want. Rachel admits to filling it out five times herself initially, skipping from what she thought she ‘should’ want to what others expected of her. Drill down until you get to something that feels closer to you; a future vision stripped of external influences.
Lower your expectations
This may sound like a negative – it’s anything but. One of the reasons we ‘fail’ to keep resolutions, or make long-term changes in our lives is because we aim too high to begin with. Jumping straight to ‘I want to set up a global company’ or ‘I want to own my own house’ or ‘I want to have a body like my boxing instructor’ is too big a leap. Start small, then take consistent, incremental steps to achieving your long-term goal. For Rachel, who’s working on her fitness, that’s simply identifying where she’s packed her gym clothes after moving house. These small steps will give you the momentum you need to make the bigger change possible.
“The best salespeople say you should always make your next sale just after the last one, because of the momentum,” says Rachel.
“As our confidence grows, and we gain momentum, we’re more likely to tackle the bigger things,” she explains.
“Happiness Concierge wouldn’t be what it is today if I had planned to create a global training company. Where would I start? But I said – ‘I want to speak onstage somehow’. So I told people I wanted to do that, and then they started asking me to do things.”
Make sure you’re doing it for you
When identifying an area in your life where you’d like to make #onechange, it’s important to keep asking yourself who you’re doing it for.
“I encourage people to ask, ‘Is this activity giving me joy’? Or am I doing this activity out of a form of loyalty or service to others? If it’s the latter, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be motivated to continue to do it,” says Rachel.
“So many goals are for other people. What do you actually want to achieve? Make it about you,” she asserts.
Rachel recommends filling out a Life Audit in order to identify the activities, people and environments that bring joy – and those that drain you. Take yourself out for coffee and fill it out privately, to clearly map out how you should be divvying up your time.
The real power of #onechange
Now here’s the kicker: once you’ve identified areas of change, pinpointed the small steps you can take to build momentum and grow in the right direction, the best thing you can do is stop thinking about yourself.
“If you swap your focus to what can you do to help other people, you actually get a lot more done,” says Rachel.
If you can find a bigger reason to commit to your #onechange – like thinking about the positive effect it will have on your friends/partner/family/community/the environment – not only will you up your motivation (because purpose fosters motivation), you’re more likely to be creating positive change in the world too.
This article was originally published here: https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=1/2018&article=start-small
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