Ever want to change your life, but didn’t know how to start. I work with people daily around making changes in their lives to improve the quality of life, but deciding where to start is probably the hardest thing to define. I find myself struggling at times, wanting to make changes in my life, and it’s hard for me as well. My family visited from Sweden recently, and I have talked with patients who lived overseas, in the military, and they talk about how different it is, to live overseas. The concept of working to live came up, and the idea that Americans live to work. I would like to think about working to live, and enjoy my life, so it’s time to think about changing my life, for the better.
My family overseas doesn’t have half the stuff I have, but they travel to other countries like we travel state to state. I think about how Americans collect stuff, and all the storage places that have popped up around the country because our homes can’t hold the stuff anymore. We have to have extra space to store the stuff, that we don’t really use, but think we will use someday. I think about the stuff I got rid of prior to moving to Florida, and all the stuff that I have left to get rid of, because I don’t use it. From clothing, to kitchen things, to candles, I have more stuff that I don’t need than stuff that I use on a regular basis. So, that’s where I think I need to start. I need to get rid of stuff!
When I work with patients, we start with what they feel they need to work on first. Changing your life isn’t easy, and there needs to be starting place. Sometimes, it’s finances that become the first goal. Other times, it’s relationships that become the starting place. As you think about what you would like to be different, think about the long term goal. As I think about my long term goal, I think about spending more time having fun, and less time worried about money, and stuff, and my HOA (Home owners association). When I help patients consider changes, we talk about what they would like their life to be like in 5-7 years, and go from there.
I have no plans to buy a “tiny house”, get rid of all my stuff, and live with my family in 200 square feet, but I do like the idea of downsizing, especially in the future. I would love to travel, see different places, and introduce my kids to new things. People that I work with want to make small changes, and at times, bigger changes, but even small changes can help. Getting rid of stuff you don’t need, adding walking to your day to exercise, and changing your diet to eat less sugar, drink less alcohol, or increase protein are all little things that help the bigger goal. Change doesn’t have to come all at once, but small changes can lead to a bigger change, including the change you might be looking for make.
Changing your life for the better isn’t easy, but it’s worth the risk if it means that you improve your quality of life, and your happiness. You may need help and support, but you will also need a strong goal so people can’t derail you along the way. They might not understand what you are trying to do, and may make you question your goals and plan. Don’t let them keep you from the life you want to lead. If you have mental health issues or issues with substance abuse, get help to stay grounded and focused. Don’t be discouraged as you make changes, and it doesn’t go the way you plan. There will be setbacks, but they can be overcome. Plan for them, regroup and move on toward your goal.
Making changes is scary, risky, and difficult, but it can be done. I will work on my changes, and you can work on yours! Don’t give up, and stay focused. It’s all part of being happy, for life.