- Mental Health
How to Change Your Life in 10 Days
Change your life in 10 Days
Life seems to be full of constant cycles, in and out of ups and downs and ruts that seem to drag on endlessly. More often than not however, there are simple things that are being overlooked that when added together can drastically change your life and set you on a path that’s more meaningful and fulfilling. They say that it takes 21 days to make a habit stick, but what it really takes is just one day. One day at a time, over and over and over again. But now is not the time to worry about tomorrow. There are still hours or minutes left in today.
As hard and unrealistic as it may be to simply focus on one day without looking ahead, try not to look further than 10 days. For most of us our lives are broken into 2 general routine patterns. Those from Monday through Friday where we work, and then Saturday and Sunday where we’re free. For most people, Monday through Friday routines are pretty straightforward to establish and maintain, largely due to the predictability of the days and the habitual routines we establish around work. We know when we get up, when we eat, when we’ll get home, what time we’ll be in bed. The weekend, tends to be the time where structure and routine are somewhat more of a struggle and when most objectives and goals seem to take a backseat. So by committing to change for 10 days, you can encompass 2 weekends and a work-day to really anchor to your new lifestyle.
It begins with the recognition and desire to want it different. Whether your job, your relationship, your own life, if everything seems to be going sideways, its time to make a change. There are so many elements and levels within each aspect of life that, with a few minor tweaks can improve your overall performance. It’s like an oil change or tire rotation for your car. You don’t necessarily need a new car for a smoother ride, just some maintenance along the way.
Taking personal inventory is the first step. Don’t get bogged down on the things that make you sad, make you frustrated, there will be time for that later. For now, keep it as simple as you can. You need gas, oil to keep your car running, air in your tires to move it forward and a seat-belt and air bags to keep you safe. You’re life is no different. Just like you wouldn’t start building a house by looking for furniture, you need to start with your foundation.
Start by looking at how you keep your life running.
How do you sleep? What time do you go to bed and when do you wake up? Do you eat regularly, healthy? Do you exercise? All of these basic things we take for granted form the backbone of improving your life. If you’re not doing what it takes to keep your body running, you can’t expect life to run as smoothly for you as it could.
How about your spiritual life?
Do you pray, meditate or attend a religious service? Do you regularly check in with your higher power, whatever you choose that to be? Do you believe in a higher power? If not, that isn’t a deal breaker, but you have to place something above all else in order to guide your life. It can be as simple as committing to change and improvement. Make living healthy and optimally your higher power. Make doing healthy, soul-full things the guiding light. The reason for this is simple. For its when the day seems to be drifting by that you can look to your higher power and re-align or adjust your thoughts and re-direct your life towards change and improvement. All too often we get caught up in thought, paralyzed with inaction. When we consult with our higher power, asking a simple question….am I doing what I need to be doing.? we can pull ourselves out of our rut and begin to take action. The truth is, that what we have been doing lead us to this. Clearly we didn’t have all of the answers or we wouldn’t be reading about changing our lives.
If you are committed to change, are ready to turn your direction towards something bigger and greater than yourself, then results are merely a function of effort, time and commitment.
Day One. Get prepared, get what you will need.
Stock up the fridge.
If you find you skip breakfast, or eat late at night, if you don’t like to cook, no worries, there are hundreds of ways around that. Most grocers make ready to go meals, Don’t like to eat fruits and veggies, don’t like fish or seafood, no problems. Plenty of ways to get what you need. Regardless, fuel for your body, is fuel for your mind. If change is what you are after, getting what you need nutritionally is like using a lap-top with a fully charged battery. If not, well, you won’t be able to work that long.
Some ways to keep your body going could be as easy as having a Fruit2Day drink, or a smoothie, a protein shake and some vitamins. Mixed with some sporadic meals, you’re at least getting the nutrients you need. Some days time is short, so having quick things to take on the go really help. Get the things you’ll need to kick start a healthy diet
Set a bed time, wake up time.
During the week, its likely bed time and waking up is earlier than the weekend. While this isn’t a bad thing, when the weekend comes, its easy to lose that momentum of routine gained during the week. Again, come Monday morning, it’s often a struggle to jump back into the weekday routine after freelancing it all weekend. The goal is to smooth out the differences by living one way every day. So choose a sleeping schedule that doesn’t throw off your rhythms. Whether it be lights out a midnight and up at 6am, or out by 10pm and up at 7am, pick a range and stick to it.
Get some reading material.
Nothing easier than improving your life by reading something uplifting or inspirational. Plan on spending as little as 15 minutes, but no more than an hour a day to read. This will give you thoughts to turn to throughout the day that aren’t as dramatic as the daily news which seems to be nothing but negative or issue laden. The goal is to avoid unneeded dramatic reality. Sure, murders occur every day, unemployment runs rampant, politicians argue. That’s nothing new, it will still go on with or without you paying much attention to it. Turn of the TV, grab a book and feed your soul.
Find some prayers or meditations that take anywhere from a minute to a few minutes and make this a daily part of your routine. Best time to incorporate this into your life, first thing in the morning. After going to the bathroom, splashing some water on your face, find a quite place and talk to your higher power.
Ask for strength to get through today, to do the best that you can with gets thrown your way. To remember your goals in all of your actions, and thankful for the opportunities you have.
Recognition at the end of the day is another great time for prayer or meditation. Recognize your higher power for a successful day. Give thanks for your accomplishments and the courage to repeat your quest the following day.
If your routine includes exercise, than that element of your life should provide an anchor. If however, exercise seems to be escaping you, time to catch it and incorporate it into your life. Now fitness doesn’t need to be a day in and day out part of your routine, but on some level it should be a daily thought, especially if you live a sedentary life. Take a walk around the neighborhood, or go to the mall and browse or do something outdoors, where you are not inside. Anything that brings you closer to becoming more active. Set aside at least 30 minutes a week to do something. That, I’m sure, everyone can do.
Day 2 – 9
Implement your habits. Wake up at your determined time. Say your prayers/meditation. In essence what you are doing is setting your compass on the path you want to take. Just for today. Grab a bite to eat and be on your way. If your mornings permit, read some of your book, or read an article of inspiration.
As the day goes on, remember what you are trying to accomplish. If you get stuck in a rut, your thoughts turn cyclical and you feel a wave of negativity, remind yourself that it is just for today and these feelings will pass. More often than not, irritability is a clear sign that the body, the mind is not armed properly to defend it. Grab a workout, a healthy meal and plan on getting to bed early. Not only will this shorten your day and release some stress, it will give you the fuel you need to have a more productive day tomorrow.
The goal is to establish a rhythm where taking care of your body, your foundation comes automatically. You’ll begin to recognize when you need sleep, if you are getting the proper nutrients, exercise. A strong foundation is one where you can make lasting, noticeable changes to all areas of your life. Trying to build on unstable ground, eventually leads to a crumbling house.
Where most people fall off is after they get through the week, or after a weekend. This is largely because the routine they built around work somewhat becomes a necessity and when the weekend comes, there is no real obligation to occupy such substantial amounts of time. Unfortunately, we can’t treat the week like we do the weekend, but we can treat the weekend as we do our week. If you normally work-out during lunch at work, grab your workout at lunch-time over the weekend. Similarly, if you eat lunch at 1pm Mon-Friday, then eat lunch at 1pm on the weekend. This goes for all of the things you do during the week that aren’t work-related.
Another pitfall is that the stores, restaurants, gym, etc that we have access to during the work-week, are often not the same ones we frequent in our neighborhoods, simply because often we work miles and miles away from where we live. Its important to find substitutes to fit your needs. For instance, if you like to sit outside at a park near work during lunch, find a park near your home. Whatever you’ve developed as your routine during the week, do the same, or find an alternative for the weekend.
Reflect on the past 10 days. By now you should have developed some routines, made some adjustments, figured out your schedule. One of the indirect benefits of establishing this baseline routine, is life becomes more predictable. Predictability, reliability and stability of the basics will allow you to now focus on the details of your life that you’d like to address and change.
With the basics being handled through auto-pilot, thanks to the routines you’ve built, you can start to add additional elements to your overall improvement plan. Its as if the foundation and frame to the house are up, all that’s left is designing the interior.
However, all the actions and changes you make will be meaningless and quickly forgotten if you don’t believe within yourself that you 1) truly want to change, 2) believe that your higher power can enact that change and provide results, 3) check in with your higher power regularly and 4) help others and improve the lives of those around you.
By now you’ve realized that one day at a time, day after day, you can make changes to your life. It is your life, and only you can own it. So day by day, make it your own.