Improving by 1 percent everyday sometimes it isn’t even noticeable- but it can be far more meaningful, specially in the long run. James clear, Atomic Habits (p.15)
We are the product of our habits. We are who we are.
Trying to change our life one glorious morning might work only if you are buzzing with motivation, for how long might be the question.
Instead of one big change like going vegan overnight, we can start with small ones that doesn’t take a lot of effort but makes you feel good. Stacking up those small changes can slowly bring in the change you have been looking for.
Here are 5 small changes I am trying out for Feb:
1. Use Less Plastic- I haven’t banned it overnight because it took me time to realise how much of it I was really using. In 2018, I started a new habit of putting all my plastics in a bin after I had done using them- like shampoo bottles, ketchup bottles, grocery packagings etc. Plastics just wasn’t the Tupperware in my kitchen, turns out it spread in every corner of my house. It took me time to figure this out as bin after bin filled up rather quickly.
Last week, I went to Ikea and got few glass storage containers (the ones I use to stash leftovers in the refrigerators) and got lunch box too. I decided in carrying a little heavier lunch box because I was trying to reduce the plastic consumption for my family.
Scientific studies mention that in the short term; society needs to significantly curtail unnecessary single-use plastic items such as water bottles, plastic shopping bags, straws and utensils.
Its a well known fact that when we challenge ourselves with something that is manageable and yet a little difficult, we will keep at it. Swapping out a few containers to start with is a no brainer, the impact is the feel good factor. Slowly getting rid of as much as possible will be part of the process for the next 6 months.
2. Eating More Vegies- As a kid our plates were literally filled up two thirds with it and it was non negotiable. Growing up as life got busier and fast food became easily accessible, food habits changed. I still enjoy veggies but sometimes when theres only half an hour to get dinner on table, I reach out for time tested egg curry or grilled chicken with rice and lentil. Sometimes that leaves our plates without vegies. As a mom to a four year old I want him to know vegetables are as precious as the egg he wants at every meal. So, most of the meals now have to include veggies in some format format.
Researchers say- A diet rich in vegetables and fruits can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, prevent some types of cancer, lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.
For me, its just being more conscious, plan a little bit when I do the grocery because I want veggies that I can quickly toss as a salad or put in the oven. I even tried 15 days going vegetarian in January. I was almost okay with it, the only problem was if I had guests, I wasn’t sure what they would like.
3. Walking - I have had love hate relationship with exercise but have always enjoyed walking. So a walk after dinner or after I get back from work is a simple routine I truly enjoy. Not only does it destress me, the best of my ideas come from when I walk it definitely clears my mind.
Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19 percent.
Doing something small that doesn’t need a lot of mental push for me is a winner that can lead to spending more time walking or thinking of healthy diet after I get home form walking because I feel refreshed and good. With a refreshed mind I tend to make better decisions than stressed out days, where I just want to order in because I am already exhausted.
4. Listening to Something Positive Every Morning- One of my friends recently watched my last Youtube video and mentioned that I must read lot of self help books. That got me thinking- what is self help books. While the category seems very clear if you still go to book shops, anything that helps you really can be considered self help books. So, what category do I really choose most of my books from? I don’t have a pattern (or may be I do), though honestly I mostly read non-fiction now, a clear deviation from my choice of books 10 years ago.
So, this month I bought books as usual, however every morning I prefer listening to something positive.than reading It mostly means something on Youtube or a podcast. It does give me boost for the day and start my day with a fresh mind. But more than that I glide through negative moments much more easily, I am much more forgiving and hopeful and end up working on my dream projects which otherwise in a lot of cases have got sidelined as a personal trend.
Being positive or inspired isn't always about the last book you read, its about the mindset that you are trying to build.
I read about neuroplasticity few years ago and since then some things have stayed with me. And I know it works for me, if I can be consistent on hearing the positive thoughts. You are what you think isn’t just a proverb anymore.
With every repetition of a thought or emotion, we reinforce a neural pathway - and with each new thought, we begin to create a new way of being. These small changes, frequently enough repeated, lead to changes in how our brains work.
To hear some amazing case studies about it, watch this video- The Brain that Changes Itself
5. Start Something New- I always find starting something small which is part of my dreams, happiness, plans gives me that extra little boost that I might need on my regular days. Something to keep me excited and looking forward to even during the busy weekdays. For a lot of people could be , going back home and watching the next episode in Netflix.
For me this could be writing my blog consistently again, or trying out something new like joining a gym. It truly makes me happy from within that even lasts longer than going on a shopping trip.
Something as simple as gardening (start with one plant), reading books, planning for a new travel destination for June could be a starting point. Our brain likes novelty and doing something you look forward to could also get you one step closer to your actual goal.
If you have a life you want mapped out for you, instead of thinking too much about it, may be take the simplest of goals and break it down further and start doing something really small. You don’t need to buy glass containers but may be take your first art class that happens round the corner.
You can watch the video here:
Where focus goes, energy flows.
(Pic courtesy: Google Images)