So you’re ready to start this process, right? You’re finally ready to make tangible changes to explore your desires, ignite your passions, and truly transform your life! But where the heck do you start? How are you supposed to figure out what to start with when there are thousands of options and people to learn from? What if you choose the wrong thing to start with? What if you don’t execute it perfectly and make a mistake and it causes a disaster of a dumpster fire and then you’d have to admit that you DID actually start the fire and it hasn’t been burning since the world’s been turning!!! GASP.
No need to be so dramatic. There is so much information and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Don’t get caught in that paralysis by analysis so that you NEVER actually start. Here’s the thing: each journey starts with the SAME step – the FIRST one.
The fitness journey starts with one literal step. The job search starts with one email. Finding your true passion starts with one question. Making a difference starts with one action. In this case, pick ONE practice (randomly, if you must), and start. That’s it. So simple. There are some fundamental practices that are uncomplicated and take very little time, so we recommend starting with one of these. THIS is where you take that first action step to changing your life. Now, let’s do it.
Gratitude is perhaps the simplest and quickest practice to begin. It has the potential to completely shift the focus of the mind so you’re aware of all the positive, joyful events and experiences you have daily, as opposed to all that is wrong with the world. All you need is a notebook and a pen. Or even a piece of scrap paper and a half-eaten crayon. Don’t make it too complicated. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or have the perfect stationery to get started. The key is to START. If you’ve never intentionally practiced personal development before, or if you’re trying to get back on track, try starting here.
Silence is another great option for starting to explore desires and passions to ignite your soul. It can also be thought of as prayer or meditation. Let’s not be closed-minded or frightened by those terms. You can call it whatever you like (quieting the mind, connecting with the universe, listening for a higher power, locking yourself in the bathroom with the shower running so you can have 3 minutes of peace and quiet) – whatever you want to term your own silence is just fine. This truly gives your mind a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of daily life, leaving you with decreased anxiety and depression, as well as improved productivity, among others. Starting with one quality minute and building to 10 or more minutes is undoubtedly a beneficial practice.
Exercise. Yes, it’s the dreaded E-word. But, it’s not what you think. You don’t have to punish or overtax your body with this one. A gentle, easy movement series helps to improve mental health, enhance sleep quality, and boost creativity. Our bodies were made to move! We experience improved flexibility, less pain, lower stress levels, less fatigue, and increased energy when we move regularly. Walking (preferably outdoors), completing a gentle yoga flow, stretching, or executing a few body-weight resisted exercises are great options. Even 10 minutes is enough to feel the benefits of exercise.
Affirmations refer to positive declarations we say and repeat to ourselves. Without even knowing it, we often say horrible and demeaning things to ourselves throughout each day. Do you recognize any of these thoughts?
“OMG, I’m such an idiot. I just said, ‘You, too,’ when the waiter said, ‘Enjoy your meal.’”
“I’ll never look like her, no matter how hard I try.”
“I’m the worst mom on the planet because I forgot my kid’s permission slip.”
“I’ll never be good enough for (insert literally ANYTHING here)”
If we continue to speak negatively about ourselves, that’s what we begin to BELIEVE about ourselves. However, if we intentionally choose positive statements to say to ourselves, ABOUT ourselves, we start to believe those, also. This is a very important step in kindling our spirits and transforming our thoughts in order to change our lives. Positive talk through affirmations is a skill that can be learned and developed, leading to decreased self-doubt, improved confidence, and becoming a badass.
Now, don’t let choosing which option to start with stress you out. Try one. ANY one. Be consistent and do it each day for a week. Notice the difference you feel each day and the cumulative difference after that week. Now keep going! When you’re ready, come back here to explore more fundamentals, feel that fire ignite in your soul, and continue your transformation!