Nearly a year ago, I had a friend who wanted a life makeover. She had a lot of stress in her life, and she was set on reducing it. She was going to change her life from all angles. She had a list of things to start doing or start doing more often:
- Do yoga
- Go on a juicing diet
- Update wardrobe
- Go on dates
- Go to therapy
- Read self-help books
- Go to church
I’m sure there was more, but I can’t remember it all. I’m not sure if she could remember it all. As weeks went on, I saw my friend grow frustrated with her progress. She was doing all of these new things. Why weren’t they working? Why wasn’t she feeling better?
In my friend’s efforts to make a holistic life change, she became easily discontent because her whole life wasn’t changing. She couldn’t keep up with her list, or her list couldn’t keep up with her. Sometimes she had too many lists to follow consistently.
When I look at the access to advice nowadays, there are lists everywhere. Elite Daily tells me 5 Ways to Get Over the One You Cannot Have. Shape gives me 12 Natural Headache Remedies that Really Work. BuzzFeed offers 15 Flawless Tips for Maintaining Healthy Hair. The Huffington Post shares with me How To Hold A Baby In 17 Adorable Ways. For meditation beginners, The Mind Unleashed has 20 Practical Tips For Quieting The Mind. Last but not least, Apartment Therapy provides 35 Ways to Use Common Kitchen Storage Solutions All Around the House.
Essentially, if I want to make over one thing, I need to follow 15, 35, or more options to make sure that the makeover works.
No wonder people are so frustrated when trying out a new diet, exercise routine, or hairstyle.
If you’re feeling burnt out from a life makeover, give yourself a break. Once that break is over, start prioritizing what you want to change. After that new change becomes your new normal, start working on the next priority on your life makeover list.
Also recognize that even if you focus just on one thing for a while, you still may not see results immediately. However, if you’re patient enough and work hard enough, the results will come eventually.
Last week for instance, I went to a yoga class that I’ve started to attend on a weekly basis. I’m not a natural at yoga, but personal fitness trainers have said it could help me increase my flexibility. Reluctantly, I started doing it for the sake of my health. After about nine months of going to this class (on and off), I finally felt so good and relaxed after class that I went straight to sleep when I got home.
Why was this a big deal? For years, I was that awkward person in a yoga class that couldn’t hold keep my balance in a pose. Sometimes I was in classes so fast that I struggled to keep up. Yoga classes offered at my gym were too large for the instructor to give me more specialized attention given my knee injuries. For that reason, I decided to stop altogether.
After I switched to my current yoga studio, the smaller class sizes allowed my instructors to pay more attention to me and give me adapted poses that took my injuries into account. Some people would argue that the instructors in this studio are better than the ones that you’d find at a gym. That could be true, but I would definitely say that the work culture of my yoga studio also encourages instructors to be more personable and accommodating of their students. It has made a huge difference for me.
If you think about it, yoga was just one task on my friend’s list. If she couldn’t find immediate benefits to one thing on her list, how do you think she felt when she couldn’t see immediate benefits with nine things? Overwhelmed, that’s for sure.
If you’re someone that could multitask and change multiple parts of your life all at once, go ahead. Nobody’s stopping you. However, if you’re someone who’s struggling to make change with nine things on your to-do list, shorten that to-do list to one task. Instead of focusing on making over many things, focus on making over one thing–gradually but thoroughly.
Efficient change doesn’t always happen in a short time period. Sometimes efficient change happens in multiple stages over in a long time period. Your life makeover may not be quick, but it can be productive.
What are you looking to make over in your life?