Good things take time.
When you start something new you’re likely to be unpolished to begin with, you’re still learning afterall.
But that initial stage is what puts many people off. They get caught up in the idea that they’re not good enough. They play the comparison game, often looking at people with much more practice and experience.
The reality is that it takes time to find your rhythm. After a couple of weeks you can’t expect to be perfectly polished. That’s not even reasonable.
It’s so helpful and a much more enjoyable process, when you put the focus on doing the work instead of the end result.
Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.
Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.
The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.
Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.
But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.
You feel calmer afterwards.
In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were helpful habits.
If you want to start reading more, getting up at 6am every morning, eating more nourishing food or committing to your creative projects, one day won’t make a difference on it’s own.
It’s a series of days, one by one, bit by bit that make the real difference.
One day isn’t enough to build a habit but that’s where things start. That one day will become 30 days and then 90 until that thing you’ve been doing each day is now part of your daily routine.
When you’re getting started, it’s worth remembering that change takes time. Don’t be disappointed after 3 days if you don’t feel like it, your brain is still getting used to your new way of doing things. Instead focus on it one day at a time and remember that you’re working towards something long-term.
And on days when you don’t feel like practicing your new habit, it won’t matter in the short-run but in the long run you’ll probably be glad you committed to it.
When someone comes to you, asking some thing of you, how do you respond?
Do you simply think about whether or not you want to do it?
Do you worry about how the other person will react if you say no?
So often we grow up inadvertently being taught to people please and unless we later unlearn it, it stays with us.
Then you find yourself saying yes to something you don’t want to do because you’re worried about hurting someones feelings, to the point where you place that above doing what feels right for you.
If that’s something you can relate to, you might want to start learning to say no.
It gets easier over time, practice makes perfect after all.
This is the way of the optimist.
It’s also worth remembering that even if things don’t turn out in the way that you consider to be ‘the best’, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
That way no matter what life throws at you, you’ll be able to roll with it with a little less resistance or resentment.
However, all of this means nothing unless you put it into practice.
The next time thing don’t turn out as you planned pay attention to your thoughts. Is your inner monologue deflated, is it going 101mph complaining about how life is unfair and nothing goes your way or is their acceptance of your current situation and thoughts on how to move forward?
It’s easy to be grateful when things are going your way.
But when times are uncertain and life has thrown a spanner in the works gratitude often becomes a little more challenging.
Suddenly the most prominent things are the bad stuff and you’re not thankful for your life being turned upside down.
In these times it’s even more important to practice gratitude.
The real benefits of the practice come when you’re able to make it a part of your lifestyle, independent of your circumstances.
And so maybe it used to be I’m grateful for getting to be apart of this exciting project or some other major thing that you feel like shouting from the rooftops. But now it’s more like I’m grateful for these cosy socks, the flowers in my garden and running water.
Things that take a small amount of effort in the short term can end up providing great results long term.
And in the moment when we make the choice to give more, it can be easy to question whether or not it’s worth it.
Ironing your clothes for the week ahead
Making your lunch the night before
Answering an email the day you receive it
Having a night routine
When you don’t feel like doing something it’s always useful to think about how good you’ll feel in the future. You’ll feel more relaxed, prepared and organised.
Who wouldn’t want that?
I start each day with a gratitude practice of listing 10 things I am grateful for.
Things are changing quickly and becoming quite difficult in some ways. It can be difficult to keep up with gratitude through challenging times.
You might find yourself wondering what exactly there is to be grateful for in a time of such great uncertainty. But I find that if you focus on the good bits (no matter how small) there is always something to be grateful for. I have no doubt that before you know it you’ll have reached 10 things pretty easily.
It could be sunny weather, the people you live with, the food in your cupboards, your health, the smoothie you made, being able to communicate with loved ones far away, the fact that you’re able to work from home, the friend that sent you a song as a pick me up, the extra time you have now you’re no longer commuting to work or even your favourite (almost) daily blog.
It might be difficult to think of things when you’re fearful or overwhelmed but know that this the perfect time to put your daily gratitude practice into practice
I’ve recently developed a new habit that I’d previously had difficulty implementing.
When I initially tried to add this habit to my life, I kept falling flat. I wasn’t doing it as often as I wanted and my commitment to it was half-hearted.
After a short while I gave up on the habit because it clearly wasn’t working. In hindsight I can see that the problem was my approach but I didn’t realise it at the time.
Despite this I still held the intention of the thing I wanted to become a habit but I’d stopped trying.
Weeks later whilst lost in thought I realised that I’d unknowingly implemented the habit I’d previously been working towards. I think it happened because the intention was in my subconscious.
Granted at the time, I was only less than 2 weeks into the habit so it was more of a practice but I couldn’t help but notice that things felt so much easier.
If you have an idea of what could be done or what is possible, would you be willing to put it into practice?
It’s really easy to talk the talk full of excitement and enthusiasm. But actually doing the things you talk about is a whole other story.
It’s easy to give advice when things are going well or tell other people what to do.
But what about taking your advice first?
Why not actually do the thing before you talk about it?
It’ll add some validation when you later recommend it to others and that might be what they need in order to listen.