4 Ways to Become Unstuck in Life

Lady looking stuck and frustrated

Feeling stuck is one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. You want to do more, but you cannot seem to get yourself together to do more. And if you express this to other people, everybody just tells you to just do it. Just go for it. This advice sounds so simplistic, yet it feels like the hardest thing to do because you feel stuck. And you may not even understand why you feel this way, but you do. Today I will be discussing a few ways that we become stuck and how we can reverse those feelings.

Mindset

Sometimes our mindsets keep us in circumstances although we desire more for ourselves. Some of us have a mindset of resignation. This mindset follows the line of thinking that it is what it is, I have all I am going to have, and I must make do with this. With this mindset, it is very easy to get stuck because, although you may want more for yourself, you think that what you have now is all that you will ever have. When you have this mindset, the natural response is why want more if this is all I will ever have? This frame of thinking sometimes comes when we have yet to get over decisions made in past circumstances that may have put us at a disadvantage. We may feel like we don’t deserve any better and that we have made our bed so now we must lay in it.

No Real Goals

There are times where we may say we want something but we don’t outline a plan to actually get it. When this happens, we are just basically verbalizing the desire, but we do not actually give ourselves opportunity to reach the destination we have for ourselves. Having no real destination puts you in a position to where you are basically just going through life but staying in the same position. Almost like a hamster on his wheel. Time is moving on, but you are not growing into your potential.  Setting goals is vital to avoiding the feeling of being stuck.

Being Fearful

Fear paralyzes so many people. Some people have the fear of failure. For these individuals, the fear of what could go wrong and the consequences of what could happen is more powerful than the desire to try. This failure to even attempt keeps you stuck where you are in life. But then there is also the fear of success. There are some individuals who shy away from being successful because success often comes with more responsibilities and judgment. The additional responsibilities and the potential to be judged sometimes keeps some from even trying.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is when you doubt your ability to be successful or feeling like you do not belong. Those who experience imposter syndrome often feel like a fraud, as if they don’t have the necessary qualifications to even be in the company of certain people. People who are experiencing imposter syndrome experience a certain level of success. The problem arises when they do not try to go further for fear of being exposed as a fraud. They feel as if they are lucky to have gotten as far as they have and don’t want to push their luck by attempting to go further. This can leads to a feeling of being stuck because while they may have experienced some success, they are scared to go further.

In order to reach your full potential, you have to be free to do those things that will get you to your ultimate goal. In other words, you must become unstuck. Here are a few ways that this can be done.

Focus on Your Thought Patterns

This is a very important step in becoming unstuck. A lot of what has us stuck is often what we think of ourselves or our circumstances. Take a few moments to really examine your thoughts. Are they positive thoughts or are they negative thoughts? If you have negative thoughts, do they lead to negative self-talk? If you are having negative thoughts and if they are leading to negative self talk, challenge these thoughts. Try to see where they are coming from. Is it just coming from yourself doubt or are they based in long-term traumas? Really evaluate your thoughts and why you have them. You may find that you will find that you can move forward once you begin to change the way you think.

Make Small Changes

Sometimes we feel stuck because we have fallen into a rut. We have gotten into a comfort zone and we have snuggled comfortably into it. Sometimes all you need is a small change in your daily routine or habits to shake things up enough to become unstuck. If you find that you have big goals but you don’t set small goals in between, maybe that is something you can try. Setting those small goals may feel weird to you at first but that small change in habit may be enough to make you feel unstuck.  Also, just trying something new that you may not have thought you might enjoy can sometimes make you unstuck. This could open you up to other things that might get you moving in the right direction.

Build Your Confidence

As stated earlier, there are a lot of things that can go into you feeling stuck in life. Becoming unstuck requires you to look at yourself in a totally different way. Instead of feeling like this is all is going to be, you must start thinking that you can indeed live your best life. This requires you to build your confidence. Building your confidence often requires you to do those things that you may have been scared to do previously or that may feel a little uncomfortable. But once you do these things and realize that you can be successful at these things, you will begin to do more things and you will begin to experience success. This will hopefully move you toward setting higher and higher goals that you will continue to reach.

Find Your Passion

Lastly, find your passion. Oftentimes we feel stuck because have not yet found that thing that we love. We may do a lot of things that we like but very little of the things that we love. Doing the things that we love is what gets you moving to your ultimate goal. Dreaming big and aspiring beyond just your day to day is what will eventually lead to you not feeling so stuck.

Determined looking lady

Have you ever had this stuck feeling? What did you do to become unstuck? Or if you are still feeling stuck, what is going to be your first step in moving toward your goals? Comment below and let us know!

4 Paths to a Bold, Fearless Life

woman in white living fearlessly

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.

Les Brown

I absolutely love this quote because it faces you think: am I truly living my dreams or am I living my fears? That is a legit question.  Many people may say they are living their dreams. But when they think about every time, they second guessed themselves or not giving 100% of their effort into something, the answer may change.  A lot of people live at least a portion of their lives in fear.  Some of this fear may be legit but some of it may be fueled by things that can be controlled.  The following are a few ways you can begin living your dreams.

Find the Source of Your Fear

This may take a bit of time, but it is imperative that you find the true source of your fear.  Once you determine the source of your fears, you can begin to break whatever it is into small, manageable chunks so you can overcome it and truly begin to live your best life.  Some of the solutions to overcoming these fears may require the assistance of a counselor or therapist.  It will be worth to really take the time to really dig and find the source of your fear so that you can live your life freely.

Change Your Mindset

Sometimes we start out living our lives vicariously, but we end up living lives filled with fear due to our mindsets that may shift over time.  We sometimes start out with growth mindsets where everything is going well and all breaks are seeming to go our way.  When all is well it is quite easy to believe that you can learn more, work harder, and keep reaching for your goals.  However, if you have a fixed mindset and you have allowed fear to creep in, then fear will become a part of your thinking and it will be difficult to move forward.  To be successful, you must minimize any fear that you are experiencing and adopt a growth mindset.

stylish dreamy black woman with afro hairstyle on blue background

Practice Mindfulness

If fear has crept into your life and seems to occupy most of your thoughts, you can attempt to control it through various methods.  Meditation is one technique can be used to help you face your fear and make it less intimidating.  Deep breathing can also be helpful when you need to move forward but you begin to feel fear creep in. This deep breathing can help calm you until the fear subsides. Journaling can also be a technique to put your thoughts on paper and work through your fears through your entries.  You will be able to look back and see how you have overcome your fears in the past to motivate you to work toward overcoming them now.  Also, positive thinking and reframing of negative thoughts into positive ones can help your fears not to appear to be so big that you cannot overcome them.   

Do Not Give Fear Energy

Feeling fear is sometimes just a part of living.  When you are trying something new or in an unfamiliar situation, fear is likely to arise.  The main thing is to not lean into the fear.  This can be challenging but the most beneficial thing to do is to let the fear come, acknowledge it, and then let it pass.  It can sometimes be challenging, and this may take a lot of practice.  Denying fear, the opportunity to completely consume you will take time and practice.

woman living fearlessly on beach

Do you feel as if you live life fearlessly? What advice would you give those who strive to live fearlessly?

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5 Reasons You Lack Motivation

lady looking unmotivated

Feeling unmotivated may be one of the most frustrating feelings ever.  You have goals, you have things that you want to do, you even make plans.  But then, when the time comes, you just cannot get yourself together.  You reschedule, you push back your timelines, or you just do not do anything.  All motivation is gone and all you have is a bunch of unfulfilled plans and goals.  If this sounds like you, you are not alone.  This post explores five ways why you may feel this way.

Lack of Self-Discipline

Any goal that you have that is going to require a change in habit is going to require discipline.  If want to start eating healthier, you are going to have to be disciplined enough not to purchase the unhealthy foods that you might prefer.  Self-discipline is a vital part of your motivation to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.  You may have to deny yourself of those things that make you comfortable but are not getting you any closer to your goals.  Many people fall short of their goals because their lack of self-discipline keeps them from creating those new habits or learning those new skills that can get you motivated to achieve your goals.

No Clear Goals

It is very hard to get motivated to achieve a goal that is not clearly defined.  It is important to clearly define the goal and how success will look.  Without clear goals you may know you want something different for yourself, but you will float through each day not feeling really motivated to do anything.  Real motivation can be found in clearly defined goals.  Clear goals increase motivation as it will make it more likely that your actions will be intentional as you move towards success.  Many times, there is a lack of motivation because, while we may desire a change, we do not clearly define where we want to end up.

Waiting for the Right Time

So many of us are guilty of this.  We are not truly motivated because we are waiting for the right time.  We are waiting for our kids to get older, waiting until we are totally out of debt, or for some other thing to fall perfectly into place.  Motivation can be lost during this waiting period.  This is because the right time never seems to arrive as other things always seems to come up and we push back out timeline more and more.  Life moves fast and time seems to move even faster.  The right time may never come so it is imperative to keep our motivation high by starting to work on our goals now.

Self-doubt

Doubt can keep you from doing a lot of productive things that can move you towards your goals.  Doubting that you deserve all good things that come your way and doubting that you can reach your dreams are all motivation killers.  Self-doubt will keep you from doing all that you can to achieve your goals.  Depending on the type of goal you are trying to reach, half-trying may be the equivalent of not trying at all.  Self-doubt will keep you stagnant in life and will deplete you of all motivation.  Begin that you can accomplish all things and your motivation will begin to rise.

Negative Outlook

Have you ever met someone who had a bleak outlook on everything in life?  Whenever someone comes with just a little bit of good news, they come to the conversation with a bucket of water to throw on your good news.  Having a negative outlook on life can limit any motivation that you may have.  It is much easier to be motivated to do what you need to do to meet your goals when you believe that you can.  Try to pay attention to your thought patterns and how you view certain circumstances.  Begin to consciously frame any negative thoughts that you may have into more positive ones.  Hopefully, this will begin to increase your motivation.

unmotivated young lady

What other things would you add to this list? Comment below some strategies that you use to increase your motivation.

5 Ways to Increase Your Self-Esteem

There are so many things that can affect your self-esteem.  Your upbringing, any traumatic experiences, or even the people you associate yourself with can affect the way you see yourself.  The funny thing about self-esteem is that you may be viewing yourself in a completely different light than how everyone else sees you.  But it does not matter how wonderful everyone else thinks you are if you do not see yourself that way.  Raising your self-esteem is critical because it is a lot easier to reach your goals and dreams if you believe that you can.  The following are some ways to increase your self-esteem.

Think and Speak Positively

It is important to be conscious of your thoughts because negative thoughts often lead to negative words.  Controlling your thoughts is a process but you can start by challenging those negative thoughts that may enter your mind.  If you have a negative thought, stop, and ask yourself if it based in reality or in fears.  Turn that negative thought into a positive one, even if you have to speak the positive version of the thought out loud.  Your words are powerful, and it is critical to your self-image and self-esteem that you speak and think positive thoughts.

Believe in Yourself

Have you ever been in a situation where you were being encouraged by those around, but you had no real belief in yourself?  A huge part of building your self-esteem is believing and having confidence in yourself.  It can sometimes be hard to brag on yourself but thinking about or making a list of all your accomplishments can help build your self-confidence.  The main goal is to be aware of your strengths and weakness and think of yourself in the best possible light.  Genuine belief in yourself will lead to an increase in self-esteem.

Celebrate Success

Sometimes we can be so humble that we do not toot our own horn.  But there is no harm in celebrating your successes.  As a matter of fact, it is an important part of building your self-esteem.  It builds your self-esteem when you celebrate all accomplishments, both big and small.  On those days where your self-esteem may be a little low, remember your accomplishments and know that it if you did it then, you can do it now.  Do not hesitate to celebrate yourself.

Give Yourself the Grace You Give Others

We often give others the breaks and kind words that we do not give ourselves.  A big part of building up your self- esteem is to forgive yourself if you fall short.  Do not tie shortcomings to your self-worth.  When others fall short or do not meet our expectations, we often tell them not to worry about it or that it will be okay. We do not hold it against them.  Give yourself the same grace and forgiveness that you give others.  Your past mistakes do not affect your self-worth so be very conscious of letting it affect your self-esteem.

Face Your Fears

Not shying away and facing your fears takes a lot of strength to do.  When you overcome your fears and succeed in doing those things that you wanted to accomplish, your confidence begins to rise, and you begin to feel that you can do almost anything. This feeling is what gives you the rise in your self-esteem.  Once your self-esteem begins to rise, you begin to have the confidence that you can do anything.  Facing your fears can go a long way in increasing your self-esteem.

What are some things that you do to raise your self-esteem when you feel like it is low?

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3 Ways to Begin Living in the Present

lady looking off in distance

It seems as if we are always in a rush. We are in a rush to get out of the door in the mornings. We are in a rush to get our children to school and to their extra-curricular activities. We are in a rush to get to work and then we are in a rush to get back home. And when we are not rushing from here to there, we have our faces in our cell phones either on social media or texting away. I am guilty of this and many of you probably are also.

It has only been very recently that I have come to the realization that my thoughts are often on my past or future but not often on the present moment. There is a lot of joy to be had and lessons to be learned in the present moment. Here are a few ways to stay in the moment and enjoy the journey of life.

Making Peace With Your Past

It is hard to live in the present moment when you are constantly looking behind you.  Past hurts, regrets, what ifs, and bad choices can rob you of the joy of living in the moment. It is critical that you make peace with your past so that you can move forward. What does make peace with your past look like? It looks different for different people. Your past experiences, whether good or bad, helped shape you into the person you are today. You cannot always erase memories, but you can make the conscious decision to not allow past experiences to hold you hostage.  Some experiences or memories may be so painful that you may need the help of a therapist to assist you in moving past them. Do whatever needs to be done to move forward so that you can enjoy the journey of life.

Know Your Destination But Enjoy the Process

As my daughter is starting to research and narrow down her college choices, the goal is to choose the college that is the best fit for her.  I am having to constantly remind myself not to rush through the process. I want to enjoy every moment. If you have a goal set for yourself, try to remember to enjoy the process. We often go through the motions with are minds on the destination but there are memories to be made in the present moment when you are working towards the goal. Remember to slow down and enjoy the process as you work towards your goals.

Discover What You Can Offer Others

Everybody has a story to tell. Most people’s story can serve as a lesson to others. I have learned many lessons in my lifetime that can help people, but the lesson was always realized in hindsight. Taking your time through life will allow you to recognize the lessons, good or bad, in what you are going through. Life is a series of lessons for yourself as well as lessons that you can share with others. Sometimes the lesson is to take care of your health before you end up in the hospital. Other times, the lesson is not everyone or every issue is worthy of your time and energy.  Being able to get the lesson in real time can put you in a better position to cope in the present. This could help others benefit from the lesson and avoid unneccessary hardships.

In our fast-paced society, slowing down is a challenge. There will be times when you will have to consciously tell yourself to slow down. There are moments when I wish I had slowed down and really relished the moment. And then there are times when I wish I had slowed down long enough to get the lesson in the moment instead of realizing the lesson later.  I am getting better at this, but I am by no means there yet. It takes time and conscious effort but learning to enjoy the journey of life is a practice we should all strive for.

Do you feel like you are enjoying the journey of life? If so, comment below and share some things that you do to ensure that you are living in the moment.

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4 Ways to Live With Intention

I did not make any New Year’s resolutions this year, choosing instead to reach my goals through affirmations and intentional living.  So often we have dreams and desires but are not intentional with the way we go about achieving them.  What does it mean to be intentional?  Being intentional is having a goal and consciously ensuring that you are making decisions that will help you achieve your goal.  We often have goals that do not get reached because we are not intentional in making sure they are achieved. The following are 4 ways to help you live more intentionally.

Eliminate Distractions to Live Intentionally

lady looking intently

Eliminating distractions is a must when you are making the decision to live with intentions.  And by all distractions I am including your own negative thinking and negative self-talk that could veer you off the course of you reaching your goals.  The company you keep can also be a distraction.  Being intentional about reaching your goals also means taking inventory of who in your circle can help you reach your goal.  Take a moment to think about what it is you want to be intentional about.  After establishing what it is you want to be intentional about, be mindful of your habits.  The books you read, the music you listen to, and the conversations you hold can all be distractions if they are not serving to help you live with intention.

Make Each Day Purposeful for Intentional Living

A big part of staying intentional is outlining your day with purposeful steps to help you achieve your goals.  You must be mindful about making decisions and completing tasks that will get you closer to achieving your goals.  Your goal must always be in the forefront of your mind so that you can begin each day by thinking of what one or things you can do to move you toward your goal.  Maintaining your focus and remembering why your goal was initially made will help make your days purposeful and filled with intentional living.

Check Yourself to Ensure Intentional Living

People use many ways to remain intentional and hold themselves accountable.  Some people use daily affirmations to help them stay focused and empowered to keep striving toward their goal.  Other people hold themselves accountable through journaling so that they can review their progress over time.  This allows them to see where they are doing well and areas where they need to improve.  Accountability partners work as well if you are comfortable sharing your goals and being reminded of them if you veer off track. However, even if you use an accountability partner, you should also have some type of self-check system in place to ensure that you are living with intention.

Create Balance for Intentional Living

lady smiling with intention

If the goal that you are being intentional about is a new goal, it most likely involves breaking old habits. If you find yourself continually going back to your old ways of doing things you may need to be honest with yourself to determine if you are indeed ready for this change or if you just maybe need to work on your self-discipline.  But remember, you will most likely have days where you miss the mark or fall short on your mission to reach your goal.  Reward yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be mindful of yourself talk. If you fall short, do it again. All new things take a little time.

Have you been living your life with intention? Comment below with what has and has not worked for you.

3 Reasons to Choose Affirmations Over Resolutions

Young lady looking at herself in the mirror and pointing while she says her affirmations

What a year this has been! As we prepare to enter 2021, what are you thinking about? Are you making resolutions, or do you see them as a waste of time? This time last year I was challenging myself to come up with a list of resolutions that were different than previous the years. It seemed like every New Year’s brought the same resolutions – eat better, exercise, more self-care. Well, my list ended up looking the same except for one resolution: to start and maintain my blog. That was my only different resolution and the only one I kept. This year I decided to do something a little different. Instead of going into the new year with resolutions, I am going into the new year by doing affirmations.

Affirmations are something I have been hearing and reading a lot about and want to incorporate into my daily routine. Resolutions are the things you want to see happen while affirmations are those things that you want to make happen. They are positive statements about yourself that work best when you are intentional about what you are saying. Here are three benefits of affirmations.

Lady with pink scarf on head looking at herself in mirror

Speak desires into existence

We can sometimes limit ourselves by the way we speak and the way we think. When you only think negative thoughts, negative words are far more likely to come out of your mouth. Speaking affirmations almost forces you to speak positively. When you hear yourself repeating these positive statements over and over, the hope is that you will eventually begin to believe them. So, speaking an affirmation surrounding healthy living can help fulfill the resolution of eating healthier. Healthy eating will almost come naturally after affirmations concerning your health and the desire to live healthily.  Affirmations utilize the power of your thoughts and words to create a desired change.

Build Self-Confidence

As stated earlier, negative thoughts will have you giving up before you even start. We often have lofty resolutions that we often do not keep due to our own lack of self-confidence. You can have a resolution of writing a book or going after your dream job but if deep down you do not feel like you really deserve it, it will not happen. Repeating affirmations and believing what you are saying can lead to your self-confidence rising to the point where you begin to make decisions and take actions that line up with your goals.

Become Aware of Negative Thought Patterns

Some affirmations are also helpful because you can see which ones are difficult for you to wrap your head around. If you already feel that you are loved, you will be able to say these types of affirmations easily. But if you find it hard to let go of your past mistakes and forgive yourself, then those affirmations that encourage you to forgive yourself may not come as easily.  This will let you know what areas you probably need to work on in your journey of personal growth. Your thought patterns and self-talk will become more evident as you begin saying affirmations.

stylish dreamy black woman with afro hairstyle on blue background
Photo by Matheus Natan on Pexels.com

Hopefully, these benefits of affirmations will help you begin to incorporate them into your daily life. Do you already do affirmations? Do you feel like they help? Comment below with either your experience with affirmations or whether you want to start saying affirmations.

Free Yourself: 5 Benefits of Journaling

Woman writing in her journal

I have always been aware of the idea of journaling but I have never heard it advocated as a practice as much as I have this year.  I am sure that is due to the challenging year that this has been.  Journaling has been suggested by many as a healthy way to process the many emotions that may be felt during these times.  Many people often confuse keeping a journal with keeping a diary.  They are similar but the main difference is that a diary is a record of what happened.  A journal is a record of your thoughts and feelings.  There are several benefits to journaling.

Journal to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

Have you ever had so much on your mind that it was just too much to process?  And after you talked it out you realized that your issue was not as bad as you thought?  Journaling is similar to talking something out with a friend.  Anxiety and stress can be eased when you write out your thoughts concerning those things that are making you anxious.  Journaling can provide you with clarity if it is a decision or circumstance that is causing you stress.  Writing out your thoughts on the issue that is making you anxious could greatly assist you with solving the issue or allowing you to see the big picture.  Either of these outcomes can ease stress and anxiety.

Journal to Recognize Patterns

Whether we realize it or not, we all have patterns.  If you talk to your friends about a situation enough they can probably tell you where the situation is headed based on similar conversations.  Journaling can help you see those patterns for yourself.  As you write about how different situations make you feel or your thought process around certain decisions, you will begin to notice patterns.  You may notice that use negative self-talk or you may notice that you do not have as much confidence in yourself as you should.  Patterns can be seen as you write and then reflect on those things that you have written.  Reading past entries can provide you a new perspective on your behavior.

Journal sitting on desk

Journal to Become Empowered

Journaling can give you a sense of empowerment as you can write your deepest, most intimate thoughts.  Whether writing about your experiences or through journal prompts, you will begin to gain more clarity on how you think and how certain experiences have shaped you.  Journaling can help you discover more about yourself.  You can discover what makes you happy, what causes you stress, as well as those aspects of yourself that you wish to improve.  Discovering your personal strengths and the power you possess in these strengths is a wonderful feeling.  But discovering those areas that you may need to work on to enhance your personal growth can be life changing.

Journal to Track Goals

Journals can help you track progress toward an established goal.  After identifying your goal, a journal can help you determine both your good and bad habits that may be helping or hindering you from achieving your goal.  It could be your innermost thoughts or the company you keep but reflecting on past journal entries will help you to begin to see what your barriers are.  Likewise, you will be able to see who or what promotes a healthy path to your goals.  You will be able to learn a lot about yourself in the process and this will make future goals easier to achieve.

Journal In a Safe Zone

Have you ever just wanted to be brutally honest with someone regarding the way you felt but was leery due to the judgment that may follow this honesty?  All of us feel vulnerable from time to time.  A journal is a safe place to write what you feel in a safe space.  No one will see your inner most thoughts except those you choose to see them.  A journal is a place where you can be your most authentic self.  Feel free to write honestly as being candid is one of the main ways to get the total benefits of journaling.  You can learn a lot about yourself when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. 

Open journal on desk

These are just a few benefits of journaling.  Do you journal?  What are some benefits of journaling that you would add to this list?

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3 Ways to Sustain the Changes that You Have Made

So maybe you have overcome or are working on overcoming a flawed mindset and may have even overcome some barriers to change.  Now comes the hard part.  Maintaining the change that you have worked so hard to make.  This in of itself can be a monumental task.  Here are a few things that you can do to maintain your change.

  1. Reset if necessary.  It is almost inevitable that you will slip back into old habits.  Do not become discouraged.  You are more than capable of making whatever changes that you desire to make.  Remember this as you reset and continue those changed behaviors that you have already began to implement in order to reach your ultimate goal.  Try not to dwell on your setback.  Just move forward and try again.
  2. Anticipate challenging areas.  The best way to achieve success is to know where your challenges lie.  If you know that you always eat unhealthy foods for lunch when you are at work, pack you a healthier lunch so that you do not even have to be tempted to buy something unhealthy.  Or if your goal is to journal or meditate or anything else that requires time that you feel you currently don’t have, try to wake up earlier and do whatever your goal is before you begin your day.   The goal is to see what could possibly present a challenge and plan around it.
  3. Maintain positive attitude.  Let’s face it. Change is not easy – especially when whatever you are trying to change is something that has become a habit.  Stay positive.  Remember why you decided to make this change and keep that in mind as you maintain your changed behavior.  Try your best to be kind to yourself and be mindful of your self-talk.  You can make and maintain your desired change!

What would you add to this list? Comment below with what you has helped you sustain any changes you have made.

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4 Barriers to Lifestyle Changes and How to Overcome Them

In my previous post I discussed mindsets, now let us discuss some of the things people would like to change. Most of us have something that we want to change as it relates to our lifestyle. Some people want to eat better, some want to be able to sleep better some want to become less anxious or stressed, and others want to feel more satisfied. All these things go back to a change in lifestyle because all these things are connected.  Exercise and a better diet can lead to having a better mood. A better diet and more sleep can lead to less stress. Improving all these things can lead to improved mental health.

Leading a healthy lifestyle has so many benefits. There is absolutely nothing negative that can come from a healthy lifestyle. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle include a reduced risk of cancers and diabetes, improved memory, improved mood, improved cardiovascular health, among many other things.

Changing your lifestyle sounds easy but it can be particularly challenging. Let us briefly discuss some things that can be barriers to lifestyle changes.

  1. Not enough time. This is the first thing that is normally said when someone must incorporate something new in their lives. Between the responsibilities surrounding work, home, children, and so much more, finding time to implement anything new can be a challenge.
  2. Old habits die hard. If you have been doing something for many, many years and decide that you now want to change, it may not be as easy as you thought. What often happens is that change is easy in the beginning but once things get challenging, we often resort back to our old habits.
  3. Procrastination. The discomfort of the change in our routines and habits make us continue to procrastinate. Procrastination will have you talking about something forever but never moving forward.
  4. No motivation. Any kind of change is extremely difficult if you are not motivated. Lack of motivation to change your lifestyle will either have you not changing or not having sustained change even if you happen to change for a moment.

I do not want to spend a lot of time on barriers, but I think they barriers should be identified so that they can be recognized for what they are. You will be able more likely to make a sustained change if you can identify the things that will hold you back and make plans to combat those things. Now, let us talk about ways you can overcome those barriers.

Incorporate change into daily routine

Since the number one barrier is lack of time, try ways to make changes in your daily routine. It is hard to incorporate a major change like cooking healthy meals or starting an exercise regimen overnight. If the change you want to implement is your diet, start small. Purchase healthy foods at the grocery store or make healthy choices if you eat out. Or if you want to exercise more, instead of purchasing an expensive gym membership that you may then feel you have no time to use, try to incorporate more walking into your day. Park further away from the entrance to where you want to go or walk around while waiting for your child to finish their practice instead of sitting in your car. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, incorporate small changes into your daily routine.

Set small goals

 It is sometimes best to set small, attainable goals on your journey to change as opposed to making sweeping changes overnight that may not last.  This can be helpful when making a change such as eating healthier.  Instead of tossing out food from your old diet and buying all new food, you may want to consider slowly buying new food and incorporating your new, healthier food into your diet slowly.  Over time you can let your unhealthy food choices go and eat more of your healthy food choices until your entire diet is made up of your healthy food choice.  You may decide to eat healthy twice a week, the four times a week, before changing over to health food completely. 

Accountability partner

An accountability partner is someone who can ensure that you maintain the goals and commitments that are made when you are trying to change something.  Before you get an accountability partner, you need to ensure that this is someone who will be completely honest with you. You also need to ensure that you are ready to receive whatever feedback that the may give you.  The role of an accountability partner is to cheer you on when you are doing well but to also let you know if you start to slack off your commitments and goals.  Accountability partners can be great if you are looking to change and are willing to accept honest feedback.

Reward yourself

Rewarding yourself is a great way to stay motivated as you work to make a change in your lifestyle.  The caveat to this is to ensure that your reward is not detrimental to the change you are trying to make.  No matter what your goal is, it is okay to have a cheat day if that cheat day is not going to pull you back into your bad habits.  A good reward could be something such as binge-watching your favorite TV show, treating yourself to a night out or staycation, or allowing yourself a weekend morning where you can just sleep in. The point is to reward yourself for a job well done as you continue to make the changes that you want to make.

Be kind to yourself

Do not be hard on yourself if you have a setback.  Setbacks will inevitable happen especially if you are breaking a habit that you have had for an awfully long time.  If you have a setback, just get back on track and pick up where you fell off.  It is okay and no one is perfect.  Establishing a different lifestyle, even if it is a healthier lifestyle, can be hard to do so cut yourself a break.

So many things can be addressed when you say that you are going to change your lifestyle.  Lifestyle encompasses everything to your diet, your habits, your preferences, and even how active you are.  Changes to some of these will come easy while changes to the others will be a little more difficult.

Have you ever made a lifestyle change? Were you able to maintain it? Share what worked and what did not work for you.

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