As I would start down my road to happiness (meaning I would consider making the big changes), I would start out very gung-ho only to find my torrent of enthusiasm fading to a trickle of “wouldn’t it be nice if that happened,” type thinking by the onset of February – at least that use to be my pattern.
But I’ve changed my approach, and instead of making, what to my ego-mind seemed like huge changes, I just taken small steps toward happiness, along the path of least resistance.
I don’t believe that I’m alone in my resistance to change.
I would be willing to bet that for most people change is tough, the reason being, most of the time change requires some discomfort if not outright pain.
And whether it’s true or not the perception is that the pain of changing is worse that the pain created by not changing. At least that’s what the “little voice” in my head is always trying to convince me of. Usually, the reality is, not changing will be far more painful in the long run.
Big changes feel hard because they feel so different, there not habit and so require conscious attention, at least until they become a new habit, allowing your subconscious to take over so inner you can relax again.
How do you bypass the “little voice,” and overcome your resistance to change?
The first step which is part of the process that’s worked for is, get started. Nothing happens until something moves, to paraphrase Einstein.
Step two, think small. Whatever task or habit you want to create or break, become a reductionist (the whole basis of western science), that is reduce it to its smallest “doable” component.
Third create a habit or slowly unravel one. If you want to create a habit repeat a process. Start a new ritual (a ritual is just a process to keep us conscious and in the moment).
Our days are made up of small rituals, from the morning cup of coffee to our evening grooming. If you are adding a small change, make it a ritual and stick to it. In the beginning you will need to do it consciously, but it won’t be hard because it’s one small change. I used the word consciously because, even with a small change, the small voice will be nudging you to quit. Notice the nudge, ignore it, let pass by you.
When this small change becomes the new norm and the ritual becomes habit, move on and add the next component.
These are the small steps towards happiness; these are the small steps forward in any process of personal development.
Henrik Edberg shares some wonderful insight along these lines that I wanted to share with you. Here’s an excerpt and you can read the rest on his “Positivity blog.”
Because grand changes and huge ambitions sound so inspiring and motivating. But they are also scary. So the most important step to get started and to keep going, especially when you are new to personal development, is to remove as much pressure and expectations as you can.
That is at least what has worked and still works best for me. In this article I’ll share how to do it.
Go for just taking a small step.
I have mentioned this many times. With good reason. It is one of the most effective ways to reduce the pressure and the expectations you may put on yourself and to start moving out of standing still or procrastination.
Now, taking just one small step and focusing on that is for instance a great way to become productive at school or at work once again.
But it can be used in just about any area in life. If you want to become kinder and improve your relationships then just take one small step by giving someone a genuine compliment. If you want to become a better listener have just one conversation today where you focus as much effort as you can on learning more about the person in front of you. And truly be there as best as you can and nowhere else in your mind.
If you like, then tomorrow you can take the same small action and just focus on that…
Go for just taking care of today.
When you feel overwhelmed, tired and just want to quit or relapse into your old and more negative habits then sit down for a minute.
Then narrow your focus greatly. Don’t look forward because then you’ll see all the things you have to do to reach your goal or to create a new habit.
Instead, go smaller and focus on just taking care of today. Continue reading here…
I really believe that staring small is the key and letting the results accumulate over time. There are other steps that will increase the likelihood of success, like accountability.
However for now let’s just take these small steps towards happiness and joy.