A new you! Is this possible?

I would like each of you to read this image and to follow the directions when you reach the bottom of the image! Then read the rest of the post!

Poem by Abdullah Shoaib

It’s that time of the year (New Year’s, but it could just as well be Spring, Summer, Graduation, post-binge, etc.) when we start to make promises to ourselves (and possibly to others) to make changes in ourselves.

Whether those changes are radical, as in “I promise to be different, starting tomorrow! I’ll make you proud of me!” or small, as in “I promise to watch less TV and we’ll get out more together!” it’s still difficult to make those changes and new resolutions stick longer than a week or two.

So, how do we really make real plans we can stick to? This is especially true when there seems to be many things to work on!

We all wish to make our self, our families and friends happy and proud of us.

I’ve found personally that when I’m unhappy with myself/my life, that I need to step out of my depressed and negative mindset for a few moments, to be able to determine what I’m unhappy about (and saying “everything” won’t cut it!) to be able to figure out what my plan of action needs to be.

I’ve observed that in a multi-step plan, there are usually many smaller steps that I need to do in order to get to where I want to go, and that I need to be realistic in how long it will take me to get it done!

“Life has no remote. You have to get up and change it yourself.” – Unknown

For example, when I gained some weight from menopause, and I felt terrible about how I looked, and not being able to fit into my clothes, even the larger and larger sizes I was buying, I needed to take an honest look at where I had ended up, and to realize it wouldn’t take just a couple of weeks to lose the weight!

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” – Unknown

I saw that I had become much more sedentary, sitting on the couch and ‘vegging-out’ a lot, when previously I had been an active person. I was eating a lot of frozen dinners for the convenience of not cooking when I came home from work. The problem with this was that even though they were labeled as lower calorie, they were still higher in sodium and had very little protein to keep the cost down, and this was a contributor to the weight gain.

These two issues were adding together to make me feel lethargic and have no impulse to get moving to lose the weight and get healthy again.

I needed to mindfully decide to make some changes! Waiting for it to happen just wasn’t cutting it!

I started a walking program straight after work, because I knew if I waited to pull myself off the couch after supper, I’d never get going, because eating dinner caused me to sprout roots into the sofa and not leave the soft environment until bedtime!

My finances were tight, so joining a gym was out of the question. I went to a small park, and started walking laps around it. At first I could only do a couple of laps before I was tired, but after a few times, I was able to add to my total. Some days I was able to do more and others less, but overall I was making progress, and I was doing my best to do it consistently.

“The trouble is, you think you have time.” – Buddha

I didn’t do big workouts after work, but rather did those on the weekend  when I had more time and energy. The weekday workouts were to keep me moving and to also get some fresh air.

Fresh air! This is so important! It clears out so many cobwebs from the brain, allows me to walk-meditate, formulate my thoughts and plans… a necessary component to my well being I’ve found!

“The expert in anything was once a beginner.” – Unknown

Once I got into the walking habit, it did become easier to keep it going. Of course there were times when I got off track, but I just needed to give myself a push to get it back on track.

Another area I tackled was my eating habits; I started cooking some simple but much more nutritious meals, and added more protein. I felt much more energized and able to keep going!

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

It has been more than a year and a half since I started making these changes in my life. Has it been easy or convenient? Um, no, there were times when I wasn’t able to fit any walking into my schedule, but I do my best to get back to it as soon as I can!

I’ve had to remember my promise to myself to take better care of myself. I had to give myself many pep talks, and squeeze the time it. The results have been very good and I feel better too. I may be older now, but I still want to feel better!

Is it possible for YOU to change too?

Absolutely! Change is possible at any time, even if the work we do is internal first! (When I say that I’m referring to negative talk we have internalized, though sometimes the best way to overcome negative self talk is just to start something new! We build confidence along the way!)

Breaking down a large task into smaller tasks is the emotionally responsible thing to do, or we get overwhelmed with the largeness of a task! By breaking a goal down into smaller steps, it’s actually easier to schedule each task or step into our hectic lifestyles, and will give us a sense of accomplishment, which will encourage us to keep going!

Keep your timeline realistic and flexible!

Life has a way of inserting itself into our plans doesn’t it? By keeping plans flexible we can bend with the winds instead of being taken out by them!

Remember, if you don’t succeed at first, keep trying! It takes practice to become successful! It takes practice to change old mindsets and old patterns!

If you set a goal for yourself which is meaningful for yourself (as opposed to doing something for others) your success rate will be much higher because you will find joy in doing what you set out to do, as opposed to becoming resentful that you have to change because someone else demands it.

What if someone or something demands that you change, yet you don’t want to make the changes?

This happens quite a lot! Your doctor tells you to start eating healthier and to exercise; you’ll get kicked out of school if you don’t stop partying and pull up your grades; your spouse will leave you if you don’t make certain changes, you’ll get fired if you don’t stop procrastinating… etc!

My advice is:

  • Don’t stick your head into the sand and hope the problem will go away if you ignore it!
  • Accept your situation
  • Find your personal reason for making the changes
  • Don’t make large, grandiose proclamations of change, rather set do-able goals

What are do-able goals? Break down what you need to do into smaller steps which you can then schedule into your day!

You can do this!

If you haven’t heard about Neural Pathways let me tell you about this wonderful brain wiring!

You’ve heard about redoing the wiring in your brain? No? Well, it’s not physical metal wires but instead a web of connections in our brains. (Here’s a much more technical post, written by Robert F. Mullen: Proactive Neuroplasticity and Positive Behavioral Change)

Every single thought and action we do creates a Neural Pathway. Do the thought or action often enough and a sort of road or highway is constructed by many layers of the same thoughts, allowing us to develop habits or go-to’s which then become automatic for us to do.

If you find a habit is particularly difficult to overcome, it’s because your brain has created so many Neural Pathways related to that habit that choosing a different thought or action is difficult.

So how does one break a habitual action or thought? We don’t break it per se!

Weird? Hopeless? Not really?

The best way to change our Neural Pathways is to purposefully think new thoughts or do new actions!

The more often we think new thoughts or do an action, the more new Neural Pathways we create!

Thankfully, as we use build new Neural Pathways, the old ones just gradually fade away, no longer holding us tightly, until they fade away so much they no longer feel part of our lives!

More good thoughts:

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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