Making changes can be overwhelming. I know this from personal experience, and I talk with patients about it all the time, because so much of getting healthy is about changing habits.
In my own life, I find myself looking at my ultimate goal and thinking that it’s all too much and I don’t even know where to start. Take cleaning the house, for example. I really don’t like housework, so it’s a struggle to stay on top of two busy adults and three even busier kids. I can clean a room and it will be like the aftermath of a tornado within half an hour. Every few weeks, my husband and I spend a weekend in a cleaning frenzy, trying to get things in some semblance of order.
Patients often tell me how overwhelmed they feel too. As they learn about one healthy change, and then another, the information starts to snowball. At first they may be simply trying to eat real food, and then they learn about hidden ingredients, and that leads them to organic food, which then encourages them to learn more about harmful chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) and mercury contaminating food. It can be enough to make a person go hide under the bed!
So what’s the trick to getting where you want to go?
I think there are four big steps:
- Decide you want to change. It won’t work if you’re doing it for someone else.
- Start small. Baby steps work because they are easier than giant ones.
- Focus on the change for one month. It takes time for your mind and body to ingrain new information.
- Give yourself a break! We don’t always get things right the first time.
So here’s how I’m trying to put it into action at home. I decided that we really do need help managing the housework. I’m ready for change! I found a great site, FlyLady.net, that has an excellent "Beginner BabySteps" program and I started today with shining my kitchen sink. (I didn’t use bleach, by the way. The baking soda worked just fine.) I will try to implement each of the changes for a month, and take a new step each day. And I’ll try to relax when I forget one day or am too tired, and will jump back in the next day.
When you’re ready, you can make a small change too. And know I’m working on it right alongside you.