Find Control In Your Life – Step By Small Step

Sometimes we get so set in our habits it becomes impossible to think about changing them even if doing so means taking back control in your life. Often the route to changing set habits seems too tough to even begin. That’s where process becomes vital. A plan that breaks down the insurmountable changes you need to make into small easy steps is invaluable as it makes those changes easily achievable.

When my son was in his first year of University he visited his Naturopath for some health issue. Hardly surprisingly the naturopath called him out on his eating habits, asking why he ate junk, specifically McDonalds, for his lunch when his Uni was surrounded by great little Asian cafes where he could go and get a big bowl of broccoli instead.

My son came home and told me he’d been told to eat broccoli for lunch. He laughed a lot, said “Yea right! As if (that’s ever going to happen)” and for him that was end of possiblity to change. Totally normal response from an eighteen year old I thought.

 

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Telling a guy of this age to replace all his delicious (to him) foods with another food that he didn’t love, was like speaking to closed ears. For him the cost and the task were both simply too big. He wasn’t prepared to give up his foods because he loved them. He coudn’t find a good motivation as he wasn’t really convinced enough that his poor diet was contributing to his symptoms, in spite of what his naturopath and I told him. He didn’t see the benefit, better health, as big enough a compensation for the loss of a practice he loved.

So we talked, and I gently nagged, and he ended up agreeing once a week to try out the nearby cafes and let me know if there were any worth visiting. Plus I suggested he modified the instructions a little to make it easier and less of a chore.

The prospect of steamed broccoli for lunch five days a week didn’t cut it with him. But when I broke it down into small steps by suggesting he try it just once a week the task was immediately manageable. He no longer saw it as an imposition as he actually really liked the new foods offered.

When I modified it to something less extreme than a bowl of broccoli, and made the change smaller, it was far more appealing to him, and better than the junk food healthwise. In fact he came to enjoy the variety.

Changing habits is never easy to do especially when they are ones you really enjoy. When you focus on the deprivation that’s involved, of how much you’ll miss out on if you drop or change the habit, any benefits can become difficult to see, and without obvious benefits there’s no incentive for you to do it.

The other big problem that often stops you before we even start changing your habits is the actual logistics involved. Sometimes the organisation required to make change becomes so huge it seems insurmountable. While there must first be enough motivation for you to put in the effort, the steps to get there must be designed so it’s actually easy to manage them.

In my son’s case he not only thought he’d miss out on something he loved, but he also had to consider the issues or steps involved in deciding which café to go to before he’d commit to doing it – which ones he could afford, which would have quick service to fit into his lunch break, which menu looked better, and perhaps most importantly whether his friends would also change so he didn’t need to eat alone. The last of these was a ‘maker or a breaker’. If his friends had stayed with the junk food option the steps to change would have been insurmountable in his assessment and he would have dropped the idea before starting it.

One simple way to overcome the apparent looming difficulty of making change is to break the goal down.

I take the attitude that by changing just that one meal a week my son was 20 percent healthier than he was before. And it opened the way to eating healthier because once he started he found he enjoyed it as much as the junk. This made it easier to replace more and more meals with healthier options.

This is a tactic I often suggest to clients. Most of them love their coffee but often coffee contributes to their ill-health. If I ask them to stop drinking coffee they often agree reluctantly but don’t actually make any change, and sometimes even don’t tell me they still drink just as much.

But if they only have to cut their coffee back from say four cups a day to three the task is much more achievable, and they start to see benefits immediately. They’re already doing 25 percent better than they were, so are that much further towards their goal of good health.

Many times when you just don’t ‘feel the joy’ it’s normal to want to change your life. But if you are so busy focusing on the end point where your life would be totally happy, blissful and perfect, that place where you are in control of your life, the road to get there appears simply too long and difficult. The steps you need to take seem too big, especially if they involve juggling many other responsibilities in your life to manage.

Breaking everything into small steps is the easiest way to bring change, to allow you to take a gentler pathway to that goal you have. It also provides an easy confirmation that things are starting to change and you are achieving what it is you want.

When I want to make changes I first break the task down into small steps. Then to I go back through it and break it down again, taking it right down into tiny little steps. There are days when my steps might include one so basic as getting up and going outside. When I get there I can feel the satisfaction that I have been able to drag myself away from my work so I have a sense of achievement that reminds me “I can do this”.

The steps you take don’t have to be major in themself, they simply need to be defined and achievable. They reinforce your knowledge that you can make the change you need. Each and every one needs to be acknowledged right when it’s achieved. And most importantly each one will allow you that feeling that you again have some control in your life.

So what is it you want to change first? Take another look at where you can break it down into those tiny little, easily attainable steps. Then begin, one confident step at a time on the pathway towards your goal.

 

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Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

 

Stay Well Through Autumn With Natural Remedies

As the gentle energy of Autumn settles around us, wrapping us in her hazy sunny days and crisp evenings it is time to prepare for the turning inward that naturally occurs as we approach winter.  Autumn is a time of benevolence, when the activity of summer has slowed, when pastimes become gentler and more leisurely, when we turn our attention within to our own thoughts and dreams.

stay well for winter

As the energies of Autumn contract and gather inwards, they cause us to also slow down in readiness for the stillness of the coming winter. The contemplative nature of the season allows time for inner reflection and awareness, providing a space to find clarity before setting plans and goals to initiate in the Spring.

In readiness for increased awareness and understanding, Autumn is a time to embrace peace and avoid engaging in personal dramas. This is the time to practice distancing yourself, to step back from conflict, judgement and other triggers in your life. This is the time to take a deep breath and count to ten before responding to potential conflicts.

 

Autumn Health

April is a time of transition for our whole body. As the evening air takes on a bite after the gentle warmth of the afternoon sun our bodies become more susceptible to health problems. Illnesses that have gone underground over the summer will re-appear and new flu and other infections appear.

If you don’t use this time to build your health and charge up your immune system, by June you may find yourself more susceptible to winter illness and less capable of throwing off any illness you develop.

 

Change Your Habits

By adjusting your lifestyle to best use the seasonal energies you can strengthen your whole system.

There are a number of ways to make changes all of which contribute to building your health.
Most people naturally change their foods as the weather cools as Summer salads make way for heavier meat and root vegetable stews and soups. But also adapting life practices including exercise, meditation and sleep so they are healthier offers enormous support through the colder months.

 

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

One of the most important lifestyle changes to make for Autumnsleeping under the moon watermarked bought and Winter health is to recognize that your body needs much more sleep as it turns inward. Having about seven hours sleep every night is one of the best ways to protect yourself against winter illness. Your body doesn’t recover by sleeping in on the weekend after a sleep-deprived week and this does not support your health.

If you can’t get to sleep or stay asleep, speak to your natural health practitioner now, before Winter, for advice and treatment to change this pattern.

Push yourself to rest and take it easy. Develop great bedtime routines to maintain wellness and keep away ‘office illness’. These Seven Surefire Ways To Get a Good Night’s Sleep will get you started.

As Autumn settles in it is time to treat yourself with compassion. Be conscious this is the season to be gentle, and wrap yourself with TLC. If you are someone who is constantly there for everyone else, now is the time to turn that caring inwards and say ‘no’ to others.

It is only by first caring for your own needs that you can adequately care for those around you.

 

Autumn Exercise

Exercise is a great way to boost immune health.

Exercise increases oxygen levels in the blood. Oxygen levels in major cities are repeatedly measured at levels significantly below normal. When you consider that most people also breathe poorly, taking in less oxygen, and that many chronic diseases including cancer are associated with low oxygen levels, the importance of boosting oxygen intake becomes obvious.

Exercise makes you feel more alert, boosts your levels of endorphins to make you feel positive, as well as improving oxygen levels in every cell of your body. But during Autumn it is vital to tone down your exercise program to prevent your energy becoming depleted, as that adversely affects your immune system.

Yoga, t’ai chi or Qi Gong are very balancing and present the perfect exercise option for autumn. Deep breathing exercises and yoga stretching both serve your immune system as well as your respiratory organs through the winter. Brisk walking and bike riding are other great ways to exercise in Autumn.
Avoid heavy aerobic exercise outdoors in the cooler autumn months, as it may reduce vital energy and weaken your system.

autumn-colors

Susceptible Organs During Autumn

The lung and the colon are both organs of elimination and relate to your ability to “let go” on all levels. According to the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine if your immunity is weak these are the organs that will be affected during Autumn, with respiratory problems including coughs, breathing difficulties and sinus problems, or gut issues like constipation and/or diarrhoea.

These are the organs that are affected when you hold on to grief and sadness. If you are holding unresolved grief or sadenss they eventually affect the health and function of your lungs or large intestine, sending you the message that it is “time to let go”.

 

 

Continue reading to discover which foods to eat in Autumn, what supplements you need and what to do if you still get sick…

 

stay Well For Winter 4

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatments suggested on this site.