In part two consider whether change needs to come from the inside and if stopping rather than starting will make the biggest difference to your life.
3. Is this an inside job?
Many people hope that by changing their external world this will make a difference to how they feel inside. Unfortunately, this seldom works because, as Jon Kabat-Zin once said, ‘wherever you go, there you are’ so, even if we’ve made a big change in our outside world, we’re still the same person inside.
We often use change as a way to keep ourselves distracted by constant ‘newness’ so we never have to deal with what’s really missing in our lives. However, once you start to delve more deeply, you realise that the changes you need to make are not actually ‘out in the world’. Rather it’s an internal shift – a case of changing how YOU perceive your situation. This is very empowering because it means you can change your whole experience of the world just by changing your own mind.
4. Have you started with what you can stop?
A lot of people nowadays are stuck in a self-inflicted cycle of busyness which drains energy, takes a toll on physical health and delivers no discernable benefit to our lives.
The reality is that if you want to make changes in your life, this can’t just be about adding more ‘stuff’ to an already over-full life. First you have to decide what you’re going to stop so you can make space for the changes you’ve identified. So where do you start deciding what to stop?
- Guess what! You can also cross something off your to-do list simply by deciding not to do it. So get your list and cross-out all things that have been there for over 6 weeks. Odds are you will never do these so cross them off and be done with it!
- Secondly, have a good long look at yourself and identify which of your habits are getting you stuck in the busyness trap. Is it that you spend a lot of time at social events you’d rather not be at but couldn’t think of a polite way to say no? Or are you your own worst enemy when it comes to work, constantly checking emails at the weekend meaning you never really have a break? Whatever it is, it’s YOUR habit so only you can break it!
- Thirdly, try an experiment. Clear your diary for a week of all non-contractually binding activities. Do nothing and see what you actually miss. Then, add back only those activities you really missed and leave the rest of the space clear. You may start to fill it up again as the year unfolds but don’t be in a rush – this is the much valued ‘time for yourself’ you’ve been craving so don’t give it up too easily.
‘When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be’
Tao Te Ching
Corporate Escapee turned Holistic Health Therapist, Reflexologist and Coach, Tricia Alach spent over 15 years living and working in NZ, Europe and the UK; leading learning functions, developing leaders and managing change. She is the founder of Flow Mind & Body and now spends her time working with people who want to adopt a more holistic approach to their lives – supporting them to make life-enhancing and sustainable change. She blogs at triciainflow and can also be found on facebook providing tips and inspiration on how to live happier, healthier and more holistically in each and every day.