Welcome to our monthly health segment, Lawless Wellbeing.
Welcome back, I hope that you have had an amazing month of improved sleep! Hopefully by developing your nightly routine, your sleep quality is trending upwards and this creating a stronger base of energy and clarity.
With this renewed energy, this month we are going to focus some attention on the idea of change.
The concept of change is something important to me personally, as I spent many years seeking the ability to change what I was doing (I was ‘stuck’ in a career I no longer enjoyed) and I just didn’t know how to change. This concept may sound familiar to a lot of people regardless of the context.
The interesting part about change is that a lot of us perceive it as the whole - we focus on the big, bright end goal in its magnificent form. For example, the change may be losing 10kg of weight.
As humans, we want to find comfort quickly and avoid pain totally and part of this process leads to enacting some of our built-in biases. We see the change as ONE action and thus we perceive all the comfort (health upside, aesthetic benefit) but we magnify all the pain (How long, how hard, how much is it going to take to lose 10kg)… and unfortunately when its pitched as ONE action (ie stay same or change) our natural self-preserving tendency is to avoid pain.
So for me (and presumably for a lot of other people) I didn’t know how to approach, perceive or understand what I wanted to Change. Sio it was stay the same, or face a great big wrecking ball of fear, shame & judgement (all in my head of course), and thus, it was less painful/more comfortable to stay in the same job.
Until it’s not. Either the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change (which is one route to change), or someone/something helps you understand that change is not binary, it is a process.
So this month, we are going to outline 6 elements of that process that may help you (or someone you love) start to instigate change and move toward a healthier, more fulfilled experience of life.
Before we begin, two things about change that were reinforced to me over the past 12 months. Not new concepts, but I believe they are fundamental ‘beliefs’ that I hope to pass on to my nieces and nephew, and maybe children of my own one day:
1) ‘Failure’ is a terrible word. You never fail. You learn, you grow and you become a better person.
2) ‘Yet’ is a great word. You can achieve anything with practise and consistency. And if you can’t, well you just cant achieve it yet.
These beliefs are fundamental to creating change. So, as we explore 6 elements that endeavour to make the process of change more comfortable, please keep those beliefs circulating in your mind. Anything is possible.
1) HAVE A VISION
Having a vision is paramount in your ability to create change. Once we can see what the change looks and feels like, we can begin breaking it down and plotting the course to the end goal.
Sit down in a quiet space and get specific. What does the change looks like? How does it feel? Put yourself into future self - describe it? Draw it, use images from the internet, create a vision of what the change looks like.
Because once you see it, feel it, and create that vision, it now exists. Your mind is what make everything exist, it is extremely powerful. So once you see the change in your mind, it is now real. You just have to meet it in time.
2) KNOW YOUR WHY
This can somewhat flow out of your vision, however, having a very clear idea of WHY you want to change is important. Get real and honest with yourself: Why do you want/need to change? What is it going to mean for you? What happens if you don’t change? Who/what does it effect?
Get clear on why you want to change as this will be the basis for your drive and motivation. Inevitably, you will have some ups and you will have some downs during the process. Maybe the results won’t show? Maybe the weather is bad? Times when you don’t feel like you are progressing. This is when the why is important. The why will get you out in the rain. The why will allow you to see past the tough time and focus on the process. Simple steps, repeated over time, will get you to the change you desire.
3) GET COMFORTABLE WITH TIME
Everything takes time. Healing a broken heart takes time. Learning an instrument takes time. Changing your career takes time (speaking from personal experience).
And whilst we all want it NOW, it’s the time that makes it special. The amazing moment when something clicks, you catch your first wave, pronounce a sentence in a new language or a friend tells you how good you look - they are the moments that justify the time. They are the moments that affirm the journey. They are the amazing moments that change the trajectory of whats to come.
So please acknowledge that any change will take time and work out a timeframe specific to your change. Try to avoid setting a random time-frame and delve into the process. Set yourself a realistic time-frame based on data, research and/or resources. And then get comfortable with it and reinforce that the time plays a foundational part in reaching that amazing moment.
4) CREATE CONSISTENT, SIMPLE STEPS
The best analogy I have for this is actually a flights of 20 steps/stairs. You are at the bottom and the change is at the top. Can you jump to the top? Most likely not. So you step up the stairs, one by one, until you reach the top.
This is the same is your change. Work out the simplest step you can take every day towards your end goal. The SIMPLEST step, EVERY DAY. From a lifestyle and behavioural perspective, we want to minimise the friction that exists and make the first step super simple.
For example - CHANGE: Become a runner. NOW: Never run. SIMPLE 1ST STEP: Walk 500 meters on the way home from work.
That’s it. For the first part of you timeline, that’s all you need to do.
Why would you do this? Surely it’s not BIG enough? Surely you should just start running?
Simple steps break down a bigger goals. They break down the daunting element of change. They make the comfort outweigh the pain. We use behaviour techniques to override the mental biases.
Your running self exists, and is waiting for you. But they are not here, YET. They will be, but for now, you just have to repeat the simple steps each day. You will be amazed at what happens when consistency of behaviour and rising self-belief converge. Once the first step is consistently in place, progress to the next step (which in the above example, may be walk for 1000m for example).
5) MAKE IT EFFICIENT
Following on from the last element, consistency of behaviour is absolutely key. Isolate where the simplest step fits into your daily routine. Envisage your daily routine and think about where you can place one step each day. Once again, once the vision is created, you know what is possible.
Find where it fits and place a very simple step in that space. Repeat it the same time everyday.
Set a reminder on your phone, stick a note where you need to see it, set a person or landmark as a mental jolt to make that simple step happen.
6) ACCOUNTABILITY & ENVIRONMENT
Support, encouragement and accountability are super important for change. Humans are connected beings and we thrive on shared experiences. Whether it’s halving the pain or amplifying the joy, we respond really well to affirmation, support and encouragement.
Having someone or something to reinforce positive behaviours, provide a helping hand, or to share the experience with, is super beneficial. It may be a health app that provides reminders or a friend to walk with, either way, look to create an accountability ‘buddy’ to help take the simple steps with and to ensure that they happen consistently.
Another significant factor is moving yourself into an environment that inspires your change. An accountability buddy is a big part of this, but also what you listen to, what you watch, who you hang out with - what you expose yourself to is always, whether it be consciously, or subconsciously, having an impact on you. Take a stocktake of your internal (mindset) and external (people, spaces) environments and slowly start to surround yourself with an environment that inspires you to move towards your change.
So, in summary:
Isolate an element you want to change.
Isolate how you want to feel within that element and create a vision.
Isolate why you want to feel that way, and why it is important to you.
Isolate how long it will take to reach that vision and be comfortable with the time required.
Isolate the simplest singular step you can take towards that vision.
Isolate where that step fits into your daily routine.
Isolate someone/something to make sure you do that simple step every day
and to help you ride the ups and downs.
I write this from the heart as I wish my younger self had known this process.
I hope it helps you, or someone you love, bring about positive, sustainable change.
Have an awesome month. Feel free to DM @lawlesswellbeing with any questions regarding change, sleep or general wellbeing support. Take care, Chris.