We have a hunch that it is possible to live a better, more balanced, and less stressful life, but many of us firmly believe that we don’t have the time or energy to make the necessary changes, even though perhaps just one small change could significantly reduce our stress levels. Instead of striving for attainable incremental changes, we sometimes complain as if our lives are completely out of our hands!Gary Egebert
Small changes have been the most important things that I’ve done in my life. When I’ve decided not to watch certain types of TV shows and movies, when I’ve decided not to make certain types of jokes that seek a laugh at someone else’s expense, when I decide to arrive at work ten minutes early every day, when I decide to spend five minutes each day in prayer or meditation, when I decide to eat fewer sweets, all of these things are very small changes in the bigger picture of my life. But all of them contribute to a more positive life and lifestyle, helping me to lead a happier and fuller life.
I’ve made many huge changes in my life. I’ve joined the Army, I’ve lived five years in Europe, I’ve gone to several colleges, I’ve moved all the way across the country quite a few times. When I make these changes, though, I find that I’m not changing at all as a person. I bring the same worries and concerns with me. The truly important changes–the changes in who I am and how I treat other people–are those that have to come as conscious decisions on my part, and those that take a bit of effort to maintain over time.
I may want a cleaner work area, or I may want to be less messy. Today I’ll start with the pens–I’ll find a spot for them and keep them there. Perhaps three days from now I’ll do the same with certain types of papers. If I approach the goal incrementally, I allow myself to learn new habits that will help me to reach it and stick to it.
I may want to become an expert in a certain field. This week I may read one article about a topic in that field. Next week, I can read a book, and the week after that another one. By the end of the year, I’ll have read at least 52 books and/or articles on the topic, and I’ll definitely be one of the most well-read persons on the topic in my area.
Small changes are manageable, and they’re much easier to deal with than massive changes. If we want to change our lives for the better, we’ll find much more success in working on many little things that will add up to a greater whole than we will if we try to make great changes in very short amounts of time.
Questions to ponder:
1. What very small thing could you change today that would make your life more positive and fulfilling?
2. When have you been successful in making small changes? What led to your success at those times?
3. Why might we think it’s necessary to make great changes rather than small ones?
For further thought:
If you can’t change everything all at once, then at least work on changing something each day. Become aggressive in your battle with the ego. You probably don’t need all the things that it wants. You need hope, discipline, creative expression, love, and serenity—these are the important things. Remember, when you are balanced, one stepping stone will lead you to the next. But you will rarely see the whole journey or all the answers at once.Stuart Wilde
Credit: Living Life Fully