For me, this blog is an expression of a desire to lead a more sustainable, balanced lifestyle. It’s about embracing minimalism and simplicity and prioritizing our health and wellness, as well as the health of the environment and ecosystems around us.
Lofty goal right?
It’s a simple enough idea to sum up in a sentence, but it’s by no means simple in practice. Living a more conscious, intentional lifestyle is hard work! Seriously! It takes effort to learn about supply chains and how to buy better. It takes time and energy to declutter. Moving away from processed foods means developing cooking skills and new shopping habits… none of that just happens on its own.
So how do you deal with the inevitable frustration or overwhelm that comes with making changes to your lifestyle?
I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I have things all figured out, or that I’ve ‘mastered’ the sustainable, balanced lifestyle thing. I’m not speaking as an expert, I’m speaking as someone whose passionate about changing my habits and lifestyle for the better.
I’ll tell you though, sometimes it just doesn’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. I tend to get hung up on the bajillion things I need to do or change rather than taking a time out to give myself a pat on the back for what I’ve accomplished so far (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that!).
It’s easy to look at others (especially on social media) and think “they’re doing so much better”, “they’ve got it together”, “they’ve figured it out”. When we get stuck in this pattern of thinking it’s important to remind ourselves that…
We are all a work in progress.
We all have to start somewhere.
So here are a few simple things I try to keep in mind when I’m getting frustrated, overwhelmed, or just not making as much progress as I think I should be.
The Journey is Different for Everyone
It’s so important to remember that your journey is your own. Comparing your progress to someone else’s is an easy way to get discouraged. Looking to others for inspiration and encouragement is a wonderful thing, just don’t forget that your role models are imperfect beings too! This is especially important when engaging with social media. Remember, you’re being shown a highly curated version of someone’s life and goal achievement.
Not only is your path your own, your end goal is going to vary from someone else’s. Just because your favorite minimalist preaches owning a certain number of items doesn’t mean that has to be your interpretation of a minimalist lifestyle.
This journey is about crafting your own vision of what you want for your life, not about adhering to anyone else’s rules or ideas for their lives. Be inspired by others, but not limited by them.
Small Steps Add Up to Big Changes
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re trying to make big changes in your habits or lifestyle. Whether you’re trying to change your diet or purge your clutter, don’t get hung up on changing and doing everything at once.
Break your larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. Give yourself lot’s of opportunity to succeed so you are motivated to keep going! Don’t try to go from steak loving omnivore to devoted vegan overnight. Start with learning how to do one or two vegan recipes really well and then build on that progress. Instead of overhauling your conventional beauty products in favor of natural versions all at once, start by replacing one product at a time as they run out anyway.
If you’re constantly plowing toward a giant (or ill-defined) goal it’s hard to feel like you’re making progress from day to day. Break big change into smaller, actionable steps so you can celebrate many small successes along the way. Don’t bite off more than you can chew at the start and end up discouraged from your goal entirely.
Don’t worry, cumulative change adds up faster than you might think. You don’t have to change EVERYTHING all at once.
Significant Change Takes Time
Have some patience with yourself. Making significant changes to your lifestyle takes time and commitment!
Most of us need time to break old habits and develop new ones. It takes time to learn and perfect new skills that contribute to our health and wellness. It takes time to integrate new routines into our day to day lives. Some people are able to make drastic, sweeping changes and stick with it long term but I truly believe those people are the exception. For most of us, one step at a time is the way to go.
But the fact that real, deep, lasting change takes time is not an excuse to avoid starting!
The time is going to pass anyways, do you want to spend it growing, learning and developing or do you just want to keep doing the same old thing?
It’s OK to Not be Perfect
There’s one truth I’ve come to understand recently that’s made my life so much easier – Perfectionism gets in my way!
I always thought striving for perfection pushed me to achieve more, but the reality is that perfectionism set me up to fail time and time again. It sucked the joy out of any achievement or progress that I made because I was always focusing on where I missed the mark, where I didn’t measure up.
Don’t set impossible standards for yourself! Demanding perfection isn’t a reasonable goal, it’s not attainable and ultimately it doesn’t help you.
Related Post: Seeking Progress Not Perfection
It doesn’t matter what your goal is, when you take a step back and recognize that none of us are perfect you give yourself some room to celebrate your success. Don’t focus on the things that don’t go quite right, shift your mindset to acknowledging the progress you HAVE made.
Give yourself permission to fail… it’s how we learn and grow.
What do you think lovelies? Do you ever get frustrated or feel like you’re not making enough progress on a goal or lifestyle change? What helps you work through that feeling? How do you tap into the motivation to keep going? We always love to hear from you!