+How to change yourself step 1: Admit that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t change everything that you want to change at once.
You really can’t. Here’s a sample of what I would like to get done:
I would like to clean the house better, and wash the dishes, and write more words, and be more involved on twitter, and fold the laundry in the living room, and exercise more, and drink more water, and clean the parakeet’s cage regularly, and pick up those sticks in the yard, and take out the trash and organize those boxes in the basement and plan a date for my wife and I and work on getting my passwords updated and get back to those people who e-mailed me and read more good books and stop watching so much television and clean out the garage and sort through my books and get rid of a bunch and set up online backup and organize my computer files and paint more and sweep up the bird seed and make more pretzels and work on another e-book and read that stick of magazines and mow the grass and…you get the picture.
Instead of trying feverishly to keep up with these impulses, desires, and needs, admit that you simply can’t do everything you want to get done. Admit it. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
+How to change yourself step 2: Realize that if you try to change everything, you’ll exhaust yourself and not get anything done.
It usually goes like this:
“Ugh, I need to wash the dishes…oh, I should clean of the table…and I should return that book to the library…why is my house such a mess? Oh, I forget I had this book! I really should read more…maybe I should give up TV for the week. Or maybe I should just not eat while I watch TV…I could eat at the table like a human being…but first I have to clean off that table! Ok, cleaning off table…where did all this mail come from? Oh, it’s mostly junk. Junk, junk, junk…I should really take out the trash. No, I’m not going to spend all of my time today cleaning! I have to write some, too! …but first I need to check my e-mail…and my Facebook… Oh, gosh, my friend just posted pictures of her last marathon. I should really run more…but I need new running shoes first…maybe I could exercise some other way for now. Or maybe I could just cut out more junk food…I could start that garden this year! Yeah, I have a perfect place out in the yard…oh, I have to pick up all of those sticks out there! They look terrible. How did I let my house look so trashy?”…etc
Sound familiar? And yet, even with all of the good intentions in the last paragraph, the protagonist doesn’t get anything done, except checking his e-mail and exhausting himself.
If you try to get everything in your head done at once, you won’t get any of it done because you’ll be too stressed out and tired out from your mental gymnastics to do anything difficult. I suggest you don’t even try. (because there’s a better way)
+How to change yourself step 3: Admit that you’ve been doing this for years. That’s why you’re so tired, and why your life hasn’t changed.
You’ve left the dishes for the last minute for months. You haven’t read a good book in decades. You haven’t washed laundry until it’s absolutely necessary for years, dispute your best intentions. You go through all of these mental games, organizing and cataloguing all the things you have to do, and you because so worn out from the mental process that you actually don’t get anything done. Your life hasn’t changed for the better in years, because you’ve succumbed to this process.
+How to change yourself step 4: Realize that the best way to change yourself is to let go of the guilt, and choose not to change ANYTHING…but one thing.
Just pick on habit, and NAIL THAT HABIT. Put notes all over your house to remind yourself. Even if you do nothing else, stick to that habit. Do it every single day. It’s hard to change, but if you apply intense focus on one (and only one) habit in your life, you’ll be able to change over time.
+How to change yourself step 5: Once you’ve got that down, change the next thing, and the next, etc. Become a different person over time, not overnight.
What if you picked a new thing to change or focus on every two weeks? That’s 25 good habits formed in one years time.
…and no more guilt and stress from the 10,000 things you could be doing.