Our society has created a narrative that in order to feel well, we need to change enormous aspects of oneself. My individual clients feel this pressure when they first come to me, stating they need to make enormous lifestyle alterations (find a different job, a different relationship, lose a lot of weight, and become more motivated) to feel the change. As systems, these clients also feel this pressure stating; we have to change our organizational culture and make our employees perform and produce more.
These lofty goals are wonderful, but the truth is, large goals often result in no change at all. We know that when we are working on changing our life, we have to start with the smallest actions. Those tiny adjustments need to be compiled and built on to create longer and longer experiences of joy and pleasure. This elongation of our positive experience is what starts to create a different sense of wellness. We have to fight the urge to believe the best answer is large changes. Large changes is one way, albeit the most difficult way, but it is just one way.
The smallest changes are actually far more attainable. Stacked together, they create a pattern of self-soothing and self-care. When we start to think about where to make small changes, we want to be thinking about the most rapid ways to recover from emotional stress, tension, hurt, and depletion. Those ways include nourishment (everything we take in), sensory (everything else we take in), rest (everything we do to rejuvenate our energy), movement (everything we do to move) relationships (everything we do to feel connected), focus (everything we do to regain clarity).
Although these are the buckets that we can choose from, when we add small actions, they need to be small, brief, easily accessible, convenient, rapid, available and practiced.
- When thinking about the smallest actions, break down the buckets to specific and brief inserts.
- Try on a lot of different possibilities.
- Be creative, but monitor how you feel throughout so you can determine what is good for you.
- Try the things a couple times before you decide they are not for you.
- Listen when other people are talking to their small actions they take. Consider them as possibilities.
- Be gentle with yourself as you practice and learn yourself and your needs.