It’s a common story. You start January with an idea to make changes in your life, but by the time February rolls around you begin feeling guilty, lost and just as stressed out as you felt in December.
We have entered a new decade and it’s time to embrace the mistakes and cultivate self compassion. At Myall Yoga & Wellbeing Studio, we are here to support you through your wellbeing journey and help you lay the foundations of gratitude and presence. Here are four ways to begin creating meaningful changes in your life and make 2020 your year of wellbeing.
Shift your mindset
To change our lives in a meaningful way, we must first shift our mindset. Think about the changes that you’ve tried to make in the past, and the mental processes attached. Was it an ‘all or nothing’ approach? With this mindset it’s easy to get disheartened and revert back to old habits. Mistakes are natural, and it’s unrealistic to think that they won’t come up when you’re trying to make meaningful changes in your life.
To create a shift in our lifestyle we must begin to accept, and even embrace failure as a welcome reminder of the changes approaching. Everytime you approach your mistakes and failures with compassion, you raise your vibration making it easier to take the next small step towards your new lifestyle.
Choose small steps for your big changes
It’s important to keep your goal in mind and visualise your end result on a daily basis. Get imaginative and visceral about how it will feel and what it will look like. Allow this anticipation and excitement to energise your small steps on a daily basis. While we should dream big, we need to act small. Studies show that microsteps are the most effective way of changing habits. When we choose big steps towards change, like committing to working out five days a week if you haven’t exercised for a while, we rely on willpower alone. Using your willpower to suddenly force yourself into a completely different way of living is very energetically taxing. It’s what can lead to a ‘failure’ mindset and take you back to old habits. The key to creating meaningful long-term habits is to set smaller winnable goals that gradually build into a pattern of sustainable change. If your wellbeing goal is to meditate daily, start with committing to one meditation class a week. After a few weeks add another, then another and so on.
Harness the power of gratitude
Gratitude has been called a ‘natural antidepressant’ because of its effect on our brain chemistry. When practiced daily, intentional gratitude produces feelings of long-lasting happiness and contentment. A gratitude practice effectively rewires your brain at a neurotransmitter level. When we express gratitude our brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions. These neurotransmitters affect our mood, which in turn affects our choices, and at a lager scale form our habits. If you only make one change during your year of wellbeing, allow it to be a commitment to a regular structured gratitude practice. Whether that be a gratitude journal, a gratitude meditation practice, or anything else that works for you, all positive change flows from gratitude.
Make meaningful changes
To make meaningful changes that stick you need to understand the psychology behind your habit loops. Any action, positive or negative, starts from a cue. This is where you’re cued internally or externally to take some sort of action. How you respond to this cue is up to you and the base of your habits. The final part of the habit loop is the reward, your brain receives a signal from a neurotransmitter after completing the desired activity. When you feel compelled to do something, whether that’s reaching for an afternoon cookie, or going to a lunchtime yoga class, there is always an emotion or a memory behind that cue. Take time to be mindful and pause between the cue and the action. Start to unpack what emotions or memories have created the cue, and use this space to become intentional with whether you choose to take action or not. This mindfulness practice will give you a lot of insight into why you do the things you do, and help you form healthier neural pathways so you can create your year of wellbeing.
At Myall we are here to support you as you manifest your 2020 dreams. Our attentive and knowledgeable instructors are always here to listen about the ups and downs of your wellbeing journey.