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Life With Purpose: How to Make Changes That Last

By Genevieve Cunningham

The Power of Change

Change. It’s the only thing in life we can really count on. It doesn’t matter how old we are or what we’re doing in life, change is definitely coming our way. In a week, a month, or maybe tomorrow -- it’s going to catch up with us. Of course, not all changes in life are bad. They might be frustrating or intimidating or even downright scary, but they can also be really good. Necessary. Life-altering.

But even with the positive outcomes that often come with change, it’s not always easy. In fact, it’s very rarely easy. Most people find the process of change incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if you find change difficult or not, it still has to happen. And in some instances -- like with our health -- our lives literally depend on it.

How Do We Find Success?

The question is not necessarily how can we avoid change, but rather, how can we make the process easier? And more importantly, how can we make the changes last? When it comes to our health, there’s little room for failure and even less room for neglect. Fortunately, making lifestyle changes is possible for everyone. You can be successful. To help you make positive changes that make a difference in your everyday life and in your long-term health, try keeping these suggestions in mind:

  • It’s not all or nothing - When we start making changes -- such as changing our diet or exercising more consistently -- we often think it’s all or nothing. We have to hit it hard. We have to make up for lost time. But this doesn’t usually work. Instead, remember that a slow and steady approach wins in the long run. Do a little bit today, and then a little bit tomorrow, and then a little bit the next day. Your persistence will pay off more than any short-term intensity ever could.
  • Single focus over multitasking - For most people, there are multiple changes that need to be made to live their healthiest life. But trying to take on every change at once isn’t going to work. It’s too much, and this approach has a much higher failure rate. Instead, give each change your single focus. Master it, or at least get comfortable with it, and then add another. This will take longer, but your chances of success will skyrocket.
  • Commit to yourself over goals - Goals are good. They give us something to work toward and a direction to follow. But they can also be overwhelming and sometimes disappointing. While it’s fine to keep some goals, make sure that your true commitment is to yourself. To see yourself change for the better. To see your health go up and your happiness improve. To see yourself in a more positive light. If your focus is on self-improvement and not a number on a scale or a specific clothing size, you’re more likely to feel successful and keep going.

What Changes Should Be Made?

Once you understand how to make changes, focus on what kind of changes to make. The goal is to improve your health. To feel better in your own skin. To enjoy your life. Make changes that reflect these ultimate goals. Some great places to begin include:

  • Diet - Overhaul your diet. Eat more vegetables, less junk, and drink more water.
  • Exercise - Are you moving at all? Move your body every day -- even if it’s just a simple walk in the great outdoors. Movement improves physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s a great place to begin.
  • Get positive - Negativity is a silent killer. If you’re surrounded by negativity, eliminate as much as you can. Eliminate negative people, negative situations, and negative thoughts that consume your daily life.
  • Create routines - Routines ground us. They give us structure. When we have routines, we already know what to do, which then eases stress and improves productivity. Create routines that surround your mornings, nights, and workouts. The addition of routines into your daily life can help create balance and move you toward better health as a whole.

What’s the Takeaway?

Life is not meant to be stagnant. It’s constantly changing and evolving, and if we want to be healthy and successful, we have to change and evolve with it. Use these tips to create healthy change and to make that change last. Sure, change can be scary, but it can also be empowering. Decide how you want to change your life, stick to your new and improved lifestyle, and you’ll lead yourself closer to the life you want in the future.

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