The Small Stuff to Change Your Life

We often talk about how things aren’t changing in our lives. And we often think and dwell on our worries and fears of the future. What if we lose our jobs? What if this is it, and life won’t get better? What if our health turns to the worse? What if we lose the person we love?

Fear of the future of any sort is anxiety, and I can tell you now: anxiety is never helpful, nor is it ever healthy. In fact, fear and anxiety often cripples us, and puts us into the never-ending cycle of always attracting what we fear, because that’s where our focus is.

Goals, however, are different. Having goals will motivate change to achieve them. Even if you make a small change, trust me – in the long run, if the change is consistent, something good will manifest out of that change.

For me, I had a few things I wanted to change about myself. My goals this year pretty much were:

1) Be healthier and feel more energetic throughout the day.

2) Save more.

The truth is that success and accomplishments never come overnight. Often, successful people achieve what we see as ‘success’ when they’re still in the middle of chasing their ultimate goals. Change, however, can happen overnight. It’s just a matter of what you do, consistently, with each and every day.

So what are the small changes I’ve done so far to reach my goals?

1) Cut out soft drinks – completely. In turn, I reward myself with iced or chilled water, which some may say is also not good for you, but it’s definitely better than soft drinks, right? I understand that change is gradual. Maybe one day I’d be able to cut out iced drinks and opt for warm water, but so far, I believe I have opted for the healthier option and to me, it’s a start.

I’ve also generally substituted nasi lemak and roti canai for the healthier muesli or overnight oats. I don’t eat this every day. I still like my occasional nasi lemak and roti canai, being Malaysian as I am. But at least I’ve introduced that healthier option regularly in my life and will generally work towards increasing the intake.

Finally, I have been able to refrain myself from eating junk food, and instead I snack on peanut butter sandwiches or fruits. I’ll admit, pregnancy has a major role in this, as well as being married to a guy who eats healthy anyway. I find it motivating when I have my husband also eating the same healthy things as I do – it does make the process easier. I do allow myself the occasional crisps, but these are much rarer now, and once I made this change, I really can feel it in my body. I feel fresher, more energetic, as my body now experiences less sugar rush as I eat.

2) To save more, I bring packed lunches from home and when I eat out, I no longer order fruit juices which really contains more sugar than fruit. Granted, now I’m four days away from being 32 weeks pregnant, I’m cooking less and less as fatigue sets in and we now spend more eating out so I can sleep earlier. Still, the habit of saving is now in me, and it’s much easier to save when you know what cuts you’ve made to your budget.

Before this, I used to spend a lot on books. A lot. The worst thing about it is that when I buy books, usually I’ll buy two or three at a time. And by the time I’ve finished the first book, I’ve hit the bookstore and bought two or three more. In the end, I had amassed a pile of unread books. Some were bought when I was doing my degree, and I realised that collectively, I’ve wasted a lot of money on that. And a lot of space. Last weekend I did a purge and decided to donate most of the unread books which I know I would never have the time to read. And I also vowed I would not buy another hardcopy book again, except that after reading each one, I’d either donate it, or, if it’s a good book I’d re-read, then I’ll keep it.

To save on this, I dug out my old Kindle. It’s much, much easier to buy ebooks on Amazon now, and I’ve limited myself to one book per purchase. Amazon has a lot of crazy offers on their Kindle deals. You can get great books as low as $1 to $5, and the wonderful thing about it is that it takes up no space in the bookshelf at all. The Kindle also made me read more, because it’s lightweight so I didn’t need to carry around a heavy book with me all the time. And I stick to my discipline. Only one book per purchase, and I’ll only buy another book after I finished reading the current book – no matter how crazy the deal is.

If you look at the changes I’ve been making, none of it are major changes. They’re actually small, simple changes that anyone can decide to do now, or tomorrow. But I know for sure that as I continue to make these small changes, something big will come out of it one day.

Let’s check back in on this post in three years and see, shall we?

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