One thing at a time.

I’m always on the lookout for new remedies, habits, lifestyle changes that will help me become a better version of myself. Always looking to improve myself be it physically, mentally, spiritually…

But most of the time, I want to do everything all at once. In other words, I get into this “gonna whip myself into shape” phase and decide to signup for the 28 day health challenge, commit to 30 days to 100 push-up excercise regimen, stock up on all the teas and supplements to improve my digestion, metabolism, rest… and so on.

The first week I feel fabulous and pumped up: I meal prep, wake up early to get my snacks ready for the day, I leave my gym bag ready… All these preparations take up my daily spare time, but that’s ok! After all, I’m setting the foundation for a new and improved lifestyle.

After the first week, about halfway through the second, I start to miss all that spare time I used to have. I’m no longer able to sit and watch TV for a bit, sit and numbly stare at my phone for a few minutes, take a breather… Slowly, I start to resent this and suddenly, the thought of having toned arms or flat stomach is not as important… And the “whip myself into shape” phase comes to an end.

I would think that after so many failed attempts, I would stop trying to change everything all at once. But no, here we are. Still at it.

Although, now that I took a moment and thought about my life choices (after another recently failed attempt), I realized I have managed to make a few changes…

I can’t remember what exactly motivated me to do this, or what brought me to this “a-ha” moment, but I’ve been doing this particular thing for the past 6 months: I set an alarm on my phone to remind me it’s time to go to bed. It was an incredibly small and easy thing to do, but the benefits that have come from it have had a greater impact than I could’ve imagined.

I decided to set an alarm for 10:30PM reminding myself it’s time to get ready for bed: stop watching TV (or whatever I’m doing) and get myself up to bed. This doesn’t mean I need to get myself to sleep immedialtey, it simply means I need to prepare myself, my room and my head for sleep: get into my pjs, get into bed, turn off any lights, get my diffuser with essential oils going, and unwind…

I use this time to get my makeup off, wash my face, put on my night creams, and sometimes even, a face mask. Before, when I would stay up so late that I would come to bed tired and eager for sleep, I would barely wash my face. This alarm has allowed me to become more consistent with my daily face care, something I had never been able to do.

This alarm also serves as a reminder to stop checking my phone for messages. I disconnect and remind myself that this is the time to focus on myself. Whatever I need to do to stop my brain from overthinking and leave any pending tasks to be dealth with tomorrow.

Although I know many studies show screens do not enhance sleep, I find that watching planning and makeup videos on Youtube soothes me, calms me, and allows me to get to sleep feeling happy and relaxed. If I feel like I will have any trouble sleeping on that particular night, I look for any guided meditations on Youtube, those will surely do the trick.

I had always been a night-owl and therefore, not so great about waking when I need to. This led me to hectic mornings where I would race to get ready and would be grumpy and irritable throughtout the day. Now, I sometimes even wake before my alarms goes off and I have slow mornings where I’m able to relax in bed for about an hour before getting ready. I love it. I wake up rested and start my day off at my own pace. And, best of all, fewer are the days where I’m feeling irritable or tired.

I never thought that such a small change like setting an alarm would have such a positive impact on so many areas of my life: my sleep quality, my mental health, my emotional state and my skincare.

Now I’m thinking, instead of trying to change everything all at once, it’s true what they say: start with one small step. Whatever you want to start with, whatever seems easier or more appealing to you. Slowly, add more good habits into your life so that there’s less space in it for the bad ones. Stop thinking some changes are too small and won’t be enough… the positive impacts are greater than you think.

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