Small changes that can make a big difference

number one

Gift of Time…For Yourself

A common complaint of American culture? Being too busy. The pressure to work constantly makes us feel lazy when we are not constantly busy, and many wear constant busyness like a badge of honor. The problem with this approach is that if we let our obligations use up all of our time, there is little left for us. Little time to engage in the activities that inherently make us happy.

Unfortunately, no one is going to give you permission to take time for yourself. Certainly not our bosses or family. Time alone is something you have to claim for yourself, and is directly associated with your level of happiness.

Taking time for for yourself is different for everyone. It might mean spending time with friends, taking a walk during lunch instead of eating at your desk, engaging in your hobbies, or even taking a mental health day. Bottom line is, making time for yourself is a big step to living your best life.

number 2

Gift of Listening…To Yourself

Maybe you are in a career that doesn’t suit you– or your relationship is just not what you were hoping for. The key to living your best life is to have confidence in yourself and believe that you know what’s best for you.

It’s very hard to go against societal norms in order to make decisions that may be best for us. The two primary areas where you must listen to yourself is a) your relationship and b) your career. It takes courage to end a relationship that you know isn’t right for you. It’s easier just to stay and not go through the emotional turmoil of breaking up. The same goes for a job.

I often see young people pick careers their parents told them to pick whether it’s because it meant they would make a good salary and offer job security. Then they find themselves unfulfilled and unhappy at work. Listen. Believe in yourself to know what’s best for you. Then don’t let anything get in your way of making it a reality.

number three

Gift of Forgiving…Yourself

So much time is lost in dwelling on the things we didn’t do, or should not have said. Or maybe we know what we should have done but didn’t. Everyone has regrets. But, it’s all how you deal with them that make the difference.

Since hindsight is 20/20 it’s very easy to look back and judge ourselves– which is completely unfair. Rather, adopt the thinking that at the time the actions you took(or didn’t take) made the most sense based on the information you had. Spend time reflecting…Iis there anything you can learn about yourself or your decision making at the time? Allow yourself grace and the forgiveness you give to others you love when they make mistakes. You’re human. Learn the gift of forgiving yourself.

number four

Gift of Not Settling…For Less

As the old adage goes, you get what you think you deserve. Whether that is in a relationship or your work. So many people settle for less because they think they deserve less. We’ve all seen an uneven couple and thought “how did they get that person?” If you know you can do better, you can work on ways to get out of your current situation, in order to have what you want.

For some people, the messages they got growing up from their parents or other adults is they are not good enough. This message leads people to accept less from life. As an adult you have the ability to change the script. You deserve all that you want out of life. Learn the gift of not settling for less.

number five

Gift of Fun!

So often in our adult lives, we are so busy taking care of our responsibilities that we forget to have fun. It’s impossible to live your best life if you don’t allow for fun. Maybe it’s been such a long time, you don’t even remember the last time you had fun. We get so focused on creating our lives that we forget about those things that we enjoy.

Often times, these are our interests from childhood. Do something you’ve never done before. Take a class. Maybe it’s something you always wanted to learn but never had the time, such as learning how to cook, or volunteering on a political campaign. Living your best life means engaging in those activities that bring you joy. Getting in the flow.

You may not know off the top of your head what those things are. A good way of figuring it out is to create a list for yourself. Find a quiet peaceful place, in nature is the best and just brainstorm. Write down anything that comes to mind. Don’t edit out ideas. Just free flow write. Create a list of things you want to do in your life, and/ or that bring you joy.

Life doesn’t have to be a chore or just going through the motions. You can make small changes in your life to live YOUR best Life TODAY.

Originally published on InspireCounselingSolutions.com.

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Vicki Custer

Vicki Custer

Vicki Custer is a psychotherapist in private practice in Rolling Meadows IL. She believes that making small changes can make a big difference in reaching personal happiness and self-worth. You can find out more about Vicki and her practice at www.vickicuster.com.
Vicki Custer

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