Darleen Barnard is board certified health coach and personal trainer who specializes in weight loss by using the power of the mind.
How to Completely Change our Life in Under 5 Minutes a Day
As my children blossomed into young adults and I was staring into my empty nest, I was forced to take a step back and accept that my life was changing drastically. I have to admit, I didn't really want it to change. I loved my "old" life. I loved being a mom. I think that one of the hardest things in life is when we transition from one phase of our life to another - some might call it chapters in our life story. When we get to the end of one chapter, it is time to start writing the next chapter, and change can be tough for a lot of us. Any time we leave what is comfortable and step into the unknown, it can be scary. When we love what we are leaving, it can also be very sad. After almost a year of mourning the life I was leaving behind, I decided I was tired of feeling sad and I wanted to embrace my new life that was just beginning. Though small, daily changes, I discovered it was all in my mindset and how I chose to look at the change and it really didn't take a lot of effort or time! With practice and persistence, we really can completely change our life in under 5 minutes a day.
You may not be facing a big milestone, such as empty nest, right now. As we all move into a new year, some of us are facing big changes for 2019 while some of us may be continuing down a familiar road. Even if we don’t have any BIG changes on the horizon, we will ALL experience some type of change this year. Each change brings both fear and excitement; however, which emotion we choose to cling to will determine our happiness and quite possibly, our success.
Rule Your Mind
If you find yourself facing big changes or if you have been considering making a change but fear has been holding you back, I encourage you to acknowledge the fear, but embrace the excitement. Recognize that change is both scary and exciting for all of us, but we have control over our thoughts and how we choose to look at the change.
Buddha once said, “Rule your mind or it will rule you”.
This couldn’t be more true than when we are faced with change. I realized that I was no longer in control of my thoughts and my emotions. I was looking at my upcoming changes with fear and I wasn't thinking about all the possibilities. For years I wanted more time to myself, and once I had it, I wanted my insanely busy life back. It's not that I wanted to be stressed and tired again, I just wanted what was comfortable. I didn't know what to do with the time I suddenly had and my days felt empty. That was scary. Once I realized I had to make a conscious effort to take control over my mindset and how I was choosing to look at the situation, things started getting much easier. I learned how to completely change my life and my outlook.
Instead of thinking about what you are losing and what could go wrong, think about what you are gaining and what could go right. We spend a lot of time worrying about things that never happen. We “What if” ourselves to death! Even worse, our mind doesn’t know the difference between REAL or IMAGINED threats. Every time we ask ourselves, “What if”, we cause ourselves a lot of unnecessary anxiety and stress. Why worry about things that 1) we can’t control and 2) probably will never happen anyway?
So what can we do to embrace change, reduce unnecessary anxiety and put ourselves into a positive mindset?
Start every morning with gratitude. In a journal or notebook, write down at least 3 things that you are thankful for. Some days you will have a lot more than three and other days it may feel like a struggle to find even one. Regardless of how easy it is, you must find at least 3 things. A roof over your head, food in your refrigerator, a message from an old friend you haven't talked to in years, or a good nights sleep are all things to be thankful for!
Throughout the day, every time a negative thought, fear, or worry creeps into your conscious mind, recognize it and then think of 2 positive things that could go right. Begin focusing on the positive and start quieting the negative. Instead of worrying that you could fail at your new weight loss program, tell yourself that you will succeed and you will inspire your spouse to start making healthier choices as well.
At the end of the day, write down at least 3 wins from the day. They don't have to be big things - maybe you made dinner when you didn't feel like cooking or you had time to catch up on some errands. In addition, write down 1 lesson learned or something you can do to improve but ONLY write down ONE! The emphasis should be on focusing on the positive. We do need to think about areas of improvement, but keep the ratio 3 to 1 to stay in that positive mindset!
Visualize yourself changing. Visualize success! After you write down 3 things you are thankful for in the morning, close your eyes and visualize your new life. See yourself, hear yourself, and feel yourself doing whatever it is that you want to change.
Athletes have used this technique for years because it works! If you are trying to lose weight, visualize yourself in the jeans you wore years ago or visualize yourself shopping for new clothes. Before going to a restaurant, visualize yourself ordering a healthier option.
For me, as I was learning how to live with an empty nest, I visualized myself running more races (one of my passions). I visualized myself working with more clients in my business because I have more time. I visualized myself volunteering more in my community. And as I did this, I could see my future clearer and I it wasn't as bleak as I had originally imagined!
Meditation improves mindfulness and helps our minds focus on one thing. It helps us to live in the moment. It also helps us get in touch with ourselves and can help make us more successful in school, work, or social situations. It is also excellent for personal goals such as weight loss. A single google search on the benefits of meditation will yield thousands of results.
Start with guided meditation to begin ruling your mind. A guided meditation will walk you through the process of focusing on your breathing and learning to relax. Depending on the meditation, you can focus on a different theme, such as help with sleep, eating better, having more self control, or not blaming others. Meditation can be done first thing in the morning or before you go to bed, or both! Or you can use it as a way to relax in the middle of the day if you need it.
I try to meditate shortly after I get up in the morning and before I go to bed. I use it as book ends to my day to start my day off strong and unwind before going to sleep. When combined with positive thinking and visualization in the morning and in the evening, I found I was able to drastically change my life in under 5 minutes!
Step out of Your Comfort Zone
If you are facing big changes this year or if you want to make smaller changes, remember that we learn more from change than when we stay in our comfort zone. When we move outside of our comfort zone, we learn about who we are and what we are made of. Embrace the changes in your life and look forward to them. Change is a part of life and how we face change, will determine our future. By being intentional and incorporating just a few minutes of positive thinking, visualization, and meditation into your day, you will learn to take control over your mind and your thoughts and make the changes in your life that will move you forward into growth.
Enjoy the journey!
© 2018 Darleen Barnard
AnitaSpencer on July 30, 2018:
That is so true!