So you want to make some changes in your home and life, but you’re not keen for a hit and miss approach. You want to take small, serious steps that will actually stick and you want to start now, without waiting for:
The baby to sleep through the night
The toddler to be toilet trained
The run of colds and gastro to just end already
The weather to cool off
Because we all know that as soon as the baby sleeps through the night, something else could (and probably will) crop up that may prevent us from starting out on those changes.
So we need to, in a sense, disregard the lack of a “perfect time”.
Life is messy, but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be, so we have to take the initiative to just start now, where we’re at, and create change slowly but surely.
Here are some tips for creating those changes that actually last, in harmony with the beautiful imperfection of your current season of life.
Find a buddy
We know from experience that we are actually way more consistent when we are held accountable for our actions. Whether that be learning to eat better, keeping on track with a fitness program, taming a budget, working to finish a project or implementing daily practices for a more peaceful parenting journey – we’ll be more consistent when we have someone to check in with at the end of a specific period.
Even if you’re a naturally motivated person, you’ll still find you perform better with the added accountability of a buddy or buddies. Plus, being the more motivated in a group, you may find that you’re the one the others look to to keep going, which is a great impetus for staying on track!
So, grab a buddy (or more than one) – it might be a friend, a sister, a spouse – doesn’t really matter who as long as they’re REAL. When I say “real”, what I mean is: don’t use a Facebook group to stay accountable to people who you don’t see in real life, unless the changes you’re implementing can be documented regularly (ie, a fitness program or decluttering of a home which can be photographed and shared). If you’re popping into a Facebook group each evening to say how you went with your budget taming, you may not be as honest as you would be with, say, your spouse or a friend you spend a lot of time with.
Eliminate the temptation to take shortcuts and find a buddy who will hold you accountable and for whom you can do the same. It will be a game changer.
Decide what you’re each going to hold the other accountable to (it doesn’t need to be the same goal), and set a time and day that you regularly check in. It could be an evening text message to your sister, or a weekly chat over lunch with your friend or a daily check-in with your spouse.
If you’re struggling to find an accountability buddy, it might be time to look outside your “circle” and try a personal coach, nutritionist, fitness trainer or similar who can help you stay on track.
To start tiny may mean joining a short program, challenge or “game” that will help you stay on track for a short period to meet a very specific desired outcome.
My Simplicity Kickstart is a fun example of this, and is exactly as the name suggests – a simple, easy and fun kickstart on your journey from chaos to calm and in 14 days, you’ll be feeling much more at peace with your home and because you’ll have dealt with lots of annoying things that tend to crowd our mind, you’ll have the headspace to make some changes in the bigger areas of your life.
If you’re starting your journey to an organised home with a declutter, I can thoroughly recommend the Minimalist Game. It’s quick, it’s fun and once you get to the point where you’re actually finding it difficult to find stuff to get rid of… that’s when you know it’s time to get more intentional as you no longer have random bits and pieces laying around.
These short programs are not usually designed as the be all and end all; they’re designed to get you back to a starting point where you’ll find the space and inspiration to craft those big, brave changes, or to scratch back the surface clutter (physical, mental or emotional) to help you see what really needs changing.
Another way to start tiny is to compartmentalise your bigger goals and work on a small chunk. So if one of your goals is to “be more organised”, instead of trying to organise the entire day for a busy family, just start with the first 2 hours. Or just start with a chore chart for the kids. Starting tiny and getting that piece of the puzzle right will ensure a smoother transition into the bigger changes.
Declare a hiatus on new subscriptions and courses
It can be so easy to fall for the latest flashy course or subscription offer, especially if it’s going for a super crazy never-to-be-repeated price. You’ll want to be 100% certain that you need what that person is offering before you sign up for their paid services.
I’m all for paying for great products and services but have in the past fallen into the trap of buying services and courses which weren’t a good fit. Instead, it added to the mental clutter and then rewarded me with a guilt trip because I’d invested in something that I couldn’t use effectively.
In reality, if I had left it a few weeks or worked on something else first, I would have had a much clearer idea of exactly what I needed and chosen a different option which would have served me much better.
Sometimes we sign up for offers because they’re too good to pass up, but just don’t work for us right now and it’s important to be able to discern the difference between a too-good-to-miss-but-not-quite-right offer and an offer that will really help you implement the long-term changes you want to create in your home and life.
So, if you know exactly what you need and are in a good position to make the most of a course or service: go for it! But if you’re unsure, just don’t. Ignore the early bird offer and the tantalising bundle: rest in the knowledge that baby steps is actually a really good option right now, and one day – sooner than you think – you’ll be able to invest in yourself and exactly the right program/service/course/offer.
By declaring a hiatus on new subscriptions, courses, products or services, you’ll be giving yourself the necessary space to see what really needs changing. Crafting a simple life and peaceful home involves peeling back layers until you see that there is nothing further to peel back and/or that it’s now time to add something in. But if you start adding stuff in before you’re finished peeling… it just gets messier.
Now over to you. Do you have an accountability buddy? Will you commit to just one teeny tiny change this week? Let us know in the comments 🙂