When you have chronic pain and digestive discomfort and headaches and anxiety and you’re tired and your hectic week just keeps rollin’ on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the healthy changes you’re trying to make.
You might be spending hours a day researching what to avoid and what to buy and what to eat, and then realise you’ve gotten away from what you’re trying to do in the first place, which is chill out, and love yourself, and let your body heal.
I’ve been there, and I still go there at times. I call it a ‘brain full of butterflies’. You’re trying to catch one, but then another pretty one catches your eye so you go for it, but then you start going after a better one, and they’re all just flying around driving you crazy.
How to get past overwhelm when you’re working on healthy lifestyle changes
Here’s a quick 5-minute pen and paper exercise to get all those butterflies out of your brain, nail them down, and get your shit together so you can take a deep breath and have some peace.
Get out a pen and a piece of paper or a receipt or a napkin and do this RIGHT NOW. Don’t click to another tab and start googling another shiny solution. Do the work. Do it now. This will help you. Take a deep breath.
Scribble down all the health and wellness goals you want to achieve. I’ve decided to get raw, real and vulnerable here, and share mine.
- solve anxiety
- doTerra 30 day reset / cleanse
- get rid of Candida
- lose 10 lbs of fat
- clear and improve skin
- solve constipation
- avoid wheat & sugar, break addiction
- sleep better
- move more
- yoga daily
- meditate daily
- less caffeine, or none
- make & eat fermented foods
- heal my gut
- get enough magnesium
It would be nice to have all of those things wouldn’t it! But think about all the steps I need to take, OMG. So overwhelming. If I chase all of those butterflies how many will I catch – NONE!
But what’s awesome about the body is that everything is connected and interdependent. So you will find that many of your health goals will be inter-connected, and some big ones might end up being tipping points for a bunch of other ones.
I mapped them out like this all over a sheet of paper. This whole exercise took me maybe 5 minutes. If you still haven’t gotten your pen and paper out, DO IT NOW!
Start drawing arrows between ones that might cause or naturally lead to another.
For example, I want to improve my skin, and I know if I consume more fermented foods and get more sleep those things will cause me to have better skin. So I draw arrows from those 2 things pointing to better skin.
I know that if I avoid wheat & sugar, that will help heal my gut. I know that if I get rid of Candida, that will solve my anxiety and constipation. I know if I can sleep better that will help me lose fat. etc etc.
Keep doing that until you can’t think of any more.
Look at all the things and notice which ones don’t have any arrows pointing into them, ie which ones are just plain ACTIONS that you must take.
- Get enough magnesium
- Make and consume fermented foods
- Move more
- Do an essential oils cleanse
These are the things you actually need to straight-up do, which will lead to all your other goals eventually rolling out as by-products. I’ll call them Actions.
Go over the other items on your page and just checkmark each, so you know that one of your big Actions is going to help you achieve each of your smaller goals. Check out my work below:
List out the specific little steps that will lead you to be able to do the Actions you determined in step 3, ie Buy magnesium oil, get a spray bottle, buy the cleanse supplements, buy a cabbage, etc.
List how much time daily or weekly it’s going to take. For example, eating fermented foods is only going to take me let’s say an hour bi-weekly to set up a new batch of sauerkraut and kombucha, and then only a couple of minutes daily to consume a little bit of each.
Once I’ve bought and prepared the items I need for 3 of my 4 Actions (Magnesium, Cleanse and Fermented foods) each of these things will only take a couple of minutes daily (apply magnesium body spray, take my cleanse supplements and have some sauerkraut & kefir with my lunch).
The only thing that actually takes time or scheduling is to move more.
So now I’ve determined really there’s only ONE thing that’s kind of a pain in the butt that I need to figure out. NOT 25 things. 1 butterfly, not 25.
Yes, I still have to find 15-20 minutes a day to crank out some high-intensity intervals or power yoga with a youtube video on my mat in the living room in my undies. But now I know that all my goals are accounted for, and I can just take that 20 minutes and relish it and not stress about whether I’m taking care of everything I should be.
Why this is so powerful
Once you’ve figured out your Actions, don’t question them or think about anything else or let the butterflies start flying again.
Do these 4 things (or whatever number you’ve determined but 3-4 max!!) and do them CONSISTENTLY for at least 2 weeks. You can do them mindlessly and just shut off. You’ve done the mental work and the leg work by buying and preparing your stuff. Now stop over-thinking it and just go, on auto-pilot for 2 weeks.
Doesn’t that feel great? Isn’t it awesome being told what to do sometimes, especially when it’s by your own smart self :)
Flipping back and forth to different solutions and doing partial moves and attacks won’t actually result in any big succesful change. It’s like telling an army to advance, wait no retreat, actually let’s bring in the cavalry, actually wait a second where’s that catapult….you’re never going to win that battle!
You have to make the well-considered decision and then go for it whole-heartedly.
After 2 weeks maybe you want to re-evaluate, and that’s ok. If it’s going great, AWESOME, and maybe your 4 things have become automatic and now you can incorporate a few more actions, if you need to.
Maybe your list of a few things is still too overwhelming and you’re floundering. In that case the trick is to pick ONE thing that takes the least effort but has the most impact.
For example in my case I could reason that consuming fermented foods will end up helping me absorb, digest and eliminate my food better, so I won’t need to do a cleanse or take supplements.
Make that ONE thing happen each day and give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for sticking with it!! It’s a VERY important step in the right direction. Not only the actual action itself, but the fact that you’ve subconsciously affirmed that you care about yourself and love yourself.
How can I help you with this?
Do you have a list of goals but aren’t sure which are the big tipping-point Actions? Are you trying to whittle it down to which is going to take the least effort but have the biggest impact? Let me know below, I’d love to help!