This post over at The Happiness Project today really resonated with me and talks about an idea I have been trying to adopt over the last several months. The blog's author, Gretchen, breaks the idea down into two parts (or happiness "traps"):
1) "The first trap is deciding to make a tiny change when a big change is needed."
2) "The second trap – and I think the more common trap – is believing that a small change won’t make a difference, that only radical change can make you happier."
In the past I have been a victim and slave to the notion of "radical change." In almost all areas of my life, I was an all-or-nothing person. Instead of working on a relationship, I would ditch it. If I was watching my figure, I was either watching it 24/7 and obsessing about it or eating pizza and drinking beer. If I was worried about money, I would pinch every last penny and if not, I would satisfy each and every fleeting want. End of story, I have never honestly considered small changes as a means to getting to a goal.
These past several months I can happily say that I have changed a lot of that. I have been budgeting better, I researched ways to increase my skills to prepare me for a career change, I have spent less time in bars and going out and instead staying home doing things that are important to me (i.e. sewing, cooking, etc), I have been making regular efforts to keep in touch with my family better, I have worked on growing friendships that are important to me and phasing out those that are not positive,I haven't blogged every day but I have kept up with it for over 6 months....lots of things!
I also like that Gretchen of THP points out that sometimes fixing that one little thing that bothers you will make a huge difference. Cleaning out my closet is still a work in progress but is making a huge difference in the amount of stress I'm under in getting out the door in the morning, receiving some new nice pans for my birthday back in November has made cooking fun instead of an hour of complaining about my crummy pan and tools, eating clean and mostly whole foods has helped me shed some weight but not feel obsessive or stressed out...again, lots of things!
Making all of these small changes has had a huge impact on my general outlook and well-being. Incorporating small changes into areas of my life that are important to me have helped me to feel better about myself and my life across several areas. Sure, if I was only focusing on my weight I would be thinner, but I can guarantee you I would be feeling deprived and unhappy. If I never bought anything for myself or spent money going out, I would likewise feel deprived and jealous of people who do. All in all, I have been becoming quite a happy girl...all thanks to small changes.