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This blog is all about all the things that make me up. I am a Mother, I am a Pagan Witch, I am a Wife, I am a homemaker, I am a student, I am Spiritual, I am a Teacher, I am Liberal Hippie, I am a Voter, and I am extremely opinionated! Plan to see it all! If you don't like what you see, feel free to leave! However, chances are, if you stick around, you'll find more to love than hate!

Blessings!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Making Changes - How to & Tips

This is the time of year when everyone wants to focus on making big changes in their lives.  More gym memberships are sold in January than any other month of the year!  And there is a reason for that. As a whole people tend to recognize January, the beginning of a New Calendar Year as a time of new starts, a time to shake off the old and ready for the new. The problem with this thinking though is that it's easy to slip and slide back in to old ways and forget all the changes we vowed to make - until next year...  As a witch it's my view that each day is a new beginning and a time for change. Each Sabbat marks a "new period" through the year and each Esbat a "new phase."  If I wanted to get down to the hour I could even say that as each day proceeds so do the energies around us, making each moment brand new and ready for change...

Does this mean I am somehow immune to back sliding on my vows to change? Not a chance! I am the queen of backsliding! But I'm also the queen of planning.  I am famous for making plans and then getting so overwhelmed by the "how to" phase that I quit.  Thankfully, I made this realization prior to making my latest "resolutions."

Like many Witches I view Samhain (Halloween) as the "New Year" and  I generally only celebrate the Calendar New Year as I would any other change of months - with a flip of the calendar.  So I make my resolutions at Samhain as well. This year, like most people, I made resolutions to get healthy, fix my debt & finances, and get organized...  BUT, the difference between my resolutions and those of many people is that 2 months have passed since I made them, and I have NOT failed at them yet!  Yes, I have backslid. I've had good days and bad days. But I have not given them up. Each new day is a new opportunity to get it right.

What am I doing different this year than every other? And what am I doing different than most people?  Well, I think the biggest difference is that instead of attempting to make BIG changes in my life, I've created a "year plan" - which is similar to the "5 year plan" idea accept that it's only 1 year...  

Instead of simply saying "I'm never eating white sugar again!" and attempting to cut one whole thing out of my life, I have broken my ultimate goal - getting healthy - up in to smaller achievable goals.  Yes, eventually I want to cut out white sugar and flour entirely... BUT, making such a huge change all in one day is just setting myself up to fail. So instead, I chose to make a goal of using whole wheat flour when baking & cooking and trying other sweeteners in place of sugar.  Other goals I've made this year include cutting my meat consumption to ONE meal a day and going vegetarian ONE day a week...  Cutting the amount of Take-Out or Eat Out days to one every 3wks or less...  Working out EVERY DAY...  Drinking more water... NOT spending money on stuff we don't NEED... Getting, and keeping, my house clean and organized...  Paying off debt and keeping the bills paid on time...  Etc.  BUT I can't do any of these things in one swoop! They take time. All change does, or at least all lasting change does.

So since Samhain I've been working on quite a few changes. And to the casual observer it may not seem like I've made much headway. But as the person living it, I can tell you it's been HUGE!  I'm still having "bad days" quite a lot more than I would like to admit! And I'm still struggling. But I am not giving up. Each day is a new chance for me to get it right. Each hour is a new chance for me to do better. Sure, maybe I had a leftover hamburger for breakfast, but that's no reason why I can't have a salad for lunch and an apple for a snack.  Maybe I came home and dropped my bags on the bed and never went back to put everything away, but that doesn't mean I can't do it now. Maybe I even spent money on crap we didn't need at the grocery store, leaving us short for bill money, but that doesn't mean I can't do better next time.

What advice would I give to those wanting to make the same life altering changes I'm attempting (and succeeding) to make?

  1. Don't bog yourself down with huge goals. Make your "big" goals long term goals instead of trying to make big changes all at once. Try breaking BIG goals - like weight loss - down in to small manageable "mini-goals."  
  2. Don't give up! Just because you didn't do so great this morning, or yesterday, or even all last week, today is a new day and it's time to start again.
  3. Keep a journal!  This is a huge one!  Make a journal listing your goals for the year and then for each month (or period depending on the goal) written in the front.  Each day go back, review your goal for that month/period and write down your thoughts.  How did you do? How do you feel about your goal and how you are doing to keep it? Also, what did you do that day? You may even (as I do) add things like Moon phase, Mooncycle (if you're female) and other information that be helpful. This will not only help to keep you accountable to yourself, but will allow you to see patterns. Maybe you do better at keeping up on dietary changes at certain times of the month or at certain points in your cycle, so maybe you should work harder at other times, or make allowances at those times, etc.
    **I even created a small blog. Although I'm not keeping up with it daily it's a great way to help myself share my journey and stay focused & accountable.**
  4. Find a buddy.  Not everyone will have the same goals and not everyone will go about making the changes in the same way. BUT if you have a close friend that is willing to be your "change buddy" and help keep you accountable it can be a big help!  A support system can make or break times of change. 
  5. BUY STICKY NOTES!  It may sound strange, but sticky notes are awesome! Place notes of encouragement everywhere and "reminders" here and there where you need them too! A note with your goal weight stuck on the fridge can go a long way to helping you make better choices when snacking! 
  6. Make a schedule -- In fact, make a few.  Make a long term schedule with your goals and when you want to take the "next step." But also make a daily or weekly schedule as well. Keeping yourself on-track is much easier when you have your day organized. If your goals are health or fitness related, creating a menu can help as well. 
You did not get where you are over night.  So assume that changes are going to take just as long.  And remember, it takes 6-8 weeks to make, or break, a habit. So give yourself AT LEAST that long to achieve small goals and even longer for big changes.  

So, if you're one of the MILLIONS of individuals who made a New Years Resolution 2 weeks ago and already sees themselves sliding backwards - or feel like you've already failed. Maybe it's time to just "revamp" your goals.

**I'll be posting about specific goals and how to help yourself achieve them over the next week or two.  If you don't see what you're looking for, let me know and I'll make sure I add it to the schedule!  And as always, I LOVE Comments! Add your tips and ideas and let me know what you think of mine... 

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