Why have I started this challenge?
So, Julia, you want to change your life and improve your lifestyle AGAIN? Yes, I do 👉🏻👈🏻 I have been through some life(style) and mindset changes a few times already, some were good and some weren’t but in general, it only influenced me in a positive way. I also had some lifestyle and glow-up challenges that also affected me in a good way. But the feeling of being stuck didn’t go away.
I feel like I am becoming a person who is constantly wanting to change her life but fails or quits too early all the time. Well, not this time. Simply, because I have a different approach. I am not trying to change my life, I love my life. I want to improve my lifestyle and reinvent myself.
I moved to another country and currently waiting for the documents. It means a lot of free time (yey) but also it’s a lot of time for thinking and reflecting. Somewhere in mid-September 2021 I felt extremely stuck and lost and I realized I needed a real lifestyle change. I don’t actually want to change my life, as some gurus may tell you. No, I want to improve my lifestyle and its quality. I will be 30 this year and there are certain things that I want to see in my life and certain things I want to exclude and avoid. I want to feel a particular way about my life and myself.
In the week of 09/27, I started a year of reinventing myself. Am I scared? Hell yes. But I desperately need it. And when is the best time to improve your lifestyle if not when you moved to another continent?
So how to actually improve your lifestyle in 365 days?
Areas of improvement
I am looking at a few areas of improvement, I call it a “Life Tracker”. You can choose your own areas so that it betters fits your goals and lifestyle. I track my general satisfaction and if I think an improvement is needed.
- Love and family
- Career and work
- Money and finance
- Personal development
- Social life
The goal is to reflect on the life tracker every 3 months and see how you improved these areas. Under each category, I am building new habits or learning new things. For example, under “Career and Work”, while I can’t work as of now, I can learn new things and this is exactly what I do by following Coursera and other free online courses.
Be realistic. As I mentioned, right now, while waiting for an Adjustment of Status, I cannot work and don’t earn money, so realistically my career and finance satisfaction is pretty low. My friends are in another country, so finding new connections is an area I will have to work on. Because of moving from Belgium to the US, I was not able to dedicate much time to my hobbies and self-growth ➞ the areas of improvement.
In order to improve your lifestyle, you need to review your habits. Our habits shape the way we live and enjoy (or not) our lives.
Determine what habits are damaging to your lifestyle, (mental) health, and quality of life and make a plan to change them.
For example, if you have a habit of eating chips late at night ensure there are no unhealthy snacks at your place and replace them with healthier foods. Or if you spend a lot of time just scrolling through social media, set a reminder to turn it off after a few hours.
Make a list of all the old habits and next to them write down the new habits you want to replace them with.
|Old habit||New habit|
|I am drinking too much coffee ➞||I will replace coffee with tea and will drink only 1 cup of coffee a day|
|I eat too many unhealthy takeouts ➞||I want to eat healthy food at home. I am going to prep-cook healthy meals at home for a few days.|
|I am constantly waking up late||I want to wake up at 7 AM every workday. I will research the techniques for better sleep. I will stop using my phone 20 minutes before the sleep, and I will make a sleep schedule for myself.|
You can also add habits that you want to include in your life and what you need to do to build these habits.
|Something you don’t do||New Habit|
|I don’t drink enough water||I want to drink 1-1.5l of water a day. I will set reminders for drinking water, I will have a glass of water next to me and will carry a bottle of water everywhere I go.|
|I don’t exercise enough||I want to exercise 3 times a week for a minimum of 15 minutes in the evening. I will set reminders for this.|
The plan to improve your lifestyle
To be honest, in the beginning, I didn’t have a plan, I just decided to start instead of waiting for the right moment when I would plan everything perfectly in my notebook. This perfect moment would simply never come.
But as with anything, it is important to have a plan. If you have goals, it is crucial to turn them into tasks and break down them into actionable steps.
So while in the beginning, it may be hard, make sure you have a plan and ensure that it is written down step-by-step. I have a special notebook where I track all my changes, habits, and goals.
And I think the most important part of your plan if you want to improve your lifestyle, is to find your WHY. Why do you want these changes in your life?
How to succeed?
DO 👏🏻 NOT 👏🏻 GIVE 👏🏻 UP
⭑ It is important to determine what areas of growth are the hardest ones for you, what triggers you, and what stops you. These are the areas you’ll have to work extra hard. For me it’s Health, primarily exercising and going outside.
Write down the areas and exact hobbies that are the hardest for you to tackle and what you can do to avoid “failing” at it. I said “failing” because I don’t really believe in it especially if we are on the self-growth journey. It’s all about trials and errors, and it’s ok.
⭑ Don’t overwhelm yourself too much. I struggled at meditating until I realized I don’t have to meditate 5 times a week, I can do it 2 or 3 times a week and once I am comfortable with 3 meditations a week, I will be able to meditate more.
The same goes for everything else. Start doing things gradually, instead of overwhelming yourself with exercising 5 times a week for 1 hour, failing and ending up exercising once a month for 2 hours, exercise 2 times a week for 20 minutes.
⭑ Give yourself some time to adjust. Most likely, you will not follow everything you planned 100% and it is ok. Changing or improving your lifestyle takes time and some adjustments. If you overslept and woke up at 9 AM instead of 7 AM, it’s totally fine. You can try again, and again until you succeed. In order to improve your lifestyle, you will have to give yourself some space and time to get used to the new habits and changes. Just remember that it’s normal to not have everything as perfect as you planned it to be.
⭑ Keep going and stay consistent as much as you can, even if you didn’t exercise for a week, or failed to drink your water, or didn’t meditate. Don’t start all over again, just keep going. Believe me, starting all over again will just stress you out even more.
⭑ Start a journal with trackers, motivations, your goals, and why exactly you want to achieve certain changes. Online or offline, it doesn’t matter. Write down all the changes you want to see, and pay extra attention to the details: how you want to feel, how you want to see yourself, what are the specific habits you what to change or start, why?
⭑ Reflect on your goals and let go of the goals that are not yours.
Unfortunately, some goals that we have are not ours. They are pushed to us by our parents, our friends, our relatives, or society.
Maybe you don’t want to lose weight or maybe you don’t really want to read 100 books a year and instead want to focus more on cinema? Reflect on your goals and exclude those that are not yours. Stick to the goals that are authentic to you. Maybe you don’t like cardio and just want to dance for 30 minutes a few times a week. That’s perfect, do you! Choose your own way of changing things in your life.
Remember, you’re in charge of your decisions, feelings, and emotions. Determine what exactly you want and don’t want, stay focused, stay consistent, and believe that you are capable of making these changes to improve your lifestyle. The results will not be immediate, it will take you weeks and months, but it is worth it.
In the next blog posts, we will talk about the techniques that help me to build new habits, routines, and patterns, how to find your why’s for the change & the importance of determining your goals, and writing down the details.
- Reclaiming myself. 5 things I learned.
- Sometimes the best form of self-care is no self-care.
- 9 best self-improvement books