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Steps To Start Changing (When You Don’t Know Where To Start)
We all get stuck in life! We all have things that we want to change and we all struggle to figure out what steps to start with when we want to change our lives.
Sometimes we get overwhelmed with what to start with and sometimes in it’s where to start. In this episode, I break down 4 simple steps to start with when you want to change your life but don’t know how to or where to start.
I share simple ideas and the stories behind how these ideas have helped me completely change my life and how you can use them in your life too.
Hey guys, I’m super excited to be back here talking on the podcast. I’ve also decided to add videos so that you can see what I look like.
And just so that we can create a bit more of a connection on this platform. So I’m super excited to start with the topic.
This is something that’s come up a lot in the surveys, and that is the steps to start with when someone wants to change.
I think it’s just because change is obviously really overwhelming. And most of the time we don’t really know where to start or we feel overwhelmed because we feel like there’s so many areas of our life that we want to change.
So today I want to go through a process that has helped me. And this is a process I feel has helped me to create massive change in my life.
And in saying that too, I do want to emphasize it. This sort of change happens gradually over time. This is something, and it’s really interesting because I’ve been with my husband for two years and I often tell him stories about what I used to be like.
And it’s really interesting because he is often really surprised because the way I used to be, obviously he’s a lot different to the person that I am today.
So I had a really good walk with one of my best friends the other day, and we were having a chat about this and it helped me to really break down the steps that I would suggest when it comes to wanting to create change in your life.
So I’m going to get straight into it today. And I’m going to tell you a couple of stories through it, about things that have helped me.
So the first step that I would say, and it’s probably something that we’ve heard a lot, so I will go into the details obviously of why is becoming present.
So for me, when pat passed away and even before that, I really struggled to sit with myself. And it’s really interesting because one of the episodes that’s most popular in this podcast is how to sit with yourself.
So I feel like this is a challenge that we all struggle with. And mainly because from my understanding and the reading and the learning that I’ve done, it’s really common for a lot of us to be stuck in a state of fight or flight, especially when we faced trauma or going through a traumatic situation or just really with the busy-ness is the stress of life.
It can really push us up into that fight or flight where, or that anxiety and stress and anger and reactions kind of sit.
So for me, it was really about getting back into the body and becoming present. So when my brother was sick, I really struggled with that.
I really could not sit with myself. And I dunno if you have this, but I’m guessing there are a lot of people that struggle with this sitting with ourselves is so intimidating because it literally feels like we are going to get swallowed up by that emotion or better yet.
What I used to think was I would literally fear driving myself crazy. So I would avoid, I would do anything and everything to avoid time with myself, sitting with myself, I would literally avoid it at all costs.
And that’s the biggest challenge. I think, with changing, creating, change, changing our thoughts, changing life, I think becoming present is such an important step because our level of thinking is so different when we’re in a state of fight or flight versus when we’re in a social engagement mode.
So I’ll go into That a bit more later, but A process that helped me to become more present, which I didn’t really realize at the time was yoga.
So while my brother was sick, I just made the choice to start something because probably I felt as though my body was constantly churning and stressing out and I needed something to slow down.
And I remember constantly saying to people that I really liked yoga because when I was there, I felt like I was truly there that I wasn’t thinking about anything else that I was really in the moment.
And so the thing was yoga is, and I think the reason that it keeps us in the moment is because we’re so present to ourselves at the time, but really focused on the pose.
You know, how much it might be challenging us, the stress that how uncomfortable it might be. But I think the real experience is that we’re kind of backing our bodies.
We’re really experiencing the feelings in our bodies. We’re feeling that stretch. We’re feeling that challenge. And I think for me, that was such a great experience that I didn’t realize at the time was impacting my nervous system.
That was really helping me to start to self-regulate to bring my body back into a state of calm. So this is the first thing, and I think it’s so important because self-awareness really begins first by putting ourselves in a calm, engaging state so that we can actually view our thoughts without judging them and being harsh.
So that is a first step I would say, becoming present and ways that I currently do this, which I’ve shifted now from yoga to breath work has been really, really great.
And I know there’s a lot of talk about breath, work and yoga and those sorts of things. But I really do feel like if it becomes a situation of what’s best for you, but I do want to emphasize, I only practice breath work for five minutes a day, that’s it.
And while I’m practicing it, I practice an affirmation that says I am safe. Now that works for me. It might not work for you, but I highly suggest looking into some ways on how you can become more present.
And I know that yoga breath work, and I’ve heard another great technique, which is coming back to the senses. So when you start to feel like you’re getting really stressed out and stuck in thoughts, and you’re starting to snowball, I would suggest looking, stopping, taking a deep breath, deep belly breath, and something really interesting that I’ve learned as well is that it’s actually the out-breath that counts.
So I used to sit there and breathe and go. And really actually what I was doing was I was keeping myself in that state of fight or flight because my out-breath was really short.
So it’s kind of like when you’re running, right, when you’re running or doing some physical exercise you’re in and out breath is quite short.
So it’s basically the same idea. Whereas if we have a longer out-breath, it actually signals to the body that we can calm down and shifts us into a state of social engagement or sort of like a state of calm.
So that would be my suggestion. It would be to find something that works for you. And again, going back to that idea of the sensors.
So taking the deep breaths and then labeling five or three things, you can see three things, you can hear three things, you can taste three things you can touch, and three things you can smell.
And obviously, depending on the situation that you’re in, like sometimes you might not be able to smell anything or taste anything, and that’s fine, but it’s the idea of the same idea of yoga.
It’s about bringing us back into that moment. So instead of focusing on the stretch or the breath, like we might in yoga and breath work, we’re actually just focusing on the things around us and taking the time to notice them and go back to the body another way.
And it’s kind of like, do you remember those little things that we used to see where people would say unclench your jaw, lower your shoulders.
That was again a really quick exercise about going back to the body. So sometimes it can also be about that.
So it could also be about sitting there and noticing the tension in your body either way, find a way that works for you.
And again, I only practice something for about five minutes. I feel as though if we jump into something and try to do like 20 minutes of breath work, it’s actually really intimidating and actually encourages that mental resistance in our minds.
Whereas if we practice something for five minutes or less, it tends to almost fly under the radar of the, of subconscious, where it doesn’t feel threatened by a new app, a habit or a new action.
So five minutes become present and find something that works for you so that we can work on getting our bodies and our minds into a state of calm.
So then my second point is that once we become present to ourselves, we start to actually say the way we judge and criticize ourselves.
So oftentimes when we hear a thought that we don’t like we’ll criticize ourselves, and this is something that I used to do a lot.
So for example, I would literally force myself to sit there and be like, okay, you’re feeling anxious. Why? Like I talked to myself in that way.
And I think it’s really important to remember as well that you, someone else spoke to you in that way, what would your reaction be?
And generally, you know, if someone’s approaching us in that way about changing, and they’re saying, well, why are you thinking this way?
It actually, again, puts us back up into that state of fight or flight. It might make us angry. It might make us anxious, but either way, the way where we kind of do that with ourselves.
So the idea is that again, we’re recreating that state of anxiety, which makes it actually really hard to observe our thoughts and see the areas of our life that we want to change and see the thoughts and the habits that we want to change in our lives.
So when we become present with ourselves, a K-pop is to first calm the body and get into a level of social engagement and then remind ourselves constantly to approach ourselves with self compassion and curiosity.
So they’re the two things that I hold the closest compassion and curiosity. So for me, when I stopped judging my behavior and instead approach it with a mindset of trying to understand myself that’s where I felt as I could really start to learn and change.
And again, it goes back to that thing of thinking about how you speak to your friend, when your friends telling you something in the way you engage with them, we often don’t engage with ourselves in the same way.
So it actually tends to create more mental resistance and more stress. So self-compassion and curiosity are two great ways to really encourage ourselves to be more present, but also present in a way that encourages us to be on that journey of, of learning of sort of, you know, trying to understand ourselves in a, in a gentle way.
So for me, for example I actually got quite curious with the way I was thinking. So if something happened, I would kind of see with myself and be like, oh, I wonder where I got that habit from or why I think this way.
And it wasn’t like why do I think this way out of frustration, it was kind of just a self-compassion and wanting, curious to understand myself to understand why I was the way I was and understanding the why behind my thoughts and behavior in a way that was gen genuinely curious.
So that would be step number two. And this is something as well. That happened to me when I went over, went to my beach house.
When pat passed away, I had an episode on this where I was, I was kind of at a place where I’d done yoga for a while.
So I was learning to be more present with myself. And I literally went to Officeworks, ran and just got like the easiest notebook I could find in a pen.
And I went to our beach house and I finally sat with myself and I wrote down this simple question, and the question was, have I honored myself?
And again, this goes back to the self compassion and curiosity, because I was really sitting there just wanting to understand, have I honored myself.
I was looking at my life and trying to understand where I had participated in creating this life. And obviously as I, as I know personally, that some situations are created outside of our control, but I had an opportunity at that point to sit with myself and really choose to understand the things that I had done and the person that I’d become and why.
So this leads me to step three. So once we have learnt how to get ourselves into a calm state, and we constantly remind ourselves to approach ourselves with curiosity, and self-compassion the next thing is getting to know ourselves again, through learning and through resources.
So once I was able to get myself into a calmer state, through yoga or breath work, I could start reading and learning.
And as I read it, I’ve learned what happened was I was widening my window of awareness. So a great way to explain this is through a quote by Victor Frankl.
And he said it perfectly. He said between stimulus and response, there is a space in that space is our power to choose our response in our response lies our growth and our freedom.
So this is what would happen. This was a cycle that I was started to create for myself and the, the cycle that was helping me to create change.
So first I would calm my body down by learning to be present by practicing yoga, by getting into that state of being more comfortable with sitting with myself.
And as I started to do that, I started to become more aware of my body and the way that I was feeling.
But I also reminded myself to approach myself with self-compassion. And also to be curious about the situation. So what would happen was I would do something.
So an action. And then I would because I was starting to become more present with myself. I would actually start to recognize these sorts of observed them as a, probably a better word to use.
So I would recognize these thoughts. And then I would literally think back to the things that I’ve learned to help me understand myself.
And therefore I would actually have that conscious choice. I would be able to change my actions. So there’s two stories I want to tell you, one’s really small and one’s really big, but it just goes to show about how this cycle really works.
So the biggest thing that happened to me was I learned about attachment styles and it was really interesting if you haven’t heard about it, I highly recommend it.
It basically looks at the way that we manage our, the way that we manage our relationships is the way that we were looked after when we were young.
So the responses that we got from our main carer or parents or whatever the situation was. So for me, I had quite a, and I think it’s a cultural thing as well.
For me, there’s a, quite a dismissive nature in the Italian culture where we tend to sweep things under the rug.
And there’s very much a stance of like if you can avoid your emotions and not deal with them, and that’s a sign of strength.
So for me, it was never about dealing with emotions. It was not, it was never about affection. It was about being sourced and carrying on basically.
So from that, I became what was called quite dismissive. So I would avoid my feelings. I wasn’t I really struggled with affection.
And it was really interesting because my husband’s quite affectionate and I know he’s going to love this because he asked me what I was going to say about him in this episode, which is really sweet.
So he’s quite affectionate. So for me, I found that quite challenging because he would want affection and I would be like, no, no, no, no, no, no.
That’s not how we show, love him in my family. That’s not how we show love in my culture, in my culture.
It’s what I do for you. It’s that, you know, I will be there for you. There’s, there’s this thing of like, I will excuse me, I will carry you when things are tough, but I don’t show you love through hugs.
So what happened was we had a bit of a chat and he was saying that I wasn’t very affectionate. And there was a particular day.
I think he must’ve gone to hug me or like, I was kind of just being aware of the thoughts that were coming up when I was like, oh, he wants another hug.
Like I was so, and then I actually stopped. And again, it goes back. So first I was present and I started to observe that thought of, you know, getting frustrated at that level of affection.
And because I’ve learned about these attachment styles, I was beginning to understand how that was affecting the way, like the way I reacted in my relationships.
So what I started to do was I started to understand that and I started to really see things that I would do and be really aware of reactions that I would have that really came out of this knowledge that I’d gained from learning about my attachment style.
And so from there, what happened was the next time he wanted affection, I really had to look at it and I understood why I was behaving the way I was behaving.
But now what happened was, again, that’s that, that space between the stimulus or, or the thoughts and the response had been widened.
So I was able to change my response, you know, I was, I was, and also because I was in that social engagement mode, I was able to approach things in a happier, more calm say, and really go, no, you know what?
This is his love language, for example, and it’s really important to him. And it’s also important for me to be more open and more engaging in this aspect.
So I encourage myself to be more affectionate and to try different ways of being affectionate. And that’s just a small example of how this cycle works.
So another example is, you know, with this type of work, it’s really challenging to put myself out there. It’s really challenging to do this type of work, particularly because again, it goes back to understanding ourselves.
I had learned a lot about my culture and my history, and I really understood that going out and doing something like this, having your own business, it’s not something that’s really encouraged.
In my family, you know, my family struggled a lot to get to this country. My grandparents, and they had dreams of having kids and grandkids that went to universities and had what they thought were successful.
Like, you know, white collar jobs, which, you know, to some people it is success and that’s fine. But I think if someone’s version of success, doesn’t match your own.
There’s definitely a challenge there. And that was definitely something for me. So doing this type of work was really challenging.
I would literally be stuck in cycles of thoughts. Like I can’t do this. Who am I to do this? I shouldn’t be doing this.
You know, I’m, I’m not, this is not the right thing to do. And no one’s are when I try to record or write something or put myself out there, it was even more challenging because my thoughts were not aligned and my beliefs were not aligned with my goals.
So the way that I slowly shifted that was again, being present with myself, practicing that breath, work, putting myself in a calm state.
And then again, it goes back to self compassion and curiosity, I kind of looked at it and I was like, okay, well, I’m being really harsh with myself yet.
I wonder why I have these beliefs. What kind of lessons did I learn that would lead me to think this way?
And I started to really dig deep and understand where my family and their beliefs had awfully obviously impacted my train of thought.
And then I kind of, I think that’s quite freeing when you start to understand that your train of thinking in the way that you are is not necessarily the way you have to be.
And we always have the choice to change it. And I also understood as well that sometimes with family, you know, they don’t, they don’t mean to create these issues that are mean to, you know, they, my grandparents were doing what was best or what they thought was best by encouraging that sort of, no, you should work white collar.
No, you should do XYZ ed. Whereas for me, I struggled with that because it wasn’t the path that I felt was right for me.
So learning to understand that this was just their way of thinking, and it wasn’t an intentional thing to create this sort of friction between was really important in my understanding.
And so then what would happen was I literally sat there one day and I was like, okay, so this is my, this is my thinking, these are my beliefs.
And this is where these beliefs stem from. And I was kind of like, well, no, I can do this because I can choose to change those beliefs and I’m going to choose that.
So I can. And so every time a thought would come up where I was like, oh, I dunno, should I be doing this?
I was like, no, I can. And that’s like such a small moment, but it’s such a big aha moment at the same time, because it goes back to choosing, it goes back to that stimulus and that response.
So here are my thoughts. They’re becoming really overwhelming. But then what happens is I start to see those sorts. I start to observe those thoughts.
And as I practice my curiosity with myself, I start to understand the why behind those thoughts. And as I understand the why, I also allow myself to create that choice, that conscious choice, because now I’m making a choice to either choose to go with that programming that accidentally happened on as I was a child or choose to change it.
And it was just simple for me, a constant repetition of eyecare every time that old programming would come up, I, and I still do this like today where I’ll literally be like, no, I can.
So there’s two moments where this sort of work has really impacted my life and really helped me to change. So these are the three steps and obviously the fourth one is to choose your actions.
So I just want to go over these quickly, just rehash what we’ve gone through, because I know that we’ve gone through quite a bit in this episode, it’s actually a long episode for me.
Usually my episodes are five to 10 minutes. So this is a big one. Sorry, going back to first sip, it’s important for us to get back to our bodies and a really great quote that helped me to really put these thoughts together was by Einstein when he said we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
As you know, there’s a huge difference between our thinking where when we’re in state of fight or flight versus social engagement.
So when I force myself to sit there and I get overwhelmed by my thoughts, I’m definitely still in a state of fight or flight.
When I practice breathing, putting myself in a state of presence, practicing my self compassion and self awareness. I’m now in a space of social engagement.
And when we’re in a social engagement mode, we’re literally more creative. Open-minded mindful, compassionate, see how it ties in and grounded.
So you can probably say why this is such an important step once we, so once we’re there, once we’re in that social engagement mode, we can actually really practice that self compassion and that curiosity that I’ve really gone on about, but it’s so important to helping to helping us get to that next step, which is widening the awareness in our lives.
Now widening that gap of awareness can happen in many different ways. So as you can see for me, I was widening the gap in terms of my beliefs and my thoughts around my work, but I was also widening my awareness around the way I approach my relationships and the beliefs I had around that as well.
So this is where we start to observe our thoughts and use the learning and the resources to help us create a conscious choice.
So these are the steps that I would highly recommend when it, to trying to create change in your, in your life first, be present with yourself, then approach yourself with curiosity and self compassion, and then lean on resources.
You know, there’s some great books out there how to do the work by Nicola para. The holistic psychologist is a great book to start with because that widen my awareness gap in many different areas of my life.
And once we start to widen those gaps, that conscious choice is really it’s so empowering because it’s really the path that helps us to start creating true change.
And also the part that helps us to really start adjusting that programming that we have in terms of, you know, those beliefs that we have, that we find hard to overcome.
So I want to leave you with a great quote by Carl Young. And he said, until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
So by moving our habitual thoughts into our conscious mind, through self-awareness and presence, what we do is we take conscious action in our lives, and this helps us to redirect our lives, to start becoming the person we want to be and creating the themes in our lives we want to create.
So I’m going to leave you here today. Now, I really hope that you enjoy this episode. And as I always say, take what resonates, leave what doesn’t.
Again, this is not any sort of professional advice. I really just like to learn lean on resources and share what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced in the hopes that it will resonate with you and help you to become the person that you want to be and create the changes you want to make in your life.
Now, if you like this content also I’m really excited to be announcing that at the end of July, I will be opening the doors to my membership.
This is all about, this is all the type of work that we do here. So for example, this is the topic for month one, but it goes into more depth.
And also we, I give you some actual activities to do simple things, and also we’ll have a community where people can share their ideas and questions around these topics.
And I think it’s a really great way for us to create change, but together as opposed to alone, because I feel like when we’re trying to do something together and create that change and be in that momentum with other people, it’s truly life-changing.
So if the membership is something that you’re interested in, I’m going to add the link below in the description. And you can sign up to the wait list there.
I will only be sharing the opening of the membership with the people on the wait list. I’m trying to keep it really a tight knit community.
So if you feel as though this is what you want to be a part of, don’t forget to check out the link and join the membership, wait list.
But until then I will catch you in the next episode. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for listening and as always take what resonates, leave what doesn’t.
I can’t wait to catch up with you in the next episode.