Changing Habits Changes Lives

Two simple tips to begin making big changes

Anytime I’m looking at making a change in an area, such as healthy habits or de-cluttering, I often find myself spiraling down into an anxiety attack as I try to do too much at once. Changing habits don’t come easily to most people.

I know how bad white flour and white sugar and preservatives and food colorings and high fructose corn syrup and a dozen other common additives are in regular food. I want to avoid them all to improve our health, but can I do them all at the same time? A few years ago such a change would have drastically affected our normal eating habits. But we took one change at a time and made it happen. Now, we eat very little white flour and white sugar. Preservatives, food coloring, and high fructose corn syrup is virtually non-existent. Rarely, we might splurge on a container of Blue Bell ice cream, the state dessert of Texas.

I have too much stuff, even though we’ve gone through several large purges over the last few years. I could live with less. Some tools and utensils and appliances can do double or triple duty. But do I need to back a dump truck up to the house and throw everything away indiscriminately? Nope.

Sadly, I may always struggle with this. I really like gadgets and hold them in a tight grasp until they break. I recently had a cherry pitter that broke. I restrained myself from rushing to buy a new one. Do you know you can just cut the cherries in half and remove the pit almost as fast as pitting them with a fancy gadget? And that saves the step of cutting them up to use in recipes.

Changing too many habits is like juggling too many balls.

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

When you’re ready to change habits, pick your ultimate goal. You have to know where you’re aiming.

If you want to improve your health, which might include lowering your blood pressure, losing weight, or having more energy, think of the many things you could do to reach the end goal.

Then, start with one small change. Changing too many habits is like juggling too many balls. Pick something that is easy to plan for and achieve. Work that into your schedule. Practice it. Within a few months, it will finally become routine. Then, pick one or two more, and do the same thing.

  • Lowering your blood pressure might mean eating less sodium, so start using a salt substitute, such as Mrs. Dash, or replace caffeinated drinks with water. Pick one of those and break down the steps to change the habit you had to one that supports the goal you want to achieve.

If you want to lose weight, think of ways to add a little exercise to your day, like taking a flight of stairs instead of the elevator, or substitute a vegetable snack for a sugary snack.

  • Poor energy could be the result of interrupted sleep cycles and stress. Go to be early or find ways to reduce or work off your stress.
  • Remember, changing habits changes your life.

I like a suggestion I read on a minimalist website. Pick one thing a day to get rid of. Put it in a bag, and at the end of a month you will have purged 30 (or 31) things. Take the bag to Goodwill or Salvation Army or whatever charity in your area takes donations. Continue this until you have reduced your clutter to something you can manage.

Of course, garage sales work well, too, and you make a little cash to boot. But if that level of de-cluttering makes you hyperventilate, then start small with one thing at a time.

Everybody’s situation is different. Look at your issue carefully, and decide what you can do now. Even big boulders can be chipped away a little at a time.

Tell me in the comments your one thing you’re going to change.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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