At some point during your adult life, it’s normal to find yourself feeling like you’re in a bit of a rut. Big changes may need to happen at any age — whether you’re dealing with a quarterlife crisis, a midlife crisis or even a big adjustment to retired life.
Life is a journey that’s constantly flowing, regardless of the number of candles that will be on your next birthday cake. For you to stay in the same place forever would mean to resist growth. And that’s what we’re all here to do anyway — we’re here to grow.
Big life changes don’t happen overnight, and making too big of a change too fast can backfire. So here are a few small changes you can incorporate into your current daily routine. Within as little as a few weeks, you’ll start seeing hints of change — and within a couple months to a year, it will really pay off.
Avoid distracting yourself for at least 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning.
The first half hour or so after waking up is when many people are in their most vulnerable state. Sticking to a habit out of going from still half asleep to immediately checking email, turning on the morning news, wrangling the kids out of bed or even just thinking about everything that gets done that day is a surefire way to keep yourself in a reactive state of mind rather than an intentional state of mind all day, every day.
Research has shown that as people age, their brains become better at functioning best in the morning. By taking as little as 20 minutes to do nothing more than maybe grab your coffee/tea and jump in the shower, you can use those initial moments of wakefulness to mindfully tune into yourself so you can decide exactly what you want to be intentional about that day.
Start meditating daily.
If you want, you can use your distraction-free morning period to meditate. Meditation has been shown to change both the brain and body over time — so much so that it can have anti-aging effects.
Imagine how your life could change if you could free yourself from what already happened in the past and what you’re worried about happening in the future. Meditation facilitates this by helping you ground yourself in your physical body as well as in the present moment. If you’re hesitant about starting a daily meditation practice, check out these five easy ways to meditate if meditation scares you.
Organize your thoughts and feelings by writing in a daily journal.
You can learn a heck of a lot about yourself just by doing a big mind-dump on paper. Never mind proper spelling or grammar — just put pen to paper and let your hand write whatever comes to mind.
Handwriting has been scientifically proven to be more beneficial than typing. Consider writing in the morning to help you be more intentional about your day, or do it at night to reflect on what you achieved and what you learned that day.
Shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
Stanford University researchers Carol Dweck teaches us that there are typically two types of mindsets. An individual who has a fixed mindset believes that their potential is only as good as the traits they were born with while an individual who has a growth mindset believes that their potential can be developed through learning and effort.
After we finish school and become adults, many of us unconsciously commit to a life without as much learning because we’re so busy with our adult responsibilities. And yet, learning is how we grow. Commit to a growth mindset to get back on track with learning new things, which will help to inspire change.
Spend time around people who possess the qualities that you want for yourself.
Motivational speaker and self-help expert Jim Rohn has a famous quote that says: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If you feel like you’re in a rut and having a hard time making significant change, perhaps it would be worth taking a look at whose energy is rubbing off on you and contributing to your subconscious “stuck” feeling.
You don’t have to stop hanging around those people, but it wouldn’t hurt to connect with new people who have the personality traits, skills, knowledge, experience and interests that you want to embody as well. Consider getting a mentor, getting involved with a club or even doing something as simple as joining a Facebook group to find people whose energy you want to match.
Don’t worry too much about getting it wrong. Your newly adopted growth mindset will help you see that there are no wrong changes to make and that every change has a lesson to teach you in a valuable way that will help you grow.