A lot of us wait for significant life events to kick start life-changing decisions. Whether it’s New Year’s Day, a reunion, or a big trip that prompts us, we seem to think we need these occasions to create a “game changer.”
I recently went to India which was an amazing experience but many people told me it would change my life. Although, it was eye-opening, I didn’t feel like a different person when I arrived home. I appreciated my country more than ever, as well as the beauty and culture of India, but I still felt like the regular old me. I even found myself stuck in the same loops that had previously held me down. None of my problems had changed and none of my tendencies dissipated.
Everyone has a different response to traveling – maybe for some people it truly altered their life and changed their perception of the world. Rather than looking for a transformation I felt it solidified my confidence in the path I’ve chosen. So how is it that we create big life changes? There are three simple rules to live by that can trigger huge shifts in your life.
1. Small life changes produce big results
It doesn’t have to take a big trip or an occasion to fire up personal innovation. Committing to small changes can create momentum to affect your lifestyle and overall well-being. My first year of college I had a part-time job at a restaurant that treated their employees terribly. I felt devalued, overworked and under-payed. Over time this was wearing on me physically, mentally and emotionally. I was getting to my breaking-point – I knew this situation was not fulfilling in nearly every way. I chose to leave the restaurant to pursue a position at a local ski-hill. Not only was I able to satisfy my passion for snowboarding but I also met one of my best friends which later introduced me to the love of my life.
2. Two words: Self-actualization
Self-actualization is the key to finding meaning and purpose in your life. Self-actualizing is the act of finding your full potential by living a life that is meaningful – intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Research states that when someone’s life differs from their true nature and capabilities, they tend to be less happy than people who have lives and goals that harmonize (1). For instance, if you’re passionate about helping children and teaching in schools you won’t be matching your full potential as a banker. Creating significant changes will happen over time if you strive for the best while being your most authentic self.
3. Letting go of old habits
After returning from India I realized I was still making some of the same mistakes so I became determined to make changes. Once I set that intention I could see myself making better decisions and taking the steps to be the best “me” possible. Sometimes we make choices due to convenience – maintaining relationships that are toxic, careers we aren’t appreciated in and behaviors that don’t serve us. Whatever may be holding you back, begin to let go of that habit. It may not be all at once, but taking small strides that are in alignment with your path.
You never need an excuse to create life changes since you have the potential to start today. Don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be big life decisions or events that create an impact – what we do day-by-day can make a big difference. It’s crazy to think that seemingly small matters would create such traction but in life it really is about the little things.
Emily Kane is the owner of Yogacara Studios in Whistler, BC. She is a 500hr Registered Yoga Teacher with a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of British Columbia. Check out her studio in the heart of Whistler, or on Facebook and Twitter. Emily also assists in Yoga Teacher Training. Learn more about upcoming schedules or read more of Emily’s articles.