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The hard stuff.

Question 1:

I keep finding myself stuck. Every day is just the same repeated over and over and I don’t know how to break the cycle. I want more for myself, but so many other things take priority. Help!

Hello, and thank you for being so brave to ask a hard question. It may not seem to you like it was a "hard" one to ask, but the first step to change is the knowing. The knowing that you feel stuck. The knowing that there has to be something more to life. The knowing that you are repeating the same cycle, day after day. In addiction, it is considered a monumental breakthrough step to getting sober. Most addicts, or just everyday people like ourselves walk around and think that life is okay; whether okay looks to you like drinking 6 beers a night or just okay doing the same wake up, clean, feed the kids, work, dinner routine okay. The knowing is that little spark inside your heart that realizes there is more to life beyond the one you are living. So congrats, you have completed step 1.Truthfully, I think we all have that tiny spark burning inside our hearts, but not everyone accepts it. You, friend, have accepted it. You get to move on to step 2.

This question reminds me middle school years and haircuts, although I'm sure you mean something so much complex. In elementary school, I was painfully shy. So shy that I literally covered my face with both hands when my teacher asked me a question. In 5th grade, I could feel myself coming out of my bubble and I actually wanted to talk more. I acknowledged the spark burning inside of my heart. The problem was, I was known as the shy girl. If I started speaking up now, I would draw attention to myself, and special attention was more dreadful than just staying the shy girl. As the summer of 5th grade going into 6th was wrapping up, I knew it was time. I could no longer be the shy girl; the spark was burning so bright that I knew I had to make a step. It thought of staying the same was more painful than change. So I got a haircut. To a guy, it probably seems like nothing. But to a girl, haircuts are everything. Haircuts mean it is time for a change. When I walked into school on the first day of 6th grade, I stood by my haircut enlightenment. I was a new girl because of my haircut. I wasn't loud or drew attention to myself, but I didn't cover my face with my hands. And that was enough to complete step 2.

Without knowing what the spark is inside your heart, I can't give you a step by step guideline on how to break the monotony of life. But you don't need me for that anyway. That's all up to you. You want to make yourself a priority? Focus on that spark inside of yourself. What is it telling you? I've had a few sparks and they have varied from "I want to do something that seems impossible" , "I want to write a book", "I want to be healthier", or "I want to be a more loving person". They each required something different from me, but it all started out small and easy, like the simplicity of a haircut. The path to real change is small, consistent steps. Make it easy, but whatever you do, don't give up. When I want to change, I first grab a notebook and let myself focus on that spark. What do you want to do? You are only writing it out to yourself, so don't be afraid. It may seem like an impossible dream, but write it out anyway. When you dream of making yourself a priority, what is the end result in that? How will you know that you have really achieved it? Write it out.

After you know that answer, you can do one of two things. My friend likes to work all the way backwards, writing out all of her steps starting with biggest goal first and listing out all of the steps in reverse order until she gets to step 1, the smallest. I normally just write out the end goal, and then write out the first two smallest steps. When I wanted to get healthy, my end goal was running a half-marathon. My first two steps were small: waking up an hour earlier, drink 1/2 gallon of water a day. Actual running wasn't on the paper yet, I just had to set myself up for it. I had to start small, in a way that didn't burn myself out or inconvenience everyone around me. I am assuming you are like me, since other things take priority. Start with the smallest step, the one that you KNOW you can do, but is a change from your everyday life. Do it for a week or two, then move to step two. It's likely, if you make your steps small enough, no one will even realize that you have done anything. No one will comment on this change, provoking that insecure doubt you may feel about it. But YOU will be proud. You've made two little changes! After those are done, write out two more steps to lead you there. By step 4, you should be starting to work small on your goal. Whether that is now using that extra time in the morning to walk a mile, or if it is now making the appointment for a spa day (if this is it- be brave enough to book another at the end of your session!). I obviously have no idea what you mean by "breaking the cycle", but I know you can.

Big change is hard. Most people look at that large staircase up and feel so intimidated by it, that they never take the first step up. Only focus on one step at a time. One step is higher than you were, just a day ago. Progress is progress, no matter how long it takes.

We will all reach the end of our life one day. Don't let that be the day that you realize you left that little spark burning in your heart, burning down day after day, until it died out and left everything around it damaged. Your spark wants to set the world on fire. When you listen to it, it will change your life. When your life changes, it changes the lives around you. When their life changes, the reach is greater than you can comprehend and can affect generations to come. Even if it is simple as making some time for yourself to read a book, so in return you can be a happier mom. No goal is too small or too big. There's only that spark- and you get to decide to suppress it and let it fizz out or let it shine bright for the world to see.

Hope that helps,


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