My life is a work in progress. I have made some changes, but I’m not done yet. I am thinking of going deeper into minimalism. I’m thinking about becoming more aggressive about a healthier lifestyle. I want to pursue the life of my dreams.
These are the things that I have been giving my attention to for the last several weeks. There are a few blogs and books that I have been reading that inspired me to make these changes. But how does someone approach such a life change?
I believe that there are three phases that are necessary to making a change:
Research is the initial phase. Reading is a essential — reading widely and reading critically. Gather as much information as you can, from as many sources and perspectives as you can. On which topics do the authorities agree? On which topics do they disagree? What do you consider to be an authority? Is an authority a Ph.D.? Is an authority a spiritual leader? Or is an authority someone who has successfully achieved your goal? You must determine what an authority is for you.
Read as much as you possibly can. Read every day. Take notes, if necessary. The goal is to arm yourself with the information you need to motivate you. Then set a goal for yourself.
When it comes to simplifying my life, I read as many blogs as I could. Having this diversity helped me to see that there are many different approaches to minimalism. Some people count things. Others feel that counting is unnecessary.
In recent months I have also been reading books and blogs about vegetarian and vegan living. The authors are knowledgeable and they cite various nutritionists, scientists, and doctors. While they do not agree on everything, most seem to agree that eating a plant-based diet is much healthier.
Research is of limited use if it is not applied. Reflection compares your research findings with your current life situation. It is asking yourself: how can this apply to my life? In what way can I implement this? Will this make my life better? How?
Of the things you read about, which would you like to see as a part of your life? Which ones aren’t right for you? Write these things down. On paper. Have a record of the changes you would like to see in your life.
I can benefit from unplugging from the consumerist culture in which we live. I will benefit financially and mentally. It will also prove beneficial in the management of time. There will be much more time for writing, learning, and doing the things I love when I’m not constantly in the mall.
Similarly, I know that I can benefit from eating a plant-based diet. I am still in the process of implementing all the things I am learning, but I am making progress.
Now that you have conducted your research, and reflected upon your findings, what will you do about it? How will you realize your goal? Now is the time to make an action plan. The goals that were outlined in the reflection phase, what is required to realize those goals? Write down the actions necessary to make these ideals reality.
Living a simple life will require that I make some changes. I cannot purchase things mindlessly. I must donate, sell, or throw away things that I do not use. I have to focus my time and energy.
Pursuing a healthy lifestyle will require that I introduce new foods into my diet and eliminate some others. I’ll have to try some new recipes. I’ll have to plan my meals and try to keep healthy snacks on hand.
This is how I approach change. I go through these phases. Did you notice that I don’t call them steps? Steps are linear, and I find that the process of making life changes is not necessarily linear. It is more of a cycle. Even as you are realizing change, you may be research more. It’s the cycle of change, and it keeps going. I am moving through these phases now, and I can’t wait to see the changes that result.