We all want to have a happy, healthy life. That's what we are all striving for, in our own ways. It will look different for every single person, but the bigger picture and the fundamental desires are the same no matter who you are.
So how do you do it? How do you get "there" and create the life you want?
The components that make up a life are like a puzzle - each with its own shape and specific purpose. They all come together and fit exactly as they are supposed to - its just a matter of making and finding those pieces and then one by one, aligning them to make the whole. I happen to love (LOVE) doing puzzles, but I know for many people, looking at the huge pile of pieces, scattered and disorganized, can be completely overwhelming. When looked at this way, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you create a strategy - a plan of attack - and slowly, systematically, pick up one piece at a time and sort it, suddenly the whole puzzle situation doesn't seem so massive and unwieldy.
When you can look at your life this way, sort through things, organize thoughts and behaviors and goals, and then slowly approach each one to make a choice of where to put it, things can come together. Progress can be made.
When I think about the ways in which I help others (and myself) move towards any goal, I start by taking a step back, identifying the goal or desired outcome, and then building back from there. I identify the steps needed to get there, the timeline, and then I work on making one small choice at a time. What's interesting is that it's this part - the part the requires every day, small and deliberate choices - where people will get off track. It's easy to do if you don't have the tools or the built-in habits and consistency to make it happen. You'll just be moving some of the puzzle pieces around - reorganizing them or letting them collect dust - never really moving anything into place.
Making change and progress requires deliberate awareness, specific intention and is built on a series of small choices that eventually become the habits that form your life and the way in which you live it.
In order to build those habits and make those choices, you need to have support. The support can look like a trusted friend or guide, a book with passages that inspire you, notes with Reminders strategically posted around your space, or built in activities that are scheduled out and built in to your life. Most likely, it's a combination of many of these that ultimately will help you build it.
No matter what they are though, each one of them requires you to approach it and make the choice to actually DO the thing. This is THE most crucial step of them all. The way you show up to those small, daily choices will inform how you interact with them and ultimately, how you will engage with each one and build out your life.
It's fundamental that you get the approach right. It's foundational that you frame each one in a way that supports your ultimate goal. It won't necessarily always be easy or perfect - but that's not the point. The point is to teach yourself how to build a healthy life - a happy life - by training yourself how to build the habits that make it up.
Changing your life takes time and incredible effort. Anything worth the payout does. The great news, too, is that as you spend more time practicing building these habits, it all does get easier. Making the daily choices, creating the structures and holding yourself accountable becomes second nature. When you get there - and you CAN get there - all of that work becomes the default. When you've made it the default, it all falls into place with much more ease and much more swiftly.
It's as if you open the box of puzzle pieces, and as you pour them onto the table, they pre-sort themselves. All of the little pieces with flat edges stand out and organize easily; all the pieces with the same colors suddenly pop out - you'll be done in no time - AND it'll be fun. I promise.
So what to do now? For now, just get really clear on one area of your life that you want to improve. Write down your intention and desired outcome, then identify the tiny choices that you must put in place, and the support you will need to get you there. Once you know those, pick up only one at a time and practice deliberately, slowly, reinforcing it and building that habit. Once you have that, add on another. It's a process of identify, choose, execute - repeat.
THAT'S how to you build a happy, healthy life.