The answers to changing habits and finding what works for you and me takes time. And I do not want you to be discouraged, because it is a process which does not happen overnight. However, when the light comes on, that change is possible, that one does not have to stay stuck, it is liberating.
I have been developing a Toolkit through the years,
and I add or take away from it as needed. One of the things I discovered is that I am more successful in changing my habits when I use a simple method and when I take very small step steps. This has been especially true in dealing with illness, which would not just go away. Therefore, I suggest you put small steps into your tool kit. My favorite term is baby steps, because a baby does not learn to walk in one effort. It takes concentrated effort: crawling, pulling himself up, holding on to something and taking small steps, letting go and taking steps with falls, wobbles, and repeated tries. When I finally saw this, I began to make better progress: I adapted this idea to my own life.
Next, think about what you need to work on first. FlyLady says to shine the sink, and this has been helpful for many people. Moreover, she does not say wash the dishes first. Take the dishes out and just shine the sink. I did this when I was quite weak, and it did not stay shined, but it did improve my mood. However, later on, I became so ill, I could not do that, so I began to pick up one item on my way to the bedroom, to the bathroom, or to the kitchen. I would put that one item up, and congratulate myself. That was my very first effort after a horrible bout with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. What can you do today or tomorrow? One caution: Do not obsess or worry about this. Be gentle with yourself. We are gentle with babies taking baby steps: we need to care for ourselves this way too.
Be assured. When I say take baby steps, I am not implying a lack of maturity. If you decide to read One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer. you will discover he suggests thinking about the change of habit first. Visualize what you are going to do. When one takes small steps, the brain is able to adapt and change with you. If you move too quickly, it is harder to maintain a habit. That means we have to get rid of the modern mindset of instant gratification. And I think I am seeing that happen, as people realize we cannot have everything we want now.
The final step for today is make yourself a visual. When I was working on the habit of getting dressed everyday -- hair combed; casual clothes, not pajamas; sturdy shoes that I could slip on and off easily for my rest times --FlyLady says shoes that tie, but I had to adapt--, I kept a calendar. I just used the one on the wall. At the first day of each week, I wrote "Dressed to the shoes", and I checked it off after I did it. One time I used pretty flower stickers. That made my record pretty and practical. At the end of the month, I could see how I was doing. As a couple of months passed, I saw I had created a habit. I no longer had to think about dressing. I just did it. Also, it made it easier for me to move on to new steps in my journey. And best of all, I felt good about myself.
P.S. 1. Next post -- planning for tomorrow --, I will tell you what I habit I plan to work on.
2. When I tried to make a correction after copying something from another post, I created a mess. Since I do not want to wear myself out trying to fix it, by NOT leaving well enough alone, I have created today's colorful display for our pleasure. LOL. So I'm not perfect, and guess what! I don't have to be. I love you all. God bless you on your journey.