It’s never easy to overhaul your way of living, whether you’re changing your diet, starting a new exercise routine, or shifting how you spend your time socializing. Most of our daily habits are deeply engrained, and often contain a social component. We tend to spend time with people who have similar routines to us—that’s part of what makes it fun to do the things we enjoy doing on a daily basis.
But what happens to your weekly coffee and bagel date with your best friend when you stop drinking coffee and are no longer eating wheat? And if you learn that yoga isn’t ideal for your body type, how do you cancel the longstanding pre-Friday night date yoga class ritual you’ve got going with your significant other?
Here are three tips to ease the pain of a significant lifestyle change:
- Be honest about what you need. When you make big shifts in any part of your daily routine, it’s important to give yourself the necessary structure to uphold those changes. Communicate the changes you’re making to your friends and family, and share with them the reasons behind those decisions. The people who love you will always want to find ways to support you—so long as you clearly convey what you need to them.
- Go easy on yourself. Making significant lifestyle changes is a complex process, particularly if you want those changes to stick. While it’s imperative to be strict about your commitments, it’s also critical that you go easy on yourself. Find ways to pamper yourself, whether by taking a bath, chilling with your friends, or indulging in a meal that’s both good and good for you. When take care of yourself, it will be much easier to integrate the shifts you’re making.
- Don’t be judgmental of others. Although you may feel the impulse to begin spending time with people who have similar habits to your own, don’t take a hyper-reactive stance to your nearest and dearest just because they drink coffee and you don’t. Find common ground rather than emphasizing difference. Switch up your bagel dates for smoothie meet-ups, and ask your significant other if you two can go exploring with a pre-date walkabout instead of yoga.
Approaching yourself and those around you with compassion and clear communication will soften the blow of a complex lifestyle transition. Find the joy behind the decisions you’re making, and share that with the people closest to you. You’ll be surprised how easy it becomes to get the support you need!
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