How I Improved My Life Enormously with One Small Change


It’s easy to overlook the effect our routines have on us. Once they get established we don’t usually give them much thought unless they are interrupted.  But a bad routine can be having far more impact on your life than you imagine, even when it is not a drastically unhealthy one like say, eating fast food on a regular basis, smoking a cigarette first thing each morning, or eating fried food at every meal. The reason our routines are so important is consistency.  The things we do (big and small) consistently over time shape our lives.

 The good news is that this means that the seemingly small or insignificant good things that we do in our routines are likewise having a tremendously positive effect on our lives (whether we recognize it or not). The saying goes, “don’t sweat the small stuff” but the small stuff, when it happens consistently, is the stuff that makes up our lives. 

The routine I had to change
Here’s an example from my own life, I worry about being judged unfairly for this but I think it’s important to share, and likewise I hope you’ll share some examples of your own in the comments.

 After years of drinking socially and often in college, when I finally embraced adult life with it went the heavy drinking and binge drinking I used to take part in, but what remained was a daily habit of having one or two glasses of wine.  Every single day. 

 This felt fine on a functional level. I wasn’t having hangovers anymore, or forgetting who I kissed the night before (my husband, is a solid guess now), so for years I didn’t give it any real consideration. Although if I am honest, there was always a quiet little voice piping up inside me that wondered how healthy this was. There’s that little voice again. How many times has that voice known things before I did? But as usual I shushed it.

 All the evidence passed around in the media also supported this amount of drinking. Actually, it did not entirely support it, I was a little on the high side of healthy, but it wasn’t too much of a stretch to make it fit.  One glass a day is a healthy amount they say.  Two (for women) is pushing it but nothing to get alarmed about. That was me.

 But in the past couple of years, with a young child, a full time job, and a desire to do some creating of my own, the little voice began speaking even louder; questions began entering my mind like: Am I really making the best use of my time each night?  I knew there was more I wanted to do with my life than work and come home and unwind. When was that going to happen? Did I feel as great as I could each day?  Was this daily routine really healthy? Why was I so short tempered and snappy?  When our family went through a period where my personal strength was called on more than ever, how did I get so incredibly run down (Hint: it wasn’t all the wine’s fault but it did have something to do with a life approach that was undermining me.)?

 Needless to say, I don’t have all the answers but what I do know is that since I have cut back on drinking, I feel GREAT!!! I am less crabby, sleep better, have a budding creative life again, and probably most important of all (and this was a side affect that I had not anticipated) I feel much better about myself because I faced this nagging sense that it was not good for me and I found a way to set myself on a better path. I was proactive.

 I’ll write another post sometime about how I went about making this change, but in the meantime…

 It’s only by really looking at the truth of our lives that we can begin to have dominion over them. Which of your routines do you have a sneaking suspicion is weighing you down?  What have you done about it/Where are you on that journey?

 *** If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, please share it. Thanks for being here.

This entry was posted in Evaluation, Habits and Rituals, Health, Self Esteem and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How I Improved My Life Enormously with One Small Change

  1. Mara Rose says:

    I comment you for your self awareness and honesty. I am taking a hard look at my eating habits. I once was extremely health conscious about my food choices. I worked out and was very fit. Then, I went through a series of traumatic events, and it was all I could do to hang on. To put one foot in front of the other. My self care went straight to hell. Lots of horrible junk food and no exercise. Ten pound weight gain. I am looking at this with a clear eyes, and setting my intention to change. I know what to do. For me, the core issue is one of embracing my own worthiness. Your post was inspirational. Thank you for that.

    • Kathryn says:

      Mara, I am very touched by your sharing here too. When we get knocked down by life, or afraid, sometimes we in a strange way continue to punish ourselves. I agree with you and would almost go so far as to say when we know, when it’s not out of ignorance, then the core issue is almost always one of worthiness and self-belief. I think on some level I was keeping myself foggy so I didn’t have to face the hard work of doing otherwise. I wish you all the best on your journey but because you have called it out and recognize what you are doing I know you are so much closer to bringing your life back into the balance that you want.

  2. Karen says:

    This is a great example of how we convince ourselves we’re not actually doing anything wrong, as a way of putting off doing something really right. I do it all the time, with work, health, relationships etc.” I’m doing OK” “I’m functioning” etc. Instead of “How can I be better? Push myself? Reach my full potential?” It feels great to be proactive and take a step towards (eg) feeling great, rather than just feeling OK.

    By the way, is that pic Nature’s Window, Kalbarri Gorges? Or somewhere else equally beautiful?

    • Kathryn says:

      Hi Karen – Thanks for being here. You’re absolutely right we settle for okay sometimes without realizing that over time that won’t satisfy. We are meant to evolve and grow and we ignore that at our own great loss. The picture, I am told, is of Pikes Peak in Colorado. Spectacular isn’t it! And except for that hole in the rock you wouldn’t know there is this amazing mountain lying just beyond. I like the analogy. Hope to see you here again.

  3. Pingback: Who’s Driving Your Bus? | Good Life Road

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