As human beings, we are always looking for information in one form or another. Having access to info and inspo at the touch of an iPhone button is amazing, but can also be mentally draining and the perfectionism we’re often presented can be frustrating to our self-esteem. Social media, as wonderful as it can be, has been contributing to information overload. Think of your Instagram feed. You likely follow tons of similar people to give you inspiration, but too much of a good thing can lead to mental exhaustion and a “to heck with it!” attitude. If information overload has left your mind feeling more fried than your morning eggs, consider my top tips to help narrow your focus and get on track with your goals.
- When you’re bombarded with ways to change, it’s easy to disconnect from them all. Instead, choose one or two strategies to help get started without getting overwhelmed. Trying to improve your diet? Don’t worry about throwing out everything in your fridge and spending a month’s salary on organic kale. Pick two changes to make for now; maybe adding one veggie to every meal and drinking two extra glasses of water a day. Totally manageable without going whole-hog immediately (which may set you up for failure). There is no need for “all or nothing” thinking. Small changes still get you where you want to go, and are typically pretty painless!
- Now that you’ve chosen your changes, make sure you stay focused on them. Being busy can make it easy to let new habits fall by the wayside. Make them a new part of your life by reflecting on them a couple times a day. I suggest doing this while brushing your teeth. Sounds silly? Think about it: This is how you start and end your day, and you’ve got about two minutes to think about it. Sounds perfect! During your morning thoughts, remind yourself of why you’re incorporating these strategies and how you’re gonna tackle your day, and in the evening you can assess how you did over the day and rev yourself up for tomorrow. Such an easy way to stay focused!
- Let’s face it, it can be so easy to fall off the wagon. By making your environment work for you, you can stay on track! Remember that iPhone that was responsible for bombarding your with too much info? Make that bad boy work for you! Schedule calendar reminders in your phone to remind you to drink your water, go for the run, take your deep breaths, practice speaking Italian, or whatever it is you’re planning to do. Maybe open a new Instagram or Twitter account to document your journey and engage with likeminded people for encouragement. And speaking of encouragement, pick someone close to you who you trust and tell them your plans. Let this person high five you when you’ve accomplished your goal, comfort you if you’re feeling discouraged, and kick your butt on lazy days.
Block out the noise
- So you’ve gone and done some extra googling, and you’re back to being bombarded with too much info about what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Take a breath. Remember what you’re doing and why. Don’t let the “shoulds” take over the excellent progress you’re making. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another, and so it’s important to remember that your path is the one you’re meant to walk along, not someone else’s. Stay on your Finding it challenging? Mark your small (or big!) successes to remind yourself that you’re doing just fine. This is how you can make real changes that are sustainable for you. High five!
It’s fantastic to be working on yourself, but to make changes that really stick, beware of TMI. Pick sources of information that you trust, and go slow. You’ll get there!
**Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the diagnosis/treatment of a licensed medical or mental health professional.**
Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker Psychotherapist providing counselling and psychotherapy at IHI. Check her out at www.laurenberger.ca, drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBergerMSW, or sneak a peek at her Instagram: laurenberger_msw.