Change is not easy, and it isn’t always necessary either. We may be happy and content with our lives as they are. We may not wish to change a thing about the way we do life — and that is awesome! For those of us who have come to notice we have a habit or area in our life we would like to change — there are practices we can tune into in order to help us release old patterns.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to do life or to make change. What makes the ride easier, is knowing we can always choose to adjust our sails in order to enjoy our human journey as much as possible.

Sometimes we can keep doing the same thing over and over to our detriment, while forgetting we can exercise our choice to make change. In these scenarios it can be our breaking point that smacks us awake and helps us see change is in order.

That is exactly what happened in my life last spring. I had developed a habit over the last decade of working late into the night and sacrificing proper sleep as a result. As a mompreneur it felt natural to fall into the habit of caring for my family during the day and working on my business late into the night. It was a pattern that developed gradually over time. I could easily justify giving up sleep for working on big projects because it wasn’t something I was doing all of the time. There were periods where I had a good balance with sleep and work. Then as I became busier and had multiple projects on the go, everything felt like a big project. I knew I could push through the night and get a lot accomplished to stay on top of everything because hard work pays off. That is the story I told myself.

Well it turns out, pushing yourself to the point of burnout is an actual thing, and one I achieved. Hitting my wall was more of a surprise to me than anything because I always relied on knowing I had drive and could push myself. But I quickly learned that having drive is a positive trait that should not be taken for granted. Hard work is great but it must be protected with proper parameters to ensure a healthy balance over the long haul. It is not fun if you are doing what you love, but push yourself to the point of not loving it anymore.

Hitting the point of burnout had me question myself and why I was even in my business. I even considered giving up everything I had worked so hard for because it wasn’t fun anymore and I didn’t feel further ahead. Luckily, I decided that instead of giving up perhaps I could change the way I was approaching my work-life balance.

I used the practices below to help me release this entrenched pattern I developed that led me to burnout. These practices helped me carve a new path and a new way of being. The change I made gave me the space and perspective to be reminded why I ever started out in the first place. I found my joy and love again for my work and reconnected to my big why. I changed the way I structure my time so that I feel rested, happy and grateful for the big picture of my life.

Change isn’t always easy but it doesn’t have to be hard. Sometimes it can bring the most beautiful surprises and gems. Whether you have reached a point of burnout, or you are just looking to make some simple shifts in your life — give these practices a try and see how they fit for you.

1) Know How You Want to Feel

Knowledge is power. You need to be clear about the change you want, before you can make it happen in your life. It is important to be very clear in your mind what you want the end picture of change to be like for you. In other words, know how you want to feel after you have implemented the change in your life. Knowing how you want to feel gives you an anchor and clear target to strive towards. It feels very different to focus on what you do want compared to lamenting over what you don’t want. What we focus on has a way of becoming our truth, so keep that in mind if you want to feel different than you do.

You can add tools to make this practice more powerful and meaningful to you. Some examples include: Make a vision board with pictures or words representing what this new way of being looks like to you. Spend a few minutes each day visualizing and imagining how you want to feel in this particular area of your life. Talk about this change in a positive light with your trusted people. Drawing in upbeat energy and support in your life will help you believe it is possible to reach your vision for how you want to feel.

2) Start Listening More

There is no greater expert on you than you. Often when we feel stuck in patterns that aren’t serving us, we are ignoring the wise voice that lives within us. This voice is always there to help you adjust your sails and put you back on your highest path. It is simply a matter of connecting inward and getting more comfortable trusting your inner voice.

Give yourself a bit of quiet space and ask yourself what you need the most — the answer will come. Your wise voice always has your best interest and the interest of your fellow humans at heart. Trust yourself to guide your steps forward and honor yourself by believing you are resourceful. You don’t have to know all the answers and steps to take when you are releasing old ways of being. Simply take one step at a time and check in with yourself often to see if you feel like you are on the best track for you.

3) Stay Open

It is challenging to make change when we are caught up in old patterns and ways of thinking. If we approach each day with an openness to learn a new way, the right experiences and learning will be presented. If on the other hand, we are closed-off and overly skeptical that change is possible — we will create that reality too.

We are in control of how we choose to show up and view the world before us. We use our unique lens as a filter and then we collect evidence to support our view. Our minds are like computers gathering information continuously. If we plant the seed each morning that we are open to change and open to a different way of being, we will start to gather fresh information that will present new doors of possibility and perspective. When we focus on staying open to how we know we want to feel, we don’t need to preoccupy ourselves with worry and doubt that we will make it happen. Being open is what helps make it happen.

4) Small Action

Action doesn’t have to be intimidating. We don’t have to make giant leaps and bounds to break free from our patterns that rob us of joy. Attempting to implement change all at once can be overwhelming and exhausting. It is way more attainable to take small steps of action over time.

When I feel overwhelmed by to do’s and endless steps, I find it helpful to turn my focus from the big overpowering picture to simply taking a few baby steps. The small daily steps become the center of my attention, and before I know it all the steps add up and the big picture is no longer towering over me.

When we show up consistently and take small steps forward toward our end goal, it is amazing how much easier the journey feels.

5) Reflect and Connect

Find a way that works for you to regularly reflect on how you are feeling and connect deeper to who you truly are. Instead of waiting for external sources to fulfill your level of happiness, appoint yourself to be in charge of creating a joyful life.

When we strengthen the inner bond we have with ourselves, it becomes second nature to choose paths that are aligned with our happiness and truth. When we spend regular time reflecting on our lives, we grow our level of self-awareness.

When we are connected and self-aware, it becomes much easier to break free from patterns that keep us from living the fulfilling lives we know we deserve.

Emily Madill is the author of 11 books in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. Her newest title ‘Fall in Love with Your Life, One Week at a Time’ is now being offered as an E-Course.

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  • Emily Madill is an author and certified professional coach, ACC with a BA in business and psychology. Emily is one of Thrive Global's Editors-at-large and a coach at BetterUp. She has published 11 titles in the area of self-development and empowerment, both for children and adults. You can find her writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Think Positive for Kids; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; TUT. com; Best Self Magazine; MindBodyGreen; The Muse;; TinyBuddha; Aspire Magazine and others. Emily has a private coaching practice and an online program offering courses that support others to create lasting habits around self-love, well-being and all things related to time and weekly planning. She lives on Vancouver Island, Canada, with her husband, two sons and their sweet rescue dog Annie. Learn more at: