Stalled, stuck, and procrastinating? Take heart, there is always a new day. There is always a new door to try. We, humans, want to be our better selves, we really do, but sometimes we get in our own way. Or we are just too comfy to let go of the old patterns. Or, like shiny things, everything else grabs our attention.

One mom told me she would like to stay home in her pajamas for the next month or so. She is happy to cook (she finds it relaxing) and take care of the family, including their multiple four-leggeds, but she really does not want to do much else…like get dressed, leave the house, or go to work. She’s happy to putter around the house and command Action Central from her kitchen table. She knows her protracted pajama party at home is not realistic and this mom is mad at herself for not wanting to power through her unrelenting to-do list and take that yoga class, call that friend, clean out the basement, or simply get the laundry off the dining room table.

This mom would do well with some regular naps, radical self-care, and boundary-setting to help her regain her inner stamina and strength. However, until she is ready to entertain those suggestions, there is another solution. It’s a great first step towards reclaiming your life: simply, change one thing.

That’s right, pick one – and only one thing – you would like to change in your life. Perhaps you want to read 20 minutes in the morning; power down your electronics an hour before bed; eat more veggies; walk the dog, meditate for ten minutes, balance your checkbook, go to the gym twice a week, or listen, really listen, to your loved ones.

Take a moment to think of how this change will benefit you. Will you find peace of mind, satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, relief, or, possibly, happiness?

Is now the time to commit to yourself? This is the hard part of this change process. It is usually easier to keep our promises and commitments to our family, friends, and employers. We often slide with our own self-made promises. We will get to it tomorrow, next month, or later. And there is a high probability that “later” never comes.

One Change requires a day-to-day commitment to your chosen action. Try it faithfully for 30 days and see how you feel. Not only will you be happy that you dedicated 30 days to your chosen endeavor; you will have built up some serious will power, and started yourself on a runway of success. One change at a time; one month at a time.

It’s doable. Are you ready?

Author's Bio: 


Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., is a teacher, writer, and psychotherapist with 30+ years’ experience. Dr. McDowell’s work focuses on helping clients find hope, balance, and peace in the face of crisis, trauma, abuse, and grief. She has worked with suicide, domestic violence, and sexual assault crisis hotlines, survivors of Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the Joplin Tornado, and the Newtown shooting; clients struggling with addiction as well as those moving through profound life changes such as grief and health challenges.

Dr. McDowell is the author of Balancing Act: Reflections, Meditations, and Coping Strategies for Today’s Fast-Paced Whirl. The suicide of a fellow psychologist led to the creation of her second book, Making Peace with Suicide: A Book of Hope, Understanding, and Comfort.

You can learn more about Adele, her writing, and her thinking at and