A few months ago at my naturopath’s office, I heard the words, “We’re just fine-tuning you. No major issues or concerns. You’re doing a great job.” Sometimes praise goes in one ear and out the other, so she purposefully said it again and added with a smile, “That’s a compliment.”
I nodded then as if I liked what I heard, and it struck me that I may have been just tweaking for some time. Nothing drastic to change, but not drifting either. Just some clicks here and there to Better Me.
Since tweaking is such an ongoing part of my natural flow, I can’t even remember the last time I made a serious New Year’s resolution. Instead, I continuously feel around for what’s right, what’s wrong, and what’s next.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
Most mornings I ask myself three questions:
- How can I be better?
- What do I really want?
- How can I step towards it today?
Doesn’t matter what piece of the life pie it’s from—health, happiness, family, love, finances, spirituality—when I embrace the challenge of setting my sights on one something at a time and unwaveringly bring it to life, there’s no room for boring.
Creating the life you want is not a day trip, but slowly but surely tweaks can add up nicely.
Maybe too, there’s more staying power in consistently bite-sizing your way to goals and good habits versus trying to woof them down in one sitting. That is the reason many will get overwhelmed with their resolutions and quit by February. That is the reason the tortoise beat the hare.
Start slow and stay with it. For example, if you want to start exercising more, step one could be signing up for a gym membership, dance class or choosing a walking route. Step two could be getting exercise clothes and gear, figuring out your optimal workout time and plugging it into your calendar, or leaving a packed gym bag in the car. Because, eventually, nothing speaks louder than action, step three would actually be exercising.
It’s really that simple. So, for January, just pick The One Thing that could most improve your life or inch you a little closer to a goal. Make a list of at least three specific small steps and work them like a part-time job. Wake up the next day, make the next moves you can, and repeat until done.
Action drives dreams.
It might take you some months to accomplish The One Thing—maybe the year—but hang in there and try not to betray yourself. If you keep intentionally taking small bites of big things, you will win more than you lose, and that’s the point of goals, right?
After too much grinding, chasing the work with play will help you avoid ending up with problems only prescription drugs can fix. I remember the time a serious friend who makes her resolutions on her birthday told me on her fortieth that her goals were to look pretty and have fun. This from a goal-obsessed woman who probably emerged from the womb with a five-year plan seemed delightful and cool, and I’m better for watching her get a makeover and load video games onto her IPhone.
Whatever is on your list this year, Get. To. It. But take time to play too.