For many of us, today is the first day of 2009 that we are headed back to work or school --- or just back to the old grind. It's a day that can be discouraging. We might discover, for example, that the daily goals we set yesterday aren't quite so easy to achieve today. If so, we may need to re-evaluate.
Today is the day to learn to take baby steps towards our goal, to start small so we can finish big.
A friend of mine decided to lose weight last year. As many people do, she set some lofty goals. She was going to reach her healthy weight by the end of the year. When I pointed out that this meant that she would have to lose about 10 pounds per week, a goal that was not only unrealistic but unhealthy, she shrugged off my concerns. What was the point of going to all the trouble of changing her lifestyle, she insisted, if she couldn't achieve what she really wanted by the end of the year?
Her lifestyle change lasted exactly a week and a half --- the time it took her to realize that losing ten pounds in a week was impossible for her. Unfortunately, she didn't see the benefit of making incremental, realistic changes towards her goal. It seemed too much like the pace of a tortoise and, if she was going to move at all, she wanted to do it at the pace of a hare.
Slow and steady is what will win a long race, because it's the pace we can keep up until the end. If your daily goals prove to be too difficult, modify them. Be willing to take baby steps. For example, if you now get up at 7:00 am and your daily goal is to get up at 5:00 am, you might find that sort of change to be too difficult to adjust to. Why not get up 5 minutes earlier each day, until you reach your goal?
If 20 minutes of exercise each day is proving to be too difficult, scale it back. Or perhaps set the goal to be 20 minutes of exercise three times per week. Once that becomes a habit, you can begin taking bigger steps.
For today, resolve to take one step at a time, whether it's a baby step or a more ambitious step. No matter what, make sure you set out on a pace that you can continue for all of 2009.
At Shinjin Karate, we want to help you keep your New Year's Resolutions! Read all of our related articles here.