This is the time of the year that many people make resolutions they hope will catapult their life into a new and positive direction.
So it’s also a good time to encourage people to slow down and consider what they hope to achieve and how they plan to get there.
The New Year’s buzz drives us to dream big and leap high, but with all that emotional energy expenditure, we run the risk of overwhelming ourselves, burning out quickly and falling far short of our lofty expectations. And that may make us feel worse about ourselves.
This year, take a step back and consider: it’s the small changes that you make on a daily basis that determine where you ultimately end up. Consider an ocean liner that turns very slowly. It makes little adjustments in its course, but depending on which adjustments it makes, it can end up in very different places.
The real name of the game is consistency. While the big goal may be the shining light you strive for, consistency paves the way. And mindfulness helps you get there.
Focus on what you can do today. Even this hour. Want to increase your activity level? Get up and take some steps right now. That doesn’t mean sprinting around the parking lot for 10 minutes. It means doing something you wouldn’t have done otherwise. Something that won’t give you side stitches and result in wanting to throw in the towel.
Make little decisions to change something. Make them doable. And then make them consistently.
Maintain your awareness, every day, of what you’re doing and why.
And when those changes have become comfortable, do a little more. Keep your eye on consistency, not quantity.
Establish positive little habits the way you’d spread the seeds for a lovely cottage garden. Because here’s the thing: this is not a race. This is your life. You don’t live your life a month at a time–you live it moment by moment. And that’s the way you make changes.
Any decision that positively affects you remains yours to keep, like a little jewel in a box. Did you go for a walk among trees after lunch instead of hanging out in your office perusing social media? No one can take that experience away from you. Tomorrow, if you have a meeting after lunch and must stay at your desk, the positive effect of that walk will still have taken place.
It’s like a little brick that you can use to build a palace. You collect one each time you’re consistent with a behavior. Play the long game.
And when you remain mindful of your behavior every day, you can also step back and see where you, the human ocean liner, are headed. This makes it easier to correct your course. A short diversion does not need to take you in an unwanted direction. One small correction and you’re back on track.
And that thing that you might have called a “failure” in past years and just given up because you’d figure you’d “blown it anyway”? It would be a temporary side trip. Because you are mindful of where you are and where you’re going.
And that’s how you know you’re going to get there.
Happy New Year!