March – about that time everyone has completely forgotten that they made a life-changing resolution not even 3 months ago.
Usually it’s because we make our goals too big, almost ensuring our failure to follow-through. But more on that in a minute.
You may be asking yourself, how many installments of this series are there going to have to be? How long could it possibly take Coach Kat to master a simple movement?
Okay, maybe it’s just me asking myself these questions. But the answer is at least 3. Probably more like 5.
But I have a feeling that I’m close. I can successfully hold the bottom portion of a pistol (finally!) about 15% of the time. The problem is simply coming back up afterwards!
Despite my great difficulties in achieving this goal, I’m making progress and haven’t quit yet. In our last two installments we’ve gone over how staying accountable, committing to your goal and having a clear-cut plan increase your chances of success. In this post, we’re going to talk about how less is more when it comes to making changes and achieving a goal.
In his amazing book, The Power of Less, author Leo Babauta outlines how doing less ultimately leads to doing more. One of his principles, starting small, is exactly how I approached my goal of doing a pistol squat. The benefits of doing so are numerous. According to Babauta, starting small:
- Narrows your focus
- Keeps your energy and enthusiasm going for longer
- Is easier to handle
- Ensures your success
- Is longer-lasting
And I can personally attest to these benefits. How often have you yo-yo dieted – going from a complete overhaul of your current eating habits to crashing back to your old ones and gaining 10 new pounds along the way? How often have you tried to add in a 5-day a week exercise program on top of that? How is that working out for you?
While this is certainly not the case 100% of the time – sometimes life-changing events can lead to entirely new lifestyles – for many clients I work with, this story is all too familiar. Sometimes seeing how far I had to go on just mastering one exercise was a little daunting.
Instead of focusing on how far I had to go, I tried one small step at a time. In fact, it’s only recently I’ve really put my focus on the end product (Hilariously, I might add):
So instead of making a resolution list that includes:
- 2 hours of exercise 5 times a week
- Eating 5 servings of vegetables per day (when you’re used to more like zero)
- Starting a mood journal
- Meditating for 30 minutes per day
- Getting 10 hours of sleep per night
- Starting your own organic backyard garden
…how about just starting with a 5 minute walk per day?
I know, it doesn’t sound as glamorous as all those other things. It doesn’t seem like it’ll really accomplish much. But in two weeks when your gym shorts lay dusty in the back of your drawer, some broccoli rotting in the back of the fridge and some unopened bags of tomato seeds and potting soil, those 5 minutes of walking would have gotten you better results.
In any case, small, slow progress has gotten me 50% of the way there:
So how much longer till I achieve this goal? I’m not sure. But since I haven’t made this a stressful process – it’s been enjoyable, actually – I don’t really mind not being all the way there yet. Enjoy the journey.