Baby Steps: Making Changes For the New Year
My brother got engaged to his girlfriend this weekend. He had called me up back in September, saying that he thought it might be something around the corner. He asked me what I thought, and I said what many protective older sisters say in these situations: “I think you could stand to wait a bit longer. Maybe late next year?” I’m a big fan of long relationships and I want the best for both my brother and my soon-to-be sister-in-law; I wanted to make sure they both knew they were absolutely ready. But see, everyone in my family shares this oft-unfortunate character flaw: once we’ve made up our mind to do something, it must be done RIGHT NOW POSTHASTE IMMEDIATELY.
So there was essentially no talking him into a different timeline.
I mention this because, again, it’s a shared issue in our family. I make decisions and need to move and move quickly. Every year in January, I decide I am going to: lose 20 pounds, put a significant dent in my debt, move full force on my own business models, drink less, stop smoking, eat on a healthier diet, drink more water, the list goes on. AND I MUST DO IT ALL AT THE SAME TIME. As you can imagine, I’m not great about sticking to any one of these ideas only because I’m trying to change, oh, everything about my life at once.
Imagine my excitement when I stumbled across this article from the Washington Post that has professionals–yes, real professionals!–telling me that I don’t need to go full force with each of these goals all at once! Nay, I should not actually do that at all…but instead that I can tackle each goal at the same time, only in small increments. Increments that lead to 12 months of progress and change.
“Relief” is a word that accurately describes my reaction to this notion.
See, positive health changes always seem like they take too damn long for me. Patience is not a virtue that comes easily to me, and I typically find myself giving up at the 6 week mark if I’m not seeing any progress and I don’t have a lot of support. I have a tendency to set unattainable goals in too short a period of time, then get frustrated when I don’t see personal victory quickly. For personalities like mine, small, short-term goals (baby steps, I like to call them,) are a better option.
So this year, I’ve sent this article to my workout buddies and we are going to start small, but mighty. Slow and steady wins the race, like I yell at the screen during my football games. I encourage you to take a look at it yourself, if you are the type of person that needs to see wins on the board in order to find the energy and motivation to keep going. Monthly or quarterly goals are a great way to gauge your progress and find easier success than trying for a year out. The changes are small and the long-term, compounded effects are enormous.
Meanwhile, I’m going to be planning my toast for a wedding that isn’t for at least a year. Because it needs to be done, like, NOW.