February is upon us and all those new years resolutions have come and gone for most people. I’d like to offer a tiny shift in your perspective that will change your life. Stop setting goals. Instead, create a small habit. I want you to break out of the habit you currently have of setting a goal, getting excited then being dragged back into the realities of life and beating yourself up because you didn’t make a huge ground shaking change and magically attain the lofty awe inspiring goal you set for yourself. A goal is nice, a goal by itself is a target — you have to take action, you have to do something to hit your goal. Now here is the secret within a secret. The smaller the habit the better. Thats right, I want you to create a tiny can’t fail, its almost ridiculous to say it out loud habit, and then do it every single day. Now you are changing your routine, you have success upon success that builds and builds and you feel better about yourself and before you know it that big lofty awe inspiring goal has been achieved. Bonus, it wasn’t hard, it didn’t hurt and you barely even had to try.
An example. I’ve been trying to start a home practice of yoga, qigong or tai chi for awhile now. I went to classes, I bought dvds, i watched youtube. I kept trying to do an hour or at least a half hour and its now been years and I haven’t gotten any further. I’d make it a week or really buckle down and go a few weeks and then get exhausted or side tracked and everything would stop. Recently I started doing 2 min a day. Thats it, 2 minutes. But I can do that everyday; even when I’m tired or the kids need extra attention or whatever the distraction of the day is – I can do my 2 min. And I have. I’ve been doing 2 minutes a day since early January. I’m building a streak and feeling good about it.
Will 2 minutes get me where I want to go? Well yes and no. By itself not so much. A longer practice certainly achieves better results– but this is how I build that bigger practice. On the days I feel awesome I do more, I push and grow and do 10 or 15minutes. On the days I feel like a steamy pile of ickiness I still do 2 min and then I feel better about myself. I build a streak and celebrate my little victories. This habit becomes routine and doesn’t sap my energy or my will power.
Try it. Want to lose weight? Go for a 2 minute walk(or qigong!). Want to eat better? Do a handful of spinach once a day. 2 minutes of belly breathing for better stress management. You pick. But make it small. Start with a snowball and watch it grow into an avalanche!