New Year – New You?
Its that time of the year when many of us decide to make changes that we hope will lead to a ‘new’ and ‘improved’ version of ourselves. This will often involve one or more of the following: lose some weight, eat healthier food, exercise more (or start exercising), reduce stress levels, get organized, and so on.
Whilst making the decision to change your life is essential to start the process moving forward, the key is to make the changes sustainable and achievable. Many of us will fail at our new plans simply by taking on too big a challenge or trying to change too many things at once.
I came across a useful description in the Headspace app called Polishing the Pan. It describes seeing a challenge in front of us, in this case a blackened cooking pot and the different ways we respond to the challenge. It is about training your mind in meditation, but it can be applied to any situation. You see the challenge in front of you and are overwhelmed at the size of it. So, you go at it with everything you have, determined to rise to the challenge. Its too much. You get burned out and give up before you have really achieved anything. Then you think I’ll try a more chilled-out approach, but this often means your efforts reduce too much and again you achieve very little.
The moral of the tale is the best approach is steady, consistent effort. Make gradual changes and build on them. Turn up every day and chip away at the challenge. Of course, it will take longer to reach your goals, but you know that by working towards them this way you can sustain the effort it has taken, and sustained effort equals continued success.