The vernal equinox marks the annual collective rebirth, reminding us that the only truly permanent pattern is change. Seasonal change is a useful yearly reminder of the predictable opportunity we have to adjust habitual patterns that aren’t serving us. As we noted last month, the year of Covid suddenly created many temporary strategies that have now become long-term solutions...many of which might not be serving us anymore.
We encourage you to continue to discover and reassess your daily habits, then evaluate those which are bringing you closer to joy; and those which are not. If you are struggling with the overwhelming size and momentum of your habits; or how to interrupt the cycle of your personal routines to create a more joyful life for yourself and those who depend on you, remember to start small….VERY SMALL!!
Make changes to your routine and commitments to yourself and others that are simple and far too ridiculously small to skip. Don't make the Grand Plan mistake!
Make these changes more like a placeholder than a “new beginning”. By doing so you create a space for a new “seedling habit” that over time will easily and naturally grow into a more meaningful and impactful habit. Don't set out to win the NYC marathon in your first week. If all you can do, at the start, is put your shoes on ….then that is a where to start. Just put them on everyday until it makes sense and you feel the space to start walking in them. Over time, it may make sense to start running in them. Every winner of the NYC Marathon first put on shoes and took a walk before they ever ran a race or won anything. Who knows…at some point, it may make sense to run a marathon….and win it!
Here are our top go-to suggestions at Physical Culture:
Walk. Humans are meant to walk. If you want to add exercise to your routine, walking is absolutely the best choice. Commit to putting walking shoes on once every day. You don’t even have to go for a walk. Just make the commitment to put your shoes on every day. The following week, commit to walking such an absurdly short distance that you can’t skip it; perhaps to the end of your driveway and back. Or commit to parking farther away from the entrance of where you are going one time every day...or every week if you aren’t out and about much.
Stop “should-ing” all over yourself. “I should exercise more.” “I should eat better.” This self-talk instantly creates guilt and shame around how you're not succeeding and is incredibly counterproductive. Commit to catching yourself in this negative talk-pattern one time per day and reframe. “I would like to exercise more.” “I would like to eat healthier.” Just change your words in your head and then repeat that. That’s it. When you find yourself “should-ing”, it is an indication that your plan, or your concept of your plan, is too grand. Back it up! Break it down and make it tiny.
It takes incredible physical and emotional energy to have an incredible life!
Your physical body is the best tool you have to improve your emotions, and your emotions have the greatest effect on your body. So why not make a commitment to affect both? Have a personal spring. Make one small physical and emotional reset-commitment to yourself and those affected by you. Make these commitments so small that you can’t possibly skip them and allow the space and time for these seedling habits to grow. It is
slow, almost unnoticeable daily changes that fade seasons from cold, gray winter skies to beautifully warm, bright skies of spring and early summer. The tiny consistent changes you make, and keep, in your habits can be just as impactful...changing your time here into a more joyous daily experience. Remember to THINK SMALL!