Small Changes to Big Results
When we were younger, we used to dream about being someone we thought was great - superheroes, ocean photographer, doctor, astronaut, president, firefighter, etc.. As we grew older, some of us actually made it happen and we became who we thought we're destined to be, but the reality is that most of us didn't quite make it. Many of us didn't have the right environment or resources provided by our parents to achieve these dreams, and ...some of these dreams just didn't fit us.
In my opinion, this is completely OK because back then, we didn't know who we really were, nor did we truly know our calling. As we grew older and became more mature, we started to know more about ourselves - strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, etc.. Now that we know more about ourselves, we get a second shot at becoming who we are destined to be! This time around, we have more control over our environments and resources, but oftentimes still we fail to make our dreams come true. This time it's on us!
Why is that? Yes, there are fears, and there are obstacles, but what's oftentimes lacking are 1) Measurable goals, and 2) Actions. You know that feeling when you're done with a long day of work, and you're just watching TV trying to relax or find comfort in your own space. Yet, there's this nagging thought that keeps reminding you that you should be working toward that dream of yours, but you tell yourself - "I think I'll tomorrow." And you just never do, or you get it started but only to give it all up in a few weeks. How do we overcome this? So this is my little success story to becoming healthier, body and mind, in the last 12 months (2020 - 2021), and I hope this sharing will encourage you to achieve your own goals!
I wanted to be truly healthy, and I knew I had to work on both my body and mind. The mind part was what I worked on first - I started to do meditation and prayer first thing for about 15 mins in the morning to get some clarity, and here's how I did it. My thoughts still drift a lot in the beginning, but I've gotten used to reeling them back so I can focus on the North Star. Training my body to be healthier took slightly longer, so I decided to set some short-term goals. Since I was only jogging once (for cardio) on the weekend back then, I said I would add two more days during the week, making it 3 days of jogging each week. It took about a month to really get used to the routine, and I was happy. Then I started to ask myself if 3 days a week was enough, so I added another day here and there just to see if I could do it, and surprisingly it wasn't too bad. As I was bragging to my friends about my new habit of jogging 3-4 times a week, I wanted to challenge myself just a bit more, so I made it 5 days a week, and then 6 days, and now, wait for it, 7 days a week! This process took me about 6 months, but I was pleasantly surprised that I am actually doing way more than what I committed to. Even with the new changes, I felt like there's more I could do. What is something I can change to maximize my jogging effort? So back then I was jogging after a whole day of work, so I could de-stress and reset my body and re-focus my mind. One day I got up earlier than usual, so I decided to go for a jog after my meditation/prayer time. The whole day was absolutely different, and it was a terrific feeling! I realized jogging is no longer about de-stressing, but about getting ready for the day! There's so much more clarity, even though it's still the same amount of time in meditation and exercise. By getting these done bright and early, I am now a healthier and happier person than ever before!
Yes, I set some goals, but the equally important thing was I took more and more actions to reach my goal, and I even made modifications along the way to optimize the results! I realized that having a long-term goal in mind prompted me to set some short-term goals (i.e. jogging 3 times a week), and these incremental changes (adding days, changing jogging time) got me to a level I never thought possible. I still have ways to go to be healthier, especially with my diet, but I've figured out a formula that works for me, and hopefully you, too!
What's stopping you from achieving your dreams? It's time to set some incremental goals, and put some actions in place. Start today, start now, and your future self will thank you :)