Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One Bite at a Time

It's that time of year again. The calendar counts us down, day by day, and we finally reach the dividing line. We let go of the old and welcome the new. Resolutions are made with the best of intentions, plans are created for a fresh outlook, a different way of being.  Excitement fills the air!  

Then the weeks roll by and we soon fall right back into the old patterns we wanted to get away from. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there.

Why are we so predictable in giving up on our goals? Maybe it’s because we set ourselves up to fail before we’ve even started.

Attaching so much importance to an arbitrary date that rolls around just once every 365 days or so raises some high expectations. And when those expectations aren’t met (losing 10 pounds, learning to play an instrument, watching less TV – choose your particular brand of renovation), we feel disappointment, guilt, a sense of resignation. So, our exercise equipment gathers dust in the corner of the room, we can never seem to find the time to practice our instrument, TV shows draw us in and, the next thing we know, we’ve been on the couch for four hours straight.  

And soon enough we lose our energy and eagerness, calling the year a lost cause.

I propose that, this year, we put away the idea of starting over on the first of January.

Let’s keep in mind that every day, every hour, every minute, every second even, we have the choice of doing something different. Every time we choose “this” and not “that”, we are creating the story of our life. Even if we are unaware that we are making a choice, as soon as we realize that there is another option, a new opportunity is born.

Say that you resolve to improve your physical fitness by taking a walk every day after work.  And weeks go by without you so much as putting on your walking shoes. No problem. Instead of giving time and energy to blaming yourself or others, or recounting the reasons for your lack of follow-through, use that time to open your front door and put one foot in front of the other. 

Pretty soon, just by choosing to take the next step, you’ve had your walk. And the next day, choose to open your door again and put one foot in front of the other. You get the picture.

Recently, an extraordinary woman named Delores contacted me, looking for a different path to take with her life.  She was overweight, pre-diabetic and unhappy with the way she was feeling. 

The thing about her that immediately caught my interest was her creativity and motivation in reaching out to a total stranger and creating a new opportunity for herself. She didn’t wait for a new year. She didn’t have a detailed plan. She just knew that it was time to set a new course and she took steps forward. And every day, she makes the choice to live this new life. 

It was my joy and my pleasure to offer her what I could in the way of support. I was, and am, so inspired by Delores that my team and I created the E3 Live Challenge and set up a blog to showcase her progress. If you’d like to read more about Delores, follow her transformation, and be inspired to rise to your own challenges, click here.

So, what about you? 

What new choices will you make for yourself in the year ahead? What inspiration will you take from the people in your life who have done something different to get different results? How quickly will you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on track when you have fallen short of your goals? Will you look at big tasks and think you are too small to achieve them? When that happens, remember this:

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

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