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Start Again, Start Now, Start Small

How many of you had 2020 goals? How many of you had those goals demolished by March?

I don’t usually set resolutions, but I do look at each year and think, “What am I aiming for this year and what will success look like at the end?” If you’re like me, all those dreams had to shift.


Maybe you had:

  • A vacation planned (that once in a lifetime trip)

  • A goal to get in better shape (six pack and shredded)

  • A plan to increase your social circle (date more, date less, find friends)

  • A focus on advancing your career (more education)

Suddenly we were faced with a ‘What do I do now? Will I give up till next year? Do I change my goals? Do I join Elon Musk on the first flight to Mars and leave this planet?’ Don’t leave the planet just yet unless that’s on your bucket list. In Darren Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect, he states that small changes make a big difference over time. Tiny Habits, by BJ Fogg, Phd, proves this point in a terrific bit-sized, science-backed, easy to read book. I’ll make it simple:


Start again, start now, start small.


Don’t wait until 2021. There’s no guarantee that it will get better, but you can make a choice, that YOU WILL BE BETTER.


That six pack might be long lost in the working-from-home-baking-more-and-door-dash-is-your-new-bestie-in-2020, but not all is lost.


Start again, start now, start small.


Here’s what you do right now:

  1. Lie on the ground.

  2. Do one crunch.

That’s not a typo.

Do ONE.


If you haven’t done anything since March, one is a lot! Chances are, you’ll do five, or ten and you’ll feel great. But if you only do one - you met your goal for the day! Three times a week, do one. You’ll eventually want to do more.


Here are some more examples of starting small if crunches are not your thing:


You decided to take the opportunity working from home to learn about the history of the Inca Civilization. Instead of starting with the 10 part miniseries on Netflix, start with that 3 minute kids video on Youtube.


You have been reading posts and memes every week about mental health. You decide to start meditating. So you set your timer for 10 minutes. 93 seconds later you end up checking your email because you’re expecting that all important message from your boss. So tomorrow, set your timer for 90 seconds. Too long. 60 seconds? Try 30 seconds. Or fifteen. Still too long? Try being aware when you blink.


You just blinked didn’t you?


Now blink really slow (I’ll wait). There, you just meditated.


Start again, start now, start small.


Some of you may be thinking, “Way to set the bar low David! How lazy are you?”


I would argue that although I do love to relax, I’m actually setting myself up for success. My intention is not to get out of something but to get started with something without intimidating myself. How many times have you NOT wanted to clean the house or go to the gym and decided to just wipe the bathroom counter or spend 10 minutes on an Elliptical? 45 minutes later the house is clean(er) or you’ve watched an entire replay of Gilmore Girls and have wobbly legs? Once our brains get started we tend to keep going.


The same can be true for breaking bad habits. If you eat 5 twinkies a day and would desperately like to stop, cut down to 4 twinkies on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Then a few weeks later increase to 5 on Tuesdays and Thursdays but go to 4 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Then only do three on Sunday and two on Friday. Whatever. You get the idea. This is how I quit smoking (took several months) and became a vegetarian (about a year).


Where will you be next year if you don’t start somewhere? “Go big or go home!” sounds great from some motivational speaker, but small steps to somewhere is better than staying in your house forever. Hmm, that might sound too literal at the moment. Too real?


I continue to do this because I know it works. Now I’m learning to meditate. My goal is 2 minutes a day 5 times a week. I started that in March. Now I’m up to ten minutes a day, five times a week on good weeks. My goal however is still TWO minutes a day, five days a week. My habit is stronger now but if I miss it it doesn’t feel like a train wreck. I don’t have to start again in 2021.


Start again, start now, start small.


Most of you are overachievers (we are LCV afterall) which means tomorrow you’ll do one crunch AND blink slow all before breakfast. You are not alone. I am cheering you on. We’ll get through this together and be better for it.


Start again, start now, start small.

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