We all know change is hard sometimes. Change is especially hard when were going against a long-held ingrained habit. We try to make a change and in a few days, we’re right back where we were. Such is the destiny of many a New Year’s resolutions!
Of course, there is a technique which we all know about which can assist us if we are truly serious about making modifications in our life. The aid is simply to look at the end result of where we want to go, to break it down into small manageable goals, then to work on the first goal over and over until we master it. In other words, we create a small “chunk” that moves us in the direction of our ultimate intention and we make a habit out of that chunk.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know! Yet there are two major obstacles for putting this plan in place. The first – our goal seems so big and intimidating that we don’t have a clue about how to “chunk it up” into smaller pieces. Related to this is the fact that even if we can create intermediate milestones, they don’t seem to give us the emotional satisfaction we seek from the end game and therefore don’t really motivate us. The second obstacle – acting on that first task repeatedly until it becomes a part of what we do. The best intentions frequently fade away after a few days.
I remember years ago one of my spiritual teachers advising my class that we need to spend some time each day in inner reflection or meditation. If we truly want to turn our attention away from the outer world and move into an awareness of an inner world, then we have to spend some time each day actually in that inner world! Of course the Catch-22 was that we are so busy in the outer world, we all wondered where we were going to find time to meditate. The advice of our teacher – take 5 minutes each day to meditate. Surely we could carve that much time out of each day. His suggestion – find a consistent time, then do it until it becomes a habit. Then expand from that beginning to more and more time each day. I can assure you this works as it helps me become a habitual meditator.
I read recently where an individual who helps people reduce their clutter and clean their houses teaches people a technique to overcome their paralysis when they are faced with overwhelming messes. The trick – identify some area of your house that needs cleaning, commit to doing it for 5 minutes, and after that amount of time you can decide whether to quit or continue. After all, it’s just 5 minutes! It tricks you into starting and typically you continue on beyond that time. And – even if you don’t – you have five minutes worth of progress to feel good about.
The point is to find some early success to build upon. This is the law of attraction in action. If in our minds we are overwhelmed by a goal in front of us, then all we can attract is more of an unmet goal. If we see a small success, then our attention is focused upon our progress and we get more of the same.
So here’s your task – where’s the change in your life that you just can’t seem to get started on? Where are you called to do or be something different and all you seem to notice is that you are not making any progress in that direction? Once you identify it – break it into chunks and get started working on that first chunk. Make a commitment to act on that chunk each day until you master it. Here’s some examples to get you thinking:
You want to eat better? Set a goal to eat one additional servings of vegetables per day. Take one unhealthy food you’re eating currently and either eliminate it from your diet or reduce how much you eat.
You want to exercise? Create a routine you can do in 5 minutes and do it each day as part of getting ready. Get a pedometer and wear it – try to increase your steps each day.
You want to write a book? Set a goal to write at least something for certain amount time each day, even if it’s just a paragraph or two. Create a blog site and write a short blog each day. If that’s too much, write something once a week.
You want to learn a foreign language? Find five minutes and practice each day with a foreign language computer program. Put foreign language CDs in your car and listen to them.
You want more friends in your life? Set a goal to take a few moments each day to appreciate your own company. Reach out and connect with someone everyday.
You get the idea. Chunk it up and make the change!
Peace and blessings!
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!