Humans have a knack for turning good things into moral tests that we are failing. Many of us have a list of things in our heads that we believe we “should” be doing but for many reasons end up putting off. Eat more vegetables, go to the gym every day, watch less TV, meditate, etc. And then we feel guilty or like we’re bad people when we don’t do them.
The problem, often, is that we have an image in our head of how things things “should” look (there’s that word again — is it actually useful?). We imagine ourselves doing the thing perfectly, and when that isn’t possible we just don’t start. You’re waiting for the magical (never to be seen) day when you can spend an hour at the gym or 30 minutes on the meditation cushion. Stop waiting! Start with something. Start anywhere.
Tara Brach tells a story in many of her books of struggling as a young mother with maintaining a meditation practice. Her solution? Sit every day, even if it’s for 5 minutes. And it helped. Something (positive) happens when we make and keep a promise to ourselves, when we start small and give ourselves credit for that success.
So, friends, here is an experiment for you. Let go of the perfect image of how you want to be and just start. Do a little bit each day and LET THAT BE ENOUGH. Meditate for 5 minutes. Clean for 10 minutes. Walk for 15 minutes. Eat one extra serving of vegetables. Drink one less soda.
Drop your grand goals and be where you are. I remember some great race advice from a seasoned marathoner that has stuck with me: Start slow and slow down.
Do a small thing, keep doing it, and see what happens. I’d love to hear what you discover!