Be not afraid of going slowly

Be not afraid of going slowly, be only afraid of standing still . . .

– Chinese Proverb

If you’re like me, when you decide to do something, you go all out. When I decide to diet, I basically stop everything but water and watercress. When I start back at the gym, I try to train every part of my dormant body. The result? Great Abs? No. Lean mean fighting machine? No. One very tired, sore, cranky me? Oh, yea that’s the one.

I have tried every program under the sun. Lemonade diets, Hollywood Diets, you name it! I’ve zoned my carbs straight to South Beach! And while I’ve resisted the temptation of the Abdomizer or the Thigh Master, I do have a weight bench (good for storing unfolded laundry), Chin Up bar (good for the clothes that make it to a hanger) and an inclined sit-up bench (OK, this one just takes up space in the garage).

I am the guy they designed impulse shopping for. I buy the magazines at the Piggly Wiggly (yes, I shop at Piggly Wiggly, what’s your point?) while waiting in the checkout line. I am drawn to the promise of A New Body in 10 days, or The Secrets of Blasting My Biceps (I honestly don’t believe I have ever blasted any part of my body, and that has probably kept me out of the ER). I am pretty sure I have heard the checkout clerk giggle as I plop down the latest edition of Buff and Ripped.

So after years of research and a few Cosmo Sex Questionnaires (What? You thought you ladies had corned the market on those little secrets and tips?), I have learned that . . .

People hate change . . .

It’s easier to keep doing what we are doing, than trying to change. That’s why we revert back to our old ways so easily. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it takes 21 days to change a bad habit into a good one. That’s 21 days without cigarette. That’s 21 days of walking. That’s 21 days without a latte. 21 days is a long time . . . It’s even longer, if you are set unrealistic goals or try to change too much at once.

And let’s not forget in the midst of our makeovers, life goes on. Kids get sick, the dog pees on the carpet and your boss, well – you know that one. Many people underestimate the inertia of their current job, their chosen role at work and at home, their partner, their friends and colleagues and associates, their current habits, their current tastes and family responsibilities. So, as we approach a new year, let’s look at resolutions . . .

Top 10 resolutions . . .

1. Lose Weight
2. Quit Smoking
3. Exercise More
4. Eat Healthier
5. Make more money
6. Go back to school
7. Pay off debt
8. Spend less
9. Make more time for . . .
10. Get more organized

Most resolutions fail within the first month. I would argue most folks don’t get over the 21-day hump. So, obviously, we need another approach.

Be not afraid . . .

Go slowly. Set realistic achievable and sustainable goals. I believe in doing one thing a day that was healthier than the day before. After a week, you will have done 7 healthy things for yourself. After a month (and that dreaded 21-day threshold), you will have done 30 good things for your body and soul. And, if you embraced this philosophy in 2005, you will do 365 things great things for your body. Will you lose 30 pounds in 2 weeks? NO. But, you will start to move to a healthier place.

Be not afraid . . .

Be not afraid of going slowly

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