When I was a kid (let’s be honest, I still act like one), I would make goals for myself in a to-do list format. I would add things like practice guitar thirty minutes every day, run three laps around the house, or even clean out my closet (ha that’s a joke right there). You may be thinking, hey, why not if that encourages you to add it to your routine? And if you knew me as a kid then you’re probably thinking, oh dear, what on earth is this kid up to now? But that’s beside the point. The problem was, by the time you added my ten-year-old self’s to-do list together, the likeliness of making all those changes to someone’s lifestyle that mainly consisted of playing soccer and watching Saturday morning cartoons equated to someone who doesn’t know the first thing about Biology discovering a cure for cancer.
While it’s good to make goals for yourself, it’s important to make these goals realistic. One of the most common resolutions you hear is related to healthy lifestyle. “I’m going to drop five pant sizes by this time next year” or “I’m going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in 12 months even though I’ve never lifted weights before.”Or maybe it’s something more general, like losing weight and toning up. But for me, what tends to happen is that I make a general goal like this, and then suddenly decide to change every aspect of my lifestyle at the same time. I get overwhelmed by the small details of eating certain kinds of foods, starting a strength training program, keeping up my cardio, giving up chocolate entirely, etc. until I become so overwhelmed with all the small changes I’m making that when I fail to do one small thing I give up on my goal entirely. Because I told you already that I’m obsessed with chocolate, right? Often, if you look closely at a big change in someone’s life, you’ll see that it’s made up of baby steps going in one direction, not a stampede of footprints going in every direction at once.
So let’s both start with small goals that are less daunting and more realistic. We can keep each other accountable. We can focus on the fact that we’re making a change in our lives for the better instead of thinking how long it will take. If you make a mistake, it’s okay. We’re human. Learn the basics first. You can start with one small change, and when you master it, move on to the next. It can be one small step for your routine, one large step for your life.