I ran my first 5k in 32:52. I placed 31st in my age category. I can honestly say it was one of the happiest days of this whole year. I laughed, I met up with bloggers and hung out with my pals from bootcamp. Running and fitness has radically changed my life for the better. Nine months ago I could barely run for 2 minutes. And I hated it! Every stride was painful, every minute felt like an hour. But I just kept going. Slowly--verrrry slowly--I increased my endurance. Change doesn't happen overnight. But small changes, repeated every day lead to complete transformation.
This is what I know: when you make positive change in ONE part of your life, it affects EVERY part of your life. I used to think I needed to get my WHOLE life under control all at once. I now realize this kind of perfectionistic thinking is a setup for failure. It is too much. It is too overwhelming. It is far better to focus on tiny, small, infinitesimal changes.
Can you simply put on your exercise clothes? GREAT! Just do that! Don't even go to the gym! Don't even exercise. Just put on the exercise clothes and tie up your running shoes. Then, go drink a cup of coffee. (I got this awesome idea from a column by Martha Beck).
Do you want to be a better homemaker? Just clean your sink. (That's Fly-Lady).
Do you want a closer relationship with God but can't find Him in church? Place a soup spoon on the table with the utmost care. (That's me).
I'm increasingly convinced that small acts of change are far superior to grand gestures. In the end, isn't life really about the little things? The true measure of a person is based on their small acts of daily character: how they treat drivers on the freeway, how they tip their server at the restaurant, how they talk to their children, how they judge others, whether they gossip or encourage, whether they are always rushing around or take time to just be.
The important thing is not to mistake small change with easy change. Change is always hard and uncomfortable. This is precisely why it's better to start very small. Getting fit is painful. It takes effort. The hard truth is that you'll never get fit by popping a pill and then sitting on your ass. Shortcuts might lead to temporary results, but they'll never effect true, longterm transformation.
There are no shortcuts in love--or fitness. Anyone who promises overnight results is a liar.
The good news is that you don't have make huge changes. Making small, incremental changes that you sustain for a long time leads to total life transformation. In fitness, if you suddenly dive into an intense exercise regimen you will probably injure yourself.
But as one of my dearest friends told me when I started my fitness journey: "You can do anything for two minutes." This is true. Just run for 2 minutes.
And then maybe 2 minutes more.
You can't change your life in 2 minutes, but you CAN change it in 2 minute increments!