Small improvements add up to big accomplishments.
Last year I set a goal to lose twenty pounds. I joined a couple of different online challenges for motivation and accountability. I tracked macronutrients (sometimes). I committed to at-home workouts which I did consistently (mostly) from March until the end of the year (yes, I had a slow start). I changed the words I used when I looked in the mirror from “good grief what have you done??” to “I’m working on it,” and “I’m not there, YET.”
I didn’t lose twenty pounds in 2018. I sabotaged myself when I was doing well. I drank wine when I should’ve been drinking water. I went out to eat too much and took too many vacations – ok that’s BS, there’s no such thing as too many vacations! I cheated. I made excuses. BUT. I did lose ten pounds, found a workout I loved, and a way of eating that is sustainable when I’m focused.
Am I disappointed? Do I wish I would’ve tried harder? Was it worth all the (sometimes half-assed) effort if I didn’t hit my goal? No, No, and YES! Guys, looking back to last year’s extra-tight, bordering-on-a-shopping-trip-to-go-up-a-size pants, I am damn happy about the ten pounds! And if I do it all over again this year, I will lose another ten and hit that twenty-pound goal, a little more slowly than I would’ve liked, but nevertheless I WILL be twenty pounds lighter.
Sometimes hitting our goals means improving slowly over time. If I forced myself to make weight loss my number one priority, skipped vacation, never had date night, and missed cuddling with my kids at night to go to the gym instead, I could probably lose weight in half the time instead of double the time. But that is not the choice I make, if it’s yours, you are my hero. I could also say screw it, give up on trying completely, never workout, drink soda (ahem, wine) instead of water, and eat whatever I wanted all day every day. But I have decided to improve, slowly but surely improve.
Doesn’t it sound better to be the tortoise instead of the hare? Especially if the hare loses all the weight in two months and then goes on to gain it back, plus another ten, plus feel like the hare with the tightest pants in the race?! And doesn’t it sound better to fight inch by inch for each small improvement, than to sit on the sidelines of the race stuffing yourself full of cheap beer and barbecue potato chips while criticizing the pokey tortoise for their baby steps? (PS I do not discriminate against hares, and if you are one who makes giant leaps and maintains them, bravo, FOR REAL!).
My point here is we all have our thing. We all have that eye on a prize that seems so very far out of reach. Maybe it’s a goal weight, maybe it’s a dream job, maybe it’s a bank account you can be proud of, or maybe it’s opening an online boutique. Rather than seeing the prize as unattainable or impossible, look at how you can improve. Could you change just one thing, read just one book, step one step outside your comfort zone? And then repeat, and repeat again, and again, until the impossible looks a little less preposterous and a little more obtainable. Could you?
You probably have before. You have probably been through some hardship that you clawed your way through. One improvement at a time. I have. And it was bigger than a number on the scale. It was my identity and self-worth I fought for, one change, one book, one choice at a time. The gains I had then were so small I barely noticed at the time. But one by one they snowballed into a better me, a happy me, the me I am now – all shiny, and new, and improved. One tortoise step at a time.