Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
The bookends of success are starting and finishing. Decisions help us start; discipline helps us finish. John C. Maxwell
Have you ever thought you have finished something and found you just started? We get people in our office doing a complete renovation and addition who say, “We were just going to renovate the bathroom.”
Some people start a weight loss and fitness journey that changes everything about their life. Starting something puts us on a path that may not lead where we thought it would. This works in negative and positive ways.
There is truth to the “Bet you can’t eat just one” potato chip line. There are people who start their fitness routine promising to do one push-up per day. When they are already on the floor they often do more than one. When we need an hour and a half for a fitness routine we might wonder when we will fit that in. One push-up, we can do after we brush our teeth before we get dressed. Even if we only do one push-up a day it is still 365 push-ups we wouldn’t have done.
In many areas of our life, we can make small changes and small changes lead to big things. The Fly Lady tells us to clean up our clutter in fifteen minutes. Set the timer and do what you can in fifteen minutes. She has us do it in a different area of the house every day. The idea is to develop a daily habit, that doesn’t take too long, fits into our lives, and makes things better.
Good habits make it so we don’t get up in the morning and wonder what we’ll do first. We automatically reach for the toothbrush. We could also do that push-up or a downward dog before we get ready for the rest of the day. A routine lets us not have to think about what we are doing next.
We don’t want our life so regimented we have no free time and we don’t want so much free time we have no routine. If we want to change our lives in a big or small way it will usually come in the form of a habit we develop or eliminate. Trying to change too much at once for some people might be hard other people might want to make a big change all at once instead of incremental small changes.
In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. Tony Robbins
We live our life by what we do daily. When we want to change things it may help if we have something that triggers our new action. When I started writing I did it after I put the kids to bed. The “kids” of course grow up so that only worked in the early years. Now I write in the morning.
My leg is bothering me, I don’t know why. “Last night my kids said, “You haven’t been to the gym in a year and a half. Maybe that’s the problem.” It might be too much sitting. I’ve spent even more time sitting as I’ve gotten my children’s book ready for publication, and I have until the end of September to submit the final edition. But, I need to find more time for exercise. I think that is what my leg is telling me.
Having a deadline is helpful. Without a deadline, I aimlessly drift along. With a deadline, I accomplish more than I thought I could. Sometimes we set impossible deadlines because we want to cram more into a year than is possible. If we take a longer view we’ll find Bill Gates is right. We overestimate what we can accomplish in one year and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten years. Is this why we are told to have five-year, ten-year, and even longer goals?
Is there something we want to start? Is there something we need to finish? Are we a new habit away from moving in the direction of our dreams?
Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most. Abraham Lincoln
First, forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you are inspired or not. Octavia Butler
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of success is found in your daily routine. John C. Maxwell
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