“It’s better to do a little bit a lot, than to do a lot a little bit.”
He was encouraging us to make yoga a daily practice. He explained that if we were runners, it would be better to run 2 miles per day than to run a marathon once a month.
At the time I was in the army & did a lot more running than yoga, so this made perfect sense to me. I knew that running 2 miles wasn’t too strenuous, could be done in minutes (about 18 for me at the time, now more like 24...haha!) & didn’t require much recovery time--making it an easy commitment. Running a marathon, on the other hand, was much more difficult, took several hours & involved significant recovery time compared to a quick few miles--making it much easier to blow off because it was a HUGE commitment.
We are more likely to commit to little things we perceive as easy than to big, hairy ones that sound scary or difficult. Not just physically...but in life.
I was reminded of this again just before giving birth when I met up with a couple I know for lunch. They shared that they made a tracking sheet of the things they wanted to ensure they would do every day after their first baby was born. These weren’t earth shattering things or life goals like “write one chapter of my next book each day.” They were more along the lines of “brush my teeth,” “take a shower,” & “have at least one adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around poop.” The kinds of things that can easily fall through the cracks when you are a sleep deprived new parent. Little things...but important things.
This brought to mind a business axiom I had heard (& taught) many times: “what you measure matters.” In other words, what you think is important enough to track, you generally spend your most energy on. I not only believe this to be true in business...but in the rest of life as well.
Over the years, I have put my focus on tracking many things from found money (if you don’t know about my penny project, you are probably new here. Check out the first comment for the website & book that flowed from this 10+ year ongoing process that’s allowed me to collect almost $5,000 for charity + random acts of kindness) to the food I consumed as I was learning about fitness & nutrition while I trained for my first 70.3 Ironman race (I lost 17 pounds in the process).
What did I learn from all this?! That the things I track, put on my calendar, or set reminders for are the things that get done. Everything else is a maybe at best. Not to mention, these little things I focus on really start to add up over time!
Tonight as I rounded the corner of my last 30-minute walk before seeing the doctor tomorrow to get cleared for a return to normal workouts, I wondered just how far I had gone. Hard to tell when you are walking the same 0.3-mile loop around your condo complex over & over again. This was so I could be nearby if hubby texted in a panic that the kid needed a boob to feed on STAT...which only happened once, but was enough to scare a new mama into staying close. Better to walk 30 minutes in 10-minute increments with feedings in between than not to walk at all.
Thankfully, I had tracked each of my nightly walks on the MapMyFitness app, so I could find out EXACTLY how far Ihad walked! To my delight, in the 6 weeks & 1 day since Lena was born, I have walked 72.3 miles. That’s 241 times around the complex. Not bad, eh?!
I’m also happy to report a few other things:
- (1) Although there were nights I did NOT want to get off the couch (partly because I prefer daytime workouts...but baby disagreed with this schedule), I only skipped 5 days of walking. It’s important to note, I ALWAYS felt better at the end of those tough nightly walks than I did at the beginning.
- (2) I never got bored in those 241 loops around the same tiny (and arguably boring) piece of real estate, which could have easily happened. Instead, I took each lap as an opportunity to grow my mind. I used a combo of upbeat music, the Deepak Chopra/Oprah 21-day meditation series, and inspirational podcasts (Chris Harder’s “For the Love of Money” about business & Lori Harder’s “Earn Your Happy” about living your happiest life--both very much worth checking out if you are into podcasts) to make each loop a new adventure & an avalanche of inspiring ideas.
- (3) I wasn’t the only one who kept her commitment to do what feeds her soul. My husband created 39 art pieces (a mix of paintings & drawings) in those 6 weeks. No small feat since he did that all while being on the night shift with a hungry + gassy newborn.
It’s amazing what two people can accomplish, even during the most stressful of times, when they commit to supporting each other in taking time to do what feeds their souls. As much as I love my new baby, I love my husband even more for supporting me to take great care of her AND to keep taking great care of me too (the man did ALL the grocery shopping over the last 6 weeks, most of the laundry, and the lion’s share of diaper changes + baby burping so I could stay rested for late night feedings).
Looking back I can see that each 30-minute walk I committed to became part of an overall distance I couldn’t have imagined traveling over the last six weeks. Not just the distance I covered with my feet, but also the leaps & bounds my soul took by staying committed to my own self care during a crazy time, the even greater depth of love I found for my husband for staying committed to his creative soul work, and the increased strength of our relationship discovered by supporting each other in what we need most.
Baby steps can seem insignificant when we are taking them. But when we turn back around to see the ground we’ve covered, we see that they weren’t insignificant at all. They were massive, meaningful, & perhaps the best parts of who we have become.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a baby-sized bite of ice cream with my name on it. If I’m lucky, those bites will add up to polished off pint in no time! ;-)
***AUTHOR’S NOTE: Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors...this piece (along with everything else I’ve shared lately) was written in 5-10 minute chunks between feedings & diaper changes. Gotta love those baby steps!***
This post brought to you by a 42-year old first time mom who's (mostly) loving the journey. Although I am not "officially" back to work until the fall, I do have a few coaching spots open if you could use a dose of this outlook in your life. Nothing makes me happier than helping people find the baby steps they can take to get them closer to their dream lives!!