The other day I was reading through some old emails and came across this quote from Sam Parker, the author of "212 the Extra Degree".
I used to walk my dog every morning when I got up, but these days I have a very lazy dog and there is no guarantee that he'll want to get out for a walk the way that Jake used to.
This is not a habit that I've been in at all. In fact, taking time to read has really fallen off since I stopped traveling for my old job. When traveling for work there's all kinds of downtime on airplanes or trains when you can get caught up with your reading list, and these days I often feel too busy or tired to take the time to open a book, but I missed the benefits of reading. Reading is inspirational. It helps to stir up new ideas. It feeds the brain and creates a sense of accomplishment. But I admit I was struggling to find the time, and when laying in bed nice and warm in the morning, despite my stewing, I didn't feel motivated in that space to get up to read. So I started small.
I love my morning coffee, and these days it's light outside early in the morning, the birds are singing, and the thought of a warm, creamy cup of coffee was really appealing. So I started with just that - getting out of bed no later than 5:30am and taking some time to enjoy my coffee in the quiet of the early morning hours.
I've been working on my Corrective Exercise Certification, and the book is always nearby. I intentionally left it by the couch. Reaching for it was easy. I didn't have any commitment necessarily to read it at 5:30am, but it was there.
After about 10 minutes of sitting, relaxing, soaking in the morning sun and enjoying my coffee I already felt more awake. I reached for the book and started reading. Before I knew it I was 20 pages in and soaking in the new information, feeling inspired about how I could apply this knowledge to the benefit of my clients.
The next morning I remembered how great I felt after feeding my brain, but I still preferred the warmth of my bed, and still struggled with the challenges of the day ahead. But I thought about how wonderful my warm coffee would taste, and how quickly I'd start to feel more alive, and how this was going to inevitably lead to me picking up my book and feeling the sense of accomplishment and inspiration that the material provided.
Within just a few days it wasn't the coffee that motivated me but the excitement to see what interesting information the next chapter would hold, and that was what got me out of bed.
Now I have a routine of getting up each morning, brewing my coffee (after my morning mojo of course) and sitting down for 45 minutes or so to read.
I look forward to it. It's helping me refocus away from the feeling that I'm in some sort of twilight zone in this new COVID-19 world that we live in, and focus on how I can contribute to my community during this difficult time.
This in turn completely shifts my mindset. Starting my day inspired and thinking about how I can give back is far more productive than starting my day worrying about how the universe might give me another punch in the nose.
And when your mindset changes, everything else follows.
So what is my point? My point is that if I had focused entirely on a new morning ritual that seemed perfect to me at 5pm, but daunting to me at 5am, I would never have gotten there. But the simple act of just getting out of bed eventually led to something greater, more impactful, and more productive.
Don't think for a second that the smallest step could lead you to where you want to go. Getting up to read is just another small step in something bigger for me. Our current situation in this global pandemic is a big deal. I struggle with it every day, and I think it's important to admit that and to embrace it. It's not going away, and for me it's important that I am able to cope with the longer term implications of life as we now know it.
Getting up in the morning to read is one small step towards getting through what the coming months have in store. It gives me a sense of strength and control in the situation. It sets me up to make another one degree shift towards the implementation of new ideas that will allow me to support my clients and commit to my business during a time that is out right scary. As I identify those new ideas, embrace them, work towards implementing them, I gain traction, I create momentum, and I feel a greater sense of knowing that we will find our way forward in all of this. And all of this started with me just getting my butt out of bed in order to drink my warm cup of coffee.
What feels daunting to you right now? What small step can you start that will help you build momentum toward something bigger? Give it some thought....and if it still feels like it's too much, think even smaller. There's no such thing as taking too small a step. Any step is a step in the forward direction, and as long as you're moving forward you're making progress.
Looking for some inspiration on where to start?
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Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.