Is snowing. Big fluffy flakes spark and swayed in the wind, hiding everything under white cottony layers on its way. I get out of bed ready for my morning coffee, and as I look at the snow covering the window’s sill, a tiny sparrow chirps and flies around to catch my attention.
You see; every day I put some seeds for birds and squirrels on it. It brings me joy to have them around. I like to be trusted by them, I feel connected to the realm of Nature that fills me with such awe and longings.
I didn’t think I would see them today, it’s a bit stormy outside. I figured they would be nesting at home as I am. This tiny bird, nevertheless, is up early and about for her food; I see an amount of snow that is twice her size (and keeps falling in blasts) and it just hit me! What a big lesson! It doesn’t matter if she is one that feasts on, the blow whistler or the leader of her flock. It’s snowing heavily and this feathery-light weight-tiny thing is asking me to keep my commitment.
How many times do I use “difficult environments or circumstances” as excuses to avoid doing something that it’s hard, boring or just scares the hell out of me?
Going past the obvious survival instinct -the bird’s and mine- I find myself reflecting around strong motivations and bias for action.
What moves me to do something or not?
Love or Hate
I can go around or bring about things (goals, creations, interests, etc.) because I love them or because I fear the outcome if I don’t. These are the initial triggers, the motivation behind the behavior. But as we all have experienced, motivation or will- even if you got plenty of it- Is not enough! It’s easy to get sidetracked after a few weeks, or days.
I discovered that some behaviors are avoidance patterns, no matter how perfectly logical they seem to be. One of mine is the tendency to put too much on my plate. I go on looking at the areas I want to tackle (emphasis on the plural- areas- is never one thing!). I research best practices, choose what appeals to me and set an impossible schedule! The obvious reaction: resistance in the form of feeling overwhelmed.
I went for “start small”: 2 min here, 5 minutes there, after lunch, before bed. You will soon realize, that many 2 mins here and 5 mins there can amount to a couple of hours you don’t know where to get. Add to that “transitions” time, energy ebbs and flows unexpected circumstances and day-to-day activities. If I care to eat, have clothes to put on, live in a nice space; I need to go grocery shopping, do laundry, cook and clean. It gets worse if you like me exhibit traits like being a perfectionist and a neat freak! Go figure.
I should have stayed with the little bird on my window sweet image and forget about lessons!
I decided if I wanted to feel capable of sticking with something that is hard for me, I had to make it so easy, that it would be ridiculous not to do it; and if I still resisted the idea I could grudgingly and under protest still go for it.
Don’t worry about the numbers, just strive for consistency and the numbers will be there in the end. The core philosophy here is that small changes compound over time shall bring massive results.
A 1% improvement or decline -read good or bad choice- seems insignificant at the moment; their effect though, works for me or against me, shaping my identity- the “who I am, or think I am”- day-to-day.
Where to start?
Identify three actions that take no more than ten minutes a day and that, if you looked back after a year passed, might add up to huge gains. Incorporate just one of these actions into your daily routine week per week the best way you can and build up gradually rather than shocking yourself into doing them.
My little feathery consciousness! What have you done to me?
Next post! “The bird on my window part 2” Habit or Discipline? What am I Missing?
See you then….
Featured Image: Rishikesh Krishnakumar
Image 2 Credit: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff