A Little Bit Goes A Long Way
By: Allison Kugel
There is a Tony Robbins phrase that stays with me, which goes as follows: “People tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, and they tend to underestimate what can be accomplished in a decade.”
I love that phrase and think of it often. To bring it out to a wider perspective, I interpret it to mean that human nature tends to box us in to thinking that when it comes to meeting a goal or aspiration, we must take an “all or nothing” approach. It simply isn’t true. Another old saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” is one of the most brilliant lines ever spoken (it originated from an old Chinese proverb, which was translated into English).
I was just speaking with a co-worker about the holidays. As we were discussing the copious amounts of food many of us tend to consume during the holiday season and how gym memberships are often initiated in January and not followed through with, I jokingly told her about my “Lazy Girl Workout.”
I explained that during the winter months when it is not as easy to take my long hikes outdoors or to play outdoor sports, I do tend to be more sedentary. I also have a larger appetite in the winter. However, I never pass up a moment to squeeze in some form of physical activity, even when I am doing something like watching a movie or catching up on Netflix. I call it my “Lazy Girl Workout.” Sounds funny, right?
Most days, as I am laying on the floor or in bed doing my “Netflix and Chill” thing, I take the opportunity to do my leg lifts in repetition for about half an hour. It gives my legs a nice, low impact workout. I will also do my abdominal isometrics and some arm circles while I’m at it. No, it’s not quite as robust as 45 minutes on a treadmill or an hour of lifting weights, but if you compare doing nothing to doing something, I am ahead of the game.
Human beings will often set up losing propositions for themselves by saying, “Well, if I can’t do the very best thing, then why bother at all?” They fail to see the immense value in a whole lot of consistent small steps.
Last year, I was having a moment when I was feeling very overwhelmed. There were a lot of challenges going on in my life in a rather short period of time. My father said to me, “By the yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” As simple as it sounds, that phrase absolutely changed my perspective. If you can only manage your life and your goals inch by inch right now, then do that. If you can manage your life by the yard, then do that. Either way, do something.
To go back to my original conversation with my co-worker, before long, I had her brainstorming the small exercises she could do while in her office (push-ups against the file cabinet) or in her car (hello glute and ab isometrics!). Whatever your goal, be it fitness, career, family and so forth; do consistent small things each day, each week, each month, each year. One day you will look behind you and be amazed at how far you’ve come.