So, you’ve been meaning to redo, rethink, rediscover, reorganise, declutter, destress…etcetera. But the sheer number of things you need to start or stop doing is so long that you’re tempted to give up before you begin.
Tell you what: ponder that cliché about a journey of a lifetime beginning with a single step. Or the one featuring tiny drops making up an ocean. You get the idea.
Methinks this step-by-baby-step approach to self-repair works great, because in these times of one-thing-after-another-all-the-time, doing just one simple thing which takes up only a few minutes of your day is refreshingly easy, and actually doable.
The beauty of it: you don’t need fancy equipment to begin. A pen/pencil/piece of chalk and a clean whiteboard, blackboard, pin-up board or heck, any kind of surface that you can scribble on (lipstick on your mirror? Super!)—as long as you keep it in sight as you sail in and out of your rooms or cubicle or wherever else you’re spensing your day.
On this blank surface, pen down one, just one thing that you are going to do today. Or for that matter, not do. Essentially, it’s a to-do list with just one to-do on it. (Of course we’re excluding the regular boring stuff like payment of bills and appointments with dentists and such). For Pete’s sake, we’re talking self-makeover here, no less. Sample commandments on your list could be:
Zero oil day.
Your fat-fatigued arteries and grease-blunt taste-buds will thank you for it.
Will not criticise anyone today.
Benefit: you’ll resist generating negative energy, and save someone from feeling hurt. The very first principle of Dale Carnegie’s wonderful book How to Win Friends And Influence People is, ‘Don’t criticise, condemn or complain.’ You might not be able to resist doing these things on a daily basis, but surely, you can stay away from them just for today?!
Move all day, as much as possible
Take a flight of steps, bend, stretch, keep taking regular computer breaks, do a few sit-ups, jog on the spot while watching your favourite TV show…today is going to be constant-movement day.
Spend 15 minutes doing the crossword or Sudoku or solving a puzzle or whatever it takes to give the little grey cells an energising little workout.
Numerous studies have shown that these simple and fun activities can improve memory, improve concentration and keeps the mind young.
Write 1000 words/first chapter of your novel.
As Stephen King said, ‘Talent is cheaper than table salt.’ So, if you really want to become a writer, you must write. Today could turn out to be the breakout day!
Help three people today in some way.
Doing a good deed will keep you on a ‘helper’s high’ through the next 12 hours, releasing those wonderful happy hormones, whose influence will carry through to the next day and beyond.
On the face of it, these are simple resolutions, but remember: each one of them has the potential to become a lifelong habit that could change or empower you for the rest of the life. You might find yourself hooked to Sudoku or inspired enough to finally write out that dream novel that’s been stirring inside you for as long as you can remember. In reply to one of those pending emails that you tackled today, a touching letter or some good news or an old friend might just pop up into your mailbox—or your life! The possibilities are endless, and exciting. All it really takes is a single step, every single day.
But right now, do whatever you have put on your list without worrying about whether you are going to follow it tomorrow or the day after or ever again. The idea is today: and today is the first day of the rest of your life.
A great side benefit: doing something for yourself today, however small or basic, will help you feel better about yourself. The very thought of taking some kind of positive action can make all the difference between a ho-hum day and one that has you humming.
Meet the Writer: Babita Raikwar is a freelance writer. She believes in love, magic and babies.