Doing four sun salutations a day and writing a page-a-day have reinforced the idea that small efforts can lead to big changes. In January when I stepped onto my yoga mat, I could not touch the floor without bending my knees. I have long legs and my hamstrings have been tight my entire life—even in the years that I danced ballet, tap and jazz three days a week. I had nearly given up on the possibility of touching my toes. But with this small, consistent daily practice, touching my toes became a reality—after about three months. The yoga practice gave me a context for concentrating on the effort rather than the outcome and slowly over time, I began to see results. I have embraced the tortoise's motto “slowly and steady wins the race” because my forward bends are proof that it works.
In my fortieth year, I have come to understand I am hard-wired to be easily overwhelmed. It is an attribute that is likely to not be completely worked out, but the daily practices of yoga and writing have taught that the overwhelm can be tempered and managed. If I had set out to write a book, and seen it as one giant volume to be produced, I would have surely quit. But by approaching the project by writing a page a day, and with consistent effort, those individual pages turned into a 212-page document.
In two months' time, I wrote 20,000 words. Words and pages piled up. I didn't get overwhelmed. I kept my sights on the short goal rather than the big daunting one.
Breaking big goals down into smaller goals has proven highly effective for me. I like setting myself up for success.
I've thought a lot about where I was a year ago. The only regular writing I was doing was in my journal. I was filling in the blanks of my 40/40 list that would begin in January 2015, and had added the write31days challenge to the list. Last October, writing for 31 days in a row was a stretch, a true challenge. Two months later, a daily writing habit developed, and a year later I have written a book-length document.
I can't begin to imagine where a page-a-day and four sun salutations will propel me in another year. What about five years? I'm not spending much time contemplating it lest I get overwhelmed. I'm sticking with the present and letting the future and its surprises greet me as they will.