What if our successes are not based on our big, bold, actions?
Instead... what if its a culmination of all the small moves, the minute adjustments, the tiny habits, the subtle shifts in perception that ultimately hold the key to our true successes?
I was brought up by a single mom who was fiercely independent. I mean, who else decides to be a horse rancher, in the middle of Colorado surrounded by National Forest and BLM land, and be a single mom at the same time? Homesteading may sound romantic, but try carrying your own water in pails from the creek for a few weeks because the well pump went on the fritz! Out of this upbringing, I always knew that if I set my mind to something, I could achieve it. Which meant that I took risks, bold steps, large actions in my life to achieve my goals.
Lately however, I'm coming to realize that it's not necessarily the intentional, obvious actions that lead to our successes, but rather it's the subtle small moves that have a huge effect. I have been taking dressage lessons and I have to be honest I feel like I am in Jedi Knight training without a clue as to how to "feel the horse" let alone use the Force! But one exercise stuck out in my mind which was learning how to shift my horse's weight from a hip to a shoulder while moving and without throwing her off balance. At first, my inputs were too strong, and I we trotted awkwardly in an unintentional zig zag down the arena, but then I learned how to make the slightest input to shift the weight and have the greatest effect. Straight lines, balanced curves, it all came together!
So what about in life? Where else are these small moves important? Without a doubt, my health has had the greatest improvements from making small changes. Sure, when I was first diagnosed I made a series of drastic changes to my diet, lifestyle and fitness programs which lead to improvements in symptoms and finally feeling better. But, AutoImmune disease is a trickster. You can be rolling along with what works and then suddenly what works doesn't work anymore. So now what? I've realized that my body can respond to much smaller inputs, just like my horse, which have even larger effects on my overall health and wellbeing. Getting 8 hours instead of 7.5 hours of sleep, for example, made a huge difference in my energy levels throughout the day. Spending a minimum of 30 minutes outside each day (sometimes much more) not only helped increase my overall Vitamin D levels, but boosted my mood and helped me feel more calm. Even finding a few moments here or there to be quiet and focus on my breath has made large reductions in my stress level.
But not just health, I also see similar results from other areas of life. Scheduling specific times to process email, for example, has allowed me to be less distracted and more productive during the work day. Focusing on monotasking instead of multi-tasking has had similar results in productivity. Writing real letters that get sent in the post rather than messaging someone on Facebook or in email has profound impact on relationships.
All of these examples lead me to believe that our successes can come just as easily from the small moves as the large ones! So where do you see that small changes have largest impacts?