You will never change your life until you change something you do daily
In December of 2012, I read The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell, twice. This book changed my life over the next year. 2013 was and incredible year of change, growth, new experiences, stretching opportunities, risk-taking and success for me. I read the book again a year later and was astounded at how well I had incorporated Maxwell's advice into my daily living. I didn't realize how many of his ideas stuck with me throughout the year until I re-read his words and drew the parallels. Although I know I am definitely still a work in progress, I am proud of how much I accomplished in 2013.
Wise people like John Maxwell know that, "You will never change your life until you change something you do daily," and, "The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda." As humans, we tend to get discouraged if we don't get immediate gratification from our early efforts to make changes and so we give up. We have to be more patient and realize that positive and lasting change takes time and continued effort every day.
Probably the best illustration from 2013 that I can give you about the changes in my daily agenda is how I lost about 20 pounds. I had been walking one mile per day for all of 2012 and decided on January 1, 2013 that I needed to step it up if I wanted to experience some weight loss. For the month of January, I walked one morning and then ran/walked the next morning and I built up my running time. In February, I started going to the gym to lift weights. And so, one morning I would wake up early and walk/run and the next morning I would go to the gym. This was hard for me because I was never athletic and I was definitely not a runner. The mornings were cold and dark and I dressed up warmly and went anyway.
Would you believe that by March 16th (only 75 days after I started) that I participated in my first 5K race in Seneca, SC? I even won 1st prize in my age/sex division! (That's not really saying much given the number of participants, but I was proud of myself for doing it.) In the summer months, I got up even earlier to try to get ahead of the southern heat and humidity in Upstate, South Carolina.
Another small thing I changed in my daily routine was to drink nothing but water with my meals. This was to cut out the carbonated beverages I enjoyed so well.
I followed this schedule every day for eight months and ended up losing 20 pounds. Small changes and continued effort is how I did it. Although it wasn't easy, it certainly was simple. I changed something I did daily and it changed my life!
I still walk. I still run. And in January 2014, I started taking CrossFit. When I looked at my exercise schedule at the end of January, I was feeling guilty for only walking a couple of miles a day because I was sick or because of really wet weather. When I added up what I had done however, I realized I had walked over 20 miles, run 19.4 miles, did one hour of P90-X yoga and went to CrossFit eleven times in one month. That has to have a positive effect on my body and my health! If I had become discouraged, I might not have done anything at all. But look at everything I did do!
In summary, you should make attainable goals, write down the steps necessary to achieve these goals, and then follow through. It helps to have an accountability partner and to keep positive words of encouragement posted around your environment (Pinterest is great for this!)
Look out 2014! If I can do it, you can too.