Baby Steps

After four decades of being an all-or-nothing person and frequently ending up on the nothing side of the equation, I’m beginning to think it’s time to re-evaluate.

I’ve always been enamored with the grand gesture: romantic weekend getaways, well-planned dinner parties, a six-hour block of writing time, a diet healthy enough to put the Bundchen-Brady household to shame. Unfortunately, when the stars don’t align to facilitate a grand gesture (which they never really do), plans are abandoned instead of simply readjusted. I’m learning that sometimes I need to ditch the idea of spectacular and embrace good enough.

With that in mind, I’m allowing myself one more grand gesture at the start of 2018, which is to dramatically declare this the year of… baby steps.

This means I’ll do whatever I can with whatever I’ve got. Instead of wishing for a kid-free weekend with my husband that probably won’t fit on the calendar until April (of 2024), I’m going to look for daily pockets of time for what relationship experts have dubbed the “micro-date.” Similarly, squeezing in 30 minutes of writing every day will eventually add up to more pages than holding out for the occasional large uninterrupted block of time. Starting paperwork to renew my passport gets me one small step closer to that trip to Europe I’ve been talking about for years.

Like most things in life, it seems the key to taking baby steps comes down to mindfulness. I need to be paying attention in order to find opportunities to squeeze in a baby step. If I half-heartedly fill downtime by absentmindedly scrolling through my phone, I’m missing several opportunities a day to inch forward towards a goal.

I realize that none of this is revolutionary, but it’s not supposed to be. I’ve tried revolutions. They fizzle out pretty quickly. At a time of year when the world is telling us to sprint towards self-improvement, I’m pulling back, channeling the tortoise instead of the hare, and taking one small step. Happy New Year, friends.