By Gavin Buehler
I first wrote and published this post a few years ago now, but we have it in our waiting area binder at our clinic, and it's received more than a few comments. So I figured we'd repost it here for all audiences. Thank you for all of the great feedback!
In making a change that is permanent it’s important to appreciate the small changes that accumulate. Hitting a home run is always nice, but most games are won by the successive accumulation of base hits. A strategy to keep in mind is to ask yourself what is just a little bit better or a little bit worse than what I’m currently doing now. In other words, how can you get on base? An example might be taking an elevator to go up 1 or 2 stories at your condo or work versus taking the stairs to add more movement into your day. Many people will hear this advice and feel that they need to immediately start taking the stairs every day. If they miss a day, they feel that they’ve failed, which leads to discouragement and giving up just as fast as you started. This is an all or nothing mindset that nine times out of ten leads back to where you started. A shift in perspective needs to happen where you can appreciate the success of making it up the stairs for 4 of those 5 days. In truth, if you make it up those stairs only once during that week, that’s a BIG win because it’s better than what you were doing previously. You got on base! This shift in mentality can keep you driven and accumulating the habits required to lead you to your desired outcome. If you keep getting base hits, you're going to start bringing runners home and scoring.
You’re not going to reach your big picture goal overnight or even in a couple of months, so throw those expectations out the window and appreciate and celebrate the small gains achieved over time. You’re sculpting a masterpiece out of stone. You won’t see even hints of the final product after only a few chiseled pieces. It takes hard work, time, patience and the accumulation of many chiseled pieces slowly being removed to shape your work of art. While some days it may not seem like you’re making a lot of progress, as long as you’re still chipping away changes are occurring. Sometimes you might need to take a few steps back and change your viewpoint to realize how far you have come. It’s not as easy as working with Play-Doh, but a stone sculpture will last.
Change that sticks comes best from within. A teacher or coach might be able to plant a seed, give you some suggestions on where to start and provide guidance to streamline the process and keep you moving forward, but the solutions that stick best are the ones that come from within when you make the discoveries for yourself. To make those discoveries you have to put in the time and effort.