Everyone I talk to lately seems to be feeling really stressed and overwhelmed. Summer is a sneaky ninja in that it gives off this vibe of being super cool and mellow, but – BAM! – it judo chops you right in the stress balls. Planning parties, organizing kids’ summer camp agendas, yard work, orchestrating vacations, recovering from vacations…it seems all fun and games, but there’s a whack load of planning and prep work that goes behind it. I don’t even have kids and I’m feeling the heat from summer – and I’m not talking about the weather. I have company coming to celebrate the publication of my book and I’m busy worrying that the tomato plants aren’t in yet.
Earlier this week I was in the grocery store and in the midst of selecting a quart of fresh, local strawberries a woman proclaims, “I can’t believe we’re almost half way through the year!” Half way? I almost dropped my berries. Half way? But there were so many things I wanted to do this year like write another book, train for a half-marathon, lose at least another 15-foot canoe’s worth of weight (40 pounds, if you must know), and maybe…just maybe…have a prize-winning veggie garden that would make Martha Stewart kale green with envy. How the hell was I supposed to get all this done with only half the year left?
And then I remembered something someone shared with me. A little tool to help me get focused on my goals and stay on track.
What if I shared this little tool with you to help you achieve whatever your goals are for the rest of the year? What if this something could help you survive the stress of summer? What if it could help you achieve those long-forgotten New Years’ resolutions? Remember those? Yeah. Those “get organized, wear a bikini, stop smoking, run a marathon for charity, be nicer to your in-laws” resolutions.
So if I could give you a little something to help you achieve those big goals with less stress, would you want to know what it is? Yeah? Are you sure?
Okay, here it is. When you’re feeling like you’re not meeting your goals for the day, or the week, or even the year, ask yourself this:
“What can I do in the next three minutes that will help get me closer to my goal?”
That’s it. That’s all it is.
I want to lose weight. What can I do in the next three minutes that will help me get closer to my goal?
Can I make a grocery list of healthy, whole foods? Yes, I can.
Can I pour myself a glass of water or green tea? I can do that.
I’m flopped on the couch watching TV. Can I get up and do some movement for the next three minutes like squats or wall push-ups or something? Yep.
See? Easy peasy.
After the three minutes are over, re-evaluate. Can you keep going and move on to the next step? Maybe prepare some food for tomorrow so you’re not finding yourself at the drive-thru ordering up a Big Honkin’ Combo of saturated fats and sugar?
That’s all it is. Three minutes to get you back on the right path toward your goals. Just three minutes. Not the whole marathon. Just baby steps.
You know, “baby steps” (I hated that movie, by the way…).
All it takes is that one simple question to refocus and before you know it you’ll be well on your way to weeding your garden without ever feeling it was overwhelming. You might even end up whistling while you work!
Here’s the question again, just in case you missed it. Write it down, repeat it out loud, bookmark this page, tell your cat – whatever you have to do to remember it.
“What can I do in the next three minutes that will help me to get closer to my goal?”
For me that goal was this blog post. I’m not feeling the greatest and all I wanted to do was go to bed and told myself I’d write this post on Sunday. So I asked myself the question, ” what can I do in the next three minutes to help me get closer to finishing this blog post?” I told myself I’d get the document open and jot some ideas down so I wouldn’t forget them. Just for three minutes. Then I’d shut the computer down and go to bed.
That was close to an hour ago.
I got the post done and lived to tell you about it.
Give it a try and drop me a line to let me know how it worked (or didn’t).