Download 2015: Section 1 (corrected 5/19/2015)
In honor of the Chinese Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram that begins February 19, 2015, I’m dedicating the 2015 Mandala of the Year to the Goat. Each month we’ll explore a trait or symbol of the goat to explore how we can incorporate it into our own lives.
For Section 1 we look at the goat energy of slow and sure.
How wonderful for this to be our focus for this month. With the beginning of any new project, idea, or timeframe, we tend to be all fired up, ready to go, full speed ahead, move forward, get going, etc. And with that there is also a tendency to burn out soon after from trying to do too much too soon, loosing some of the momentum, joy and enthusiasm we had from when we first started.
With any type of moving forward, we experience set backs, changes in directions and other such things that may veer us away from our target, often discouraging us, and even disappointing us…making it too easy to just give up.
With all this in mind, Section 1 encourages us to take a slow and sure approach to moving forward. Take heart in the small advances that build upon each other. So that when we look back on them a year from now, we realize that we’ve made major strides in a very unassuming way.
In Darrin Hardy’s book, The Compound Effect he states:
“Since your outcomes are all a result of your moment-to-moment choices, you have incredible power to change your life by changing those choices. Step by step, day by day, your choices will shape your actions until they become habits, where practice makes them permanent.”
- WEIGHT LOSS: Instead of being overwhelmed with wanting to release all kinds of weight, focus on releasing small amounts (1, 3, 5 lbs) at a time, celebrating each one. Making drastic changes that potentially overwhelm you, make small changes, a little at time forming new habits that stick. So instead of going from a 2,000+ calorie a day food plan down to 1,200 calories, make one simple change in your eating habits each month, adding a new one on to the previous one…building on what you’ve previously done…forming new habits that stick. Rather than deprivation, reduce the portions. For example:
- reduce the number of calorie-loaded drinks by one or 2 a day
- reduce the number of sweets/empty calorie foods you normally eat in a day, by 1 or 2
- up the number of glasses of water you drink in a day by 1 or 2
- when you go to a restaurant, cut your meal down by a 1/4 (or half) and put it in a to-go box BEFORE you start eating your meal
- decide to put your fork, spoon, or food down in between bites to thoroughly chew AND ENJOY the food you’re eating
- in general, find a way that best works for you and that will be easy for you to do consistently do on a regular basis to reduce the amount of unhealthy food you normally consume while slowly and surely increasing the amount of healthy foods you consume.
- BECOMING FIT: Instead of going all out with a major exercise regime, start out with small life changes and then build on each one. For example:
- Instead of training for a marathon after living a sedentary life for the last few years, start by walking around the block or up and down the street. Then gradually add more distance and speed as you build up your endurance and strength.
- start with 1 lb weights and fewer reps, gradually building up the weights/reps over time.
- instead doing all resistance training 2 days a week for 30-45 minutes at a time, work on one body a day for 5-10 minutes (ie: arms on mondays, thighs on tuesdays, abs on wednesdays, back on thursdays, hips on fridays, planks on saturday, ankles/calves on sundays. This way you build up a short daily (and doable) routine that becomes a healthy habit. You’ll be amazed over time how strong you become following this approach. Check out Jorge Cruise’s book for his method of doing this very idea: 8 Minutes in the Morning
- MEDITATING: Instead of starting to meditate for 30 minutes a day, start slowly and build on successfully doing it for longer periods of time. Better to truly quiet the mind for 5 minutes than to TRY to do it for 30 minutes, only to feel frustrated in the end.
- So for example, the first week in January start by meditating for 1 minute a day…really focusing for that 1 minute to quiet the mind and focus on your breathing. As the weeks/months go by add another minute or two. By the end of the year you’ll have successfully worked up to 20+ minutes a day, reaping the rewards of really meditating.
- READING BOOKS: So you have a pile of books you’d love to read and you keep saying one of these days I’ll get to them. Or you start to read one, only to jump to another one, being left in the end with a pile of books still waiting to be read.
- Instead pick three or four books you truly want to read for the year, then allow yourself time to read them…a little at a time…maybe 5-10 minutes a day. With three books, for example, that gives you four months to read each book, enjoying each one, and absorbing all the insights they have to offer. And if they are self-improvement type books, it also gives you time to put into practice what you have read.
SLOW & SURE
Breaking down our goals into small, doable steps offers us greater opportunities for success, creating new, powerful habits that help us to move forward, slow and sure.
“Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE” ― Darren Hardy
Ponder this while coloring this month’s section of the 2015 Mandala of the Year.
The Mandala lady
Be sure to download/color the January 2015 Mandala of the Month.