Baby steps

When has a giant leap proved sustainable? In anything?

We know we only achieve things in small steps, so why do so many of us leave things to build up before we try to fix it all in one go?

I make a point of doing my washing up as I cook, and straight after I eat, so I never let it build up. And I have learnt (the hard way) to do my laundry weekly, when I have time, whether or not I still have a few items I can wear in the next few days – because you can bet I will run out of clothes on that day when I get home late and have not a shred of time. And we all know how I feel about eating small amount of treats on a more-frequentthan-average basis.

So why do I still feel unfulfilled if I leave the gym able to walk down the stairs without clutching the handrail like a toddler taking her first steps? And why, although I knew the gift-giving season was fast approaching, have I left it until I was having mild spells of sheer panic on a daily basis before I got myself out to do some shopping? Why, after weeks of frantically studying every day for my personal training exam, can I not remember the last time I actually read a full article about something that interests me?

Luckily, I know how I work. I know what makes me tick. And as if I wasn’t catlike enough, if I were to single out the one thing I cannot function without is routine.

So I have a new proposal. Something to keep me on the right track. Something to stop me stagnating until I realise that I have eaten the same thing, washed my hair on the same days, slept badly on the same nights, walked down the same aisles in the same shops, and made the same excuses for weeks. Am I the only one who gets that feeling?

From now on, every week I will report back with:

  • 1 new fact I have learnt about health, fitness, or nutrition
  • 1 new food I have tried, dish I have made, or dish I have tasted
  • 1 other miscellaneous interesting fact or experience from the week

My problem is I go for ages without being interested in anything, with no other desire than to get through a training session before getting into bed with a tub of peanut butter and re-runs on BBC iPlayer. Then all of a sudden I go on a knowledge-binge, all I want to hear about is things to do with sports or nutrition. And so on. It becomes a matter of putting a tick in a box.

I love Christina’s blog because it’s all about the little things in life. At the moment it is my favourite blog, but the problem is I stumbled upon it when I was in an all-go no-think phase and all her lovely talk about all things festive, plus Angela’s inspiring and beautiful posts about homemade food gifts, and Mitsu’s regular tweets about various delicious meals and snacks, made me suddenly realise how much I had neglected. I had accumulated so many treats from my birthday and last month’s  UK Vegan Food Swap that I was merely going through them and even starting to hoard as I started to get to the bottom of them. I was buying things for the sheer practicality of finding them at bargain prices. I was browsing online shops with no intention of buying anything. I was putting programmes on iPlayer just for background noise while I did other things.

Luckily, thanks to the above-mentioned inspiring life-loving vegans, I have snapped out of it. I did my first batch of Christmas shopping today and saw how much there is out there for the people I love. I remembered that although I want to buy them everything I see, and want to get them the most singularly perfect present I can, they will appreciate any of the little things I pick them up. As I picked up treats for this month’s UK Vegan Food Swap I realised I hadn’t actually gotten myself any new exciting foods in a little while – and while it’s lovely to get them off other people and I definitely don’t want for anything, it’s an important ritual to buy them for yourself. And after Ben told me an interesting little fact after a surprisingly good bout on the cross-trainer, I remembered how good it feels to learn something new.

So that is my self-motivating speech for the day. Hopefully it will inspire you to do something that will make your life a little bit more meaningful in these times where we are all rushing to meet deadlines before breaking up for holidays, or where we are prematurely worrying about holiday weight gain. That is, if you can find it in yourself to accept advice from the girl who has eaten four fajitas and a pear-apple-raspberry phyllo pastry parcel with raspberry coulis and soy whipped cream… then finished it all by licking the bowl. It’s the little things in life that count.

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