We are one day closer to the new year, and as we near the day when people resolve to do all sorts of things differently starting 17 days from now, I want to remind you of something.
Resolutions are bullshit.
Very few people stick with the resolutions they make.
You see this if you go to a gym regularly now.
In seventeen days, the gym will be packed.
But by February first, just about all those people who came out of the woodwork intent on completely transforming their lives will have already disappeared until the following January first, when they resolve to get in shape or lose weight or both, again.
The problem with resolutions is that they are, for the most part, too big and sweeping.
And as soon as we fall short, which usually happens around the beginning of the second week — if we even make it that far — is that we fail.
And then we give up.
If you want to make changes in your life, forget the resolutions.
Instead, focus on habits.
Very small habits.
Habits that get you going in the direction you want your life to be headed.
The problem here is that none of us are patient anymore.
We want to see changes immediately.
We want drastic weight loss and fitness and organization and behavior changes from our children on like January 2nd.
In this age of Google and Drive Throughs and Same Day Delivery and Prime and Netflix instant streaming, we want to wait for nothing.
But habits take discipline and consistency and perseverance.
That’s why they need to be small.
Because most of us can manage something really small on a daily basis.
It’s why I ask all my online course members to start with a one minute habit.
Some people are like what the hell difference is one minute gonna make???
I can tell you it makes a huge difference when you do it every day.
And I just want to share this personal one-minute victory I am having.
It’s no secret that I love to run.
I’m not very fast, but I love it.
I love the challenge, and I have experienced the proverbial runner’s high on several occasions.
In fact, just the other day when I ran an unexpected twelve miles, I experienced a high that lasted for hours.
Better than any drug I ever did (and I’ve done a few) and better than any buzz I ever got after a glass or five of wine.
You might find that hard to believe, and trust me, I woulda been right there with you a couple years (or even weeks) ago.
I NEVER imagined I’d say that.
And I can’t come anywhere near accurately explaining the feeling.
It was an emotional and physical combination of almost euphoria that actually kept me from sleeping that night.
I was completely taken by surprise by it.
Anyway, if I loved running a week ago, now I’m having a full blown affair with it.
Back to my point.
I really enjoy running.
And about a year and a half ago I developed an injury in my right glute. My butt cheek.
I could feel the muscle tighten up as I was nearing the end of a run, and it spasmed into something that was borderline excruciating at times.
And I could not get rid of it.
It got so bad that I had pain shooting down the back of my leg almost all the way to my ankle.
When I drove it was excruciating.
And so I stopped running.
I did all sorts of research online, and I finally determined that it was a piriformis issue.
Your piriformis muscle is a muscle deep in your butt cheek. And if it spasms, it can affect your sciatic nerve, which I determined was what had happened to me.
I stopped running for more than six months, and the literal pain in my ass subsided, but it still lingered.
I’d try to start running again, and it would come back almost immediately.
Eventually I went to an orthopedist who took x-rays and then sent me for an MRI and then told me it was coming from my back.
It wasn’t coming from my back.
It was coming from my ass, but this doctor was not hearing it. He was not listening to me. At all.
He recommended cortisone shots.
He said I’d have immediate relief if the pain was coming from my back.
I knew he was wrong, but I went for the cortisone shot anyway.
As the shot was being administered, the doctor told me I should feel results in less than ten minutes.
I felt nothing.
Frustrated, I didn’t go back to the doctor.
I decided I’d just live with the pain, because I had gained at least fifteen pounds by this point, and I really just wanted to get back to running.
So I started running at the end of this past spring.
I ran on and off throughout the summer, but I was kind of inconsistent until the end of August because I had registered for the Hartford Marathon in October.
And then when I asked all the participants in my Make Exercise A Habit program to think about a one minute habit they could commit to, I committed to one minute of stretching a day.
I was going to do one minute of downward dog every day, and especially after every run.
As soon as I started stretching, I became more aware of my body.
And I noticed that my right calf muscle was extremely tight. Much tighter than my left calf muscle.
That was also the same side of my body with the piriformis issue.
Just about every day I have stretched for one minute.
I’ve missed a couple days since the beginning of September.
But on other days one minute has turned into two or five or ten minutes.
Then this December I issued myself a running challenge:
Run a total of 100 miles in December.
As of today, the 15th, I’ve run 49.10 miles.
That’s more miles than I’ve run in a long, long time.
In fact, so far in December I have run 13 out of 15 days, which is more (mostly) consecutive days of running than I’ve ever done in my life.
And you know what?
My pain in the ass is almost gone.
And that is from a commitment to stretch for one minute a day.
If you think one minute a day won’t get you anywhere, you are wrong.
It won’t get you anywhere in a couple days.
But keep doing something for a couple months, and then you will see progress.
And the progress you make will begin to snowball into other things.
Like the best high — aside from the birth of my kids — that I’ve ever experienced in my life after that twelve mile run just a couple days ago.
Instead of thinking about doing a major overhaul on any area of your life, start smaller.
What change can you commit to for one minute every day for the rest of your life?
Because that’s all it takes to get you moving in bigger and better direction.
What’s your one minute going to be?