“Any act often repeated soon forms a habit; and habit allowed, steady gains in strength. At first it may be but as a spider’s web, easily broken through, but if not resisted it soon binds us with chains of steel.” —Tryon Edwards
With a quick-fix for so many maladies in this world – obesity, debt, stress, pain, etc – the practice of going about achieving goals with a mentality of slow and steady consistency can sometimes be forgotten.
While initially, knowing that what you want won’t come with the snap of your fingers with this approach, it can be frustrating. After all, winning the lottery would be a much easier solution to financial security than stashing a couple extra hundred dollars away each month for your savings or retirement fund.
However, the reality is, winning the lottery will only occur to a lucky (or unlucky, depending upon how you view it) few. The rest of us will have to figure out another, more reliable approach.
The slow and steady plan is something that requires of the doer a clear vision. Therefore, it is imperative that each of us understands what and why we want what we want. Each person will prioritize their lives differently, have different dreams and follow a different path, but once we realize what it is we adamantly want to achieve, it is easier to resign ourselves to the reality that in order to achieve it, we must be willing to be patient, proceed with consistent effort and not lose sight of where we want to end up.
1. Building a lasting relationship
While we know who we are as an individual entering into a relationship, it takes time to truly know the character, direction and motivations of the other person we are intimately involved with. Such an important relationship is not something to be rushed, but instead something to be savored and gradually feel your way through.
2. Building a classic, yet ideal wardrobe
On a more surface level, building a classic wardrobe, takes time. While it takes time to understand just what exactly our signature style is, it also takes time to save up resources to purchase the quality items that will stand the test of time and always keep us in style and forever chic.
3. Potty training (child or puppy)
Alas, children and puppies must be taught as to how properly handle this every day need, and it is through gradual, consistent, loving-kindness and patient effort that they learn successfully.
4. Weight loss
In order to maintain the weight loss we may want, it is the permanent change to our diets that allows us to gradually lose weight and keep it off for good. Instant weight loss is almost certain to return because we haven’t established healthy eating habits that will keep the extra weight at bay.
Compound interest. Allow time to be your friend and begin saving a little each month as soon as you can. In time, you will see these efforts pay off, and potentially you too can be the self-made “millionaire next door”.
6. Training for a long distance race (marathon, triathlon, Ironman, etc)
Building your endurance takes time. Our bodies are machines that need to be nurtured, primed and cared for throughout such an arduous process. There most certainly will be rewards if a slow and steady approach is followed, but patience is a must.
7. True and lasting friendships
The most important and valued friendships I have are with people who I have know for one or more decades. These are friends that know me, have seen me evolve and grow and still want to stand beside me, and visa versa. Any lasting friendship that is worth having will take time as you see what the other person is made of and what drives them.
8. Raising well-rounded children
I am not a parent and don’t presume to know how to raise successful, happy and grounded children, but as a teacher and as a child who respects my parents, I know that it is not an easy job. It’s hard work and requires discipline on the part of the parent to be clear in their intentions, reassuring and supportive with their love, so that their child can build a healthy self-confidence with respect for others. For all of my readers who are parents, I applaud your efforts, as I know it is one of the most important jobs anyone can take on.
9. Gaining trust and loyalty with customers and clients
As a business owner, a sound business plan is to be consistent in your approach, offer a quality product that customers can depend on, and they in turn will be your best advertisers as they share what they’ve found with others. This plan requires time and doesn’t happen over night. So be sure to believe in your product, do your homework and be prepared to be patient because it will pay off.
By eating slower and savoring the food you have chosen to eat, you are most likely eating less because you are allowing your body to feel full after reducing your food intake, allowing your food to digest more properly and reducing the chances of indigestion.
11. Strength training
Including strength training in your exercise regimen is recommended by most doctors and personal trainers. If you choose to use weights in your strength training program, slowing down the actual lifting of the weights actually increasing your ability to see results more quickly.
Instead of quickly responding to someone’s question, action or behavior, by taking the time to fully rationalize the best response, you are increasing the odds that how you decide to respond won’t be a decision you regret. Often times we act before we think, but by taking the time to formulate a more coherent and rational response, we are eliminating unnecessary stress often brought on by knee-jerk reactions.
13. Realizing your full potential
With constant, conscious effort, you will figure out your true capabilities, but for most people it isn’t something that occurs as soon as the high school diploma is placed in our hands. Sometimes we have to go to college, try different career paths out to realize what doesn’t work for us before we can figure out what does. However, if you keep searching, you will find the answers.
So, have patience with yourself. Be less critical, and trust that as long as you are doing your best as you head in the direction that you are passionate about, you will eventually arrive where you’ve always dreamed to be and maybe, just maybe, you will surpass even those dreams.