Sometimes procrastination happens because the goal feels (and often is) insurmountable to accomplish in 1 step. You cannot leap from point A to point B, but you can take 10 small steps to get you from point A to point B. This is the power of small steps.
This is part 2 about procrastination. You can read part 1 here, although it is not necessary to understand part 2. But with all things, starting with why is usually your best bet. Part 1 deconstructs some of the why behind procrastination.
Sometimes procrastination happens because it feels overwhelming to have to stop and figure out how to break the goal into smaller steps. This is the power of a Sustainable Productivity (SusPro) case study!
In March of this year I completed my employee health screening for my day job. The results were poor – my blood pressure, blood sugar and weight were each at an all time high. This information about my weight made sense considering how my joints were feeling – especially my knees and hips.
This was not the result I wanted and this was not something I could continue lifelong. This was not a SusPro lifestyle.
These days you cannot swing a dead cat without hitting ads for weight loss. I have a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology and have coached enough people to know one of the least SusPro goals you can set is, “LOSE WEIGHT.” This often leads to short term, unhealthy fixes
Sure it is productive – you get the weight loss result you want. But it is not sustainable – you cannot continue it long term. Eventually the unhealthy fix catches up to you.
So I looked at what was not working – food, exercise and stress – and made a few adjustments to each.
Adjustment 1 – Eat more fruits and veggies. This alone is not a SMART goal, but applying the small, sustainable steps idea made it so.
In March I was not eating much if any fruits and vegetables. So in March my goal was 1 serving per day. I tracked this in the MyFitnessPal app. In April I upped it to 2 servings per day. May’s goal was 3 servings per day, but by then I had started my breakfast smoothie routine which gets my 5 servings per day – before I even wake up enough to remember I don’t really like fruits and vegetables!
Adjustment 2 – Move more. Same situation here – “more” is not really a SMART goal, but I started where I was and made small adjustments each week, tracking on my daily habit tracker.
I was mostly just doing my daily dog walk in March. Luckily this is the time of year where I live that the weather starts to improve. I started road biking more often (increasing by 10% longer time per week). And I got back in the hot yoga room.
Adjustment 3 – Have more fun. This one was a head scratcher for a bit. How do you quantify “fun?” How do you know when you get more of it?
I took the SusPro approach to see what was NOT working. Around this time I had a bit of a meltdown with Bixby where I was whining (perhaps shouting) about how much I hated the time we lost to the TV. I felt like a sloth every night collapsing into the couch for a couple hours with my phone and the remote.
Not productive. Not sustainable. Not fun.
But it sure was time I could count on. Different people might leave the house after dinner to conquer the world, but not us. I decided to work with where I was and use this brain suck time to boost my fun.
I started to designate a craft as TV time craft. Knitting, painting, hand sewing are my current favorites. I might be able to take that knitting project in the car on a road trip, but nope – it is my TV time craft.
So far it is working and I have lots of scarves to donate or gift.
Results and Readjustments
Although this message is more about the process of breaking goals into small steps, not telling you the result would be like a Choose Your Own Adventure Book without which page to turn to.
I had my annual physical with my doctor a few weeks ago (about 4 months after my work screening). My weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar are all down significantly. And you already know about the scarf pile from Tv time crafts. Fun increase for sure.
I talked about a few adjustments in the Summer Status Update and will be making a few more as we move into Fall. Notice these are adjustments – not just doing MORE MORE MORE or eating LESS LESS LESS. For example, as the weather turns colder, what adjustments will be made with biking. Stay tuned!
Sustainable You Questions
1. Is there an area of Health, Happiness, or Home that is not working for you right now or that feels unsustainable?
2. Where do you want to be in 4 months?
3. What small step could at least lean you in that direction?