What will you do to be courageous in 2017?
What goals will you set?
Whatever your plans are for 2017, practice this simple mantra to keep the juices flowing: Progress, not perfection. Small steps every day can have a profound effect on your life in the longer term.
Set up healthy habits
Every day brings a new opportunity for you to take a deep breath, step out and take some action. It doesn’t matter what that is, as long as you are consistent with it. For example, this month I’m challenging myself with #MintyJanuary. Every day, I’m posting an image that contains the colour mint green. If I can't find it, I’ll make it. But it’s giving me the opportunity to reach out to friends to share this experience with. People are sending me minty green images so I’m feeling a sense of collaboration. I’m also sharing images from others who are minty. But its just a small enough push each day for me to stretch outside my comfort zone just a little bit and find the minty-ness everywhere.
I love this quote by Oprah because it's a great reminder that each day is new and anything is possible. If I can make the smallest progress towards expanding what is possible, my path will be a joyous and successful one. We are often so stuck in making things perfect before we release it into the world, that we never get it out there. This year, try to release that limiting belief and get something out there. Create something. Release it to the world and take that step forward to the next thing.
My first 'progress not perfection' moment
I often speak about a little project that I created in 2014, a year in the life of Miss Tilly. I took a photo of my little girl every day from her 1st birthday to her 2nd -- 366 photos! The main point of this exercise was to help me through my post natal depression and to find a creative way to progress through it. You can view my post on it and see all the photos if you follow me @BeatnikLou on Instagram. What started as a daily ritual that took 10-20 minutes ended up as a large collection of images that I will treasure forever. It captured a moment in time that my little girl can treasure and this little tiny bit of progress started a wave of creativity that has not stopped. It even inspired others to do their own daily project, which is an even greater gift to share.
Start small, but start now
Whatever it is that you want to accomplish this year, whether its losing weight, stopping smoking, getting a new job, going back to school, learning yoga, meditating or eating right, start with some small progress each day. Some days you will fail, other days you will succeed, but progress and practice allow you to set yourself up to win everyday and it will create healthy habits that are long-lasting.
Try these simple ways to practice progress over perfection
- 30-day challenge - This can be as simple as posting something everyday based on a theme, or it may be something more challenging like daily exercise or meditation.
- Weekly wins list - Making a list each week of things you have accomplished not only gives you a great sense of achievement, but also allows you to look back and see all of the progress you've made. Make sure you list even the smallest of accomplishments. Those are generally the things we forget about, but have the most impact over the longer term.
- Monthly progress list - Once you've created your weekly lists, go back and look at each month and list the highlights. Then quarterly and yearly, you’ll see the great accomplishments you have made towards your goals.
Remember, you have a new opportunity every single day to make progress and create the life that you want to live. Small steps every day can have a profound effect on your life in the longer term, so start taking some small action now!
If you have great ways of practicing progress over perfection, I’d love to hear from you. Please post your ideas in the comments below.