Make little changes, the big ones get easier
While some people make New Year’s Resolutions, I enjoy making a new vision board every year. Since they are meant to serve as a visual reminder and source of inspiration, my vision board usually consists of random magazine photos and pictures depicting people engaged in activities that represent my goals for the year. I especially love the excuse to spend a happy afternoon with my scissors, glue, and lots of motivational stickers. Although I enjoy the crafting aspect, unfortunately most of my lofty aspirations are not met by the time the next year rolls around.
This year my vision board is a little different. After having read the amazing 2018 book Atomic Habits, by James Clear (Penguin Random House) I finally realized that all the motivation in the world isn’t going to result in fame and fortune; it’s probably not even going to result in that clean and organized hallway closet I always wanted, or successfully completing a half-marathon. Whereas motivation and self-discipline might get you out of bed and to the gym for the first week or so, for most people it isn’t sustainable. In Atomic Habits, Clear argues that the best way to reach long-term goals is through the process of making small (a.k.a. “atomic”) improvements every day by building a system of healthy habits. He argues that until an activity has truly become a well-formed habit, it is important to make it easy (for example, putting out exercise clothes the night before), make it rewarding (treat yourself to a fruit smoothie afterward), and most important of all be sure to “habit stack”, or link the new activity with one you already do (such as walking the dog in the morning).
So this year my vision board doesn’t have photos of things like million-dollar lakefront cabins or trophies and awards. Instead, my vision board reflects the habits that I would like to acquire this year, such as daily stretching/yoga, meditation and journaling. There’s pictures of treadmills and people jogging in all types of weather. There’s photos of fruit, vegetables and other healthy food. I even have pictures of well-organized closets and clean kitchen counters. When I look at my vision board now, I feel good about the small improvements that I’m making every day instead of feeling overwhelmed that I’ll never reach my goals.
At last – a vision board that truly inspires!
Windsor Park community correspondent
Heather Innis is a community correspondent for Windsor Park.