Find whatever works for you and keep doing it. But be warned: it’s not as easy as it seems. In the beginning you are likely to see short-term results which will motivate you to continue. However, it’s when your progress curve levels out, or when you are close to your goal, that the hard work starts, because that’s the point when you need to be disciplined. That’s the point when you need to remind yourself how you got there and carry on doing whatever you’ve been doing.
Regardless of our goal – whether it be a level of fitness, a more peaceful life, keeping on top of our filing at home, or being more effective at work – as we approach it, we begin to lose sight of how we got there. We relax and let go of the routines and discipline which made it all possible. It’s like this:
Imagine you are travelling on foot and tied to a long piece of elastic. In the beginning, you’re just walking; there is no resistance from the elastic. As you get closer to your destination the elastic begins to work against you. You are having to work harder with each step. Eventually, you arrive but are still tied to the elastic and need to work just as hard to remain where you are. Over time the elastic weakens and you can stroll around your new location with ease.
It’s about more than just arriving at a destination. Life demands that we continue to strive. Just as our bodies are forever toiling to resist nature’s preference for stasis, equilibrium and demise, so it is that we are required to work continuously to establish and maintain our health, our happiness… and our filing.
The feeling of well being I have after my morning exercises is because I exercised. Even if I do them for ten days in a row, on the eleventh day I will only have that same feeling of satisfaction and achievement if I do my exercises. Sure, I can look back at the previous ten days and feel pleased with myself, but that is unlikely to last much beyond the twelfth day. The only way to ensure I feel good every day is to exercise every day. (Even that is no guarantee, of course, but I give myself the best start when I exercise each morning.)
Generally, what got you there, will also keep you there. And the best chance you have of success is to make whatever works into a routine, like brushing your teeth. Routines mean you do not have to waste time or energy with internal dialogues of debate and decision. There is no agonising every morning about cleaning your teeth. You simply get on with it. You do it because you have to; and it’s easy because you’ve been doing it your entire life. You don’t even think about it. Similarly, give yourself no choice but to carry on doing whatever works to make you better, stronger, happier, healthier, more effective, more understanding, more beautiful, more human.