First comes the relief. Then, as the emotional fog begins to lift and calmness descends, there is clarity. With the clarity comes a renewed sense of purpose, and in the background – feint but nevertheless present – the possibility of success. That’s what happens whenever you give yourself sufficient time and space to achieve whatever it is you want to work on. Two years is usually a good place to start.
I experienced it myself back in 2001. It was a few weeks after my back operation and I was frustrated with the slow progress I was making. I also had doubts about whether I would make a full recovery. Karaj was firm with me at the time, telling me to stop complicating things, get a calendar, and cross each day off for the next two years. (See ‘What Do I Have To Offer?’) It worked. The time frame calmed me down, and the calendar provided a simple way for me to plan my recovery.
The advantages are not confined to relief, clarity and a regaining of focus. The real power emerges when you do something with each day of those two years; the beauty being that we don’t actually have to do much at all. In fact, there is no point in over-stretching yourself at any stage because excessive effort quickly becomes demotivating if it has to be repeated. A little and often, that’s the key. Step by step. Day by day. (See also ‘300 Days‘)
If you’re in any doubt about what can be accomplished in such a relatively short time, look at how much a newborn baby achieves in its first 24 months. It learns to walk, talk, and co-ordinate its movements; gaining an ever-increasing awareness of itself and its environment. Okay, you can argue that a baby has nothing else to do but learn, and can spend its entire time practising, but those same arguments apply to everyone: we are always learning, and every second is a chance to hone our awareness.
To help you on your way, make a note of your starting point. Record where you are now. Whether you use statistics or a brief summary of where you are in your life, it will become ever more useful as you progress. (See these two examples for evidence of what I mean: ‘Where Am I?’ and, 11 years later, ‘Measurable Results’.)
As for your progress, maintain a simple tick chart and mark every day when you succeed in whatever daily task you have set for yourself. This is a surprisingly motivational method because, within as little as one week, you will want to keep your run of consecutive days going. And as the weeks and months go by, you will be able to see at a glance how well you are doing, which is particularly useful because the mind has a tendency to convince us that we are not doing as well as we are.
Talking of the mind, whenever you find yourself doubting yourself or your progress, imagine yourself already where you want to be. That is the paradox of progress – it takes time and practise to master anything, but with the power of the mind you can be there in an instant. Try it out. Go there in your imagination and notice how it makes you feel. Familiarise yourself with your own success and put a smile on your face at the same time. Do that every day for two years and see where it takes you.