What Can You Do In the Next Hour to Get Closer to Your Goals?

| 12/31/2009 10:27:07 AM

When we're trying to achieve our dreams, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by all of the steps between where we are today and where we ultimately want to be —  maybe even more so at the start of a new year, when we have so many resolutions stacked neatly into a small tower of ideas. MOTHER EARTH NEWS writer Jenna Woginrich recently wrote on her blog, Cold Antler Farm, a great post titled "One Hour Better" (Dec. 28, 2009) that offers a fresh perspective that might help you make your goals more attainable. Check out this excerpt for a look at the heart of her post:

"... Don't attempt to be a drastically better person in the next calendar year. Don't plan on being thirty pounds thinner, or $60,000 richer or the front man of your own band. Instead, how about just trying to be a slightly better person in the next 60 minutes. This may sound like a weak attempt, but it's not. Results happen slowly and only when we focus on what we want and who we want to become right now. If you want more money, for the next hour, don't spend any, and try and pull a quarter off the floor of your car. If you want to lose weight, try not to eat that candy bar for the next hour, and walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. If you want to be kinder, spend the next hour on the phone with an old friend and tell her you miss her. If you want to plant a garden, raise chickens or own a farm — spend the next hour online ordering seed catalogs or going to the library for a book on coop building. Make small changes constantly and just try to meet that next turn of the clock one hour smarter, one hour thinner, one hour kinder and one hour richer, and watch your life change.

If everyone could just see the day as 24 chances to make their life a little better, imagine the resolutions that could be met. I try to be an hour better, every hour, and hope those choices add up into something I can grasp with both hands. I think total dedication to the present is what improves ourselves, and not the empty promises that are too big to get our arms around. Just try be one hour better, starting right now. My favorite movie whispers the quote 'that every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.' It's a chance worth taking. ..."

An hour is managable. You can do anything for one hour. If you're looking at steps to take to bring your dreams into reality, figure out the steps that you can take within an hour. As Jenna points out, if you take it one hour at a time, over and over again, you can ultimately go great distances. Whether you start by reading a chapter on organic gardening or signing up for a shepherding course, those small tasks can one day add up to the dream that you hold most dear.

If you look at the next 60 minutes, what can you do in that time to get closer to your goals?

1/4/2010 8:00:12 AM

I think I read somewhere that when setting a goal too large it sets up a type of cognitive dissonance. You see your goal, believe that it is attainable from a logical perspective but so different from what is real or perceived real and thus it's overwhelming. Breaking it into pieces makes it more attainable and reduces the cognitive dissonance. So this is an excellent and timely suggestion. The commentor above mentions that after 30 day's of exercising they were surprised to see an increase in muscle definition. There have been several studies on over 90 year olds, demonstrating that it's possible to improve your fitness (strength, flexibilty and muscle mass) no matter what fitness level you are at OR age at which you begin. The theory is that you can build muscle until the day you die. And while it's great and important to have goals, it is the process of achieving those goals that is our lives. Savor and live the process. You'll be savoring and living your lives in the "now". Happy New Year All. Pam

1/2/2010 1:42:24 PM

I have to say this method works pretty well for us. Instead of asking that my kids clean up their bedroom (sometimes pretty daunting!) I have them first gather trash (teenagers - you'd be surprised.) After that I ask them to pick up their dirty laundry. Next I ask them to vacuum (you get the idea) Breaking large tasks into smaller, chunks really does work. I had zero success losing weight until I changed my goal setting from losing 25 lbs. in 6 weeks to 1)sticking to Phase I of the South Beach diet (this just happened to be the one I picked, mainly because I liked the philosophy of de-toxing/weaning myself from refined sugars/carbohydrates cravings). My goal on this initial two weeks was not to lose a dramatic amount of weight, I just wanted to reverse the direction the scale was moving in. I determined that a large ship does not turn on a dime and reverse course quickly but rather has to slow to a stop and slowly build up steam in the other direction. My next goal was to add add muscle in order to increase my metabolism. I bought a DVD called the 30 Day shred by Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser and made the commitment to follow it for the full 30 days. At (then) age 48, I was amazed that I actually saw an increase in muscle definition. I was energized. After that I found an online Personal Training program that was very reasonable ($59 for 12 weeks) where I was assigned an actual trainer to correspond with via email. Over the course of 2 months, I had lost 25 pounds!

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