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one step at a time

20 January 2011

I am as capable as the next person but I can be overwhelmed by seemingly monumental tasks – like painting the house, doing my own taxes, or getting in shape.  Someone else might be overwhelmed by starting their own garden, keeping chickens, or baking their own bread.  The point is, we all have to start somewhere, and the best way to reach our goals is to take things one step at a time.  My brother know this.  He implements this concept in his own life and has watched me apply it to many things I care about in mine.  I’ve never been successful, however, at applying “one step at a time” to my weight-loss and fitness goals.  I am always so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task, that I defeat myself before I begin.  Being in good health is really important to me, though, because I am the only parent that my beautiful daughter has, and it is my responsibility to raise her and be her mama for a good, long while.

About a week ago, I started receiving emails from my brother with an assignment for the day such as “walk on the front road for 35 minutes”  or “walk to the top of the neighboring hill, down to the mailbox, back to the top of the hill, and then home.”  Small but (usually) doable mini-goals that, strung together over a period of time, will help me reach my big goal.  Receiving these small directives in a daily format, allows me to gradually change my perspective and focus on one step at a time.  I am not overwhelmed by the thought of walking the front road for 35 minutes so I actually do it, which leaves me feeling as though I’ve accomplished something, energizing me to press on toward that which once seemed insurmountable.

What do you want for your life that seems unattainable?  Maybe you want to “go organic” but the cost of doing so is holding you back.  Going organic doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” venture.  Every little step helps!  Why not start with the Dirty Dozen – the 12 fruits and vegetables that retain the greatest amount of pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG)?  The EWG re-evaluates the pesticide levels in fruits and vegetables each year and creates a handy chart of “must do organic” but also includes a list of the Clean 15 (15 fruits and veggies with the lowest levels of pesticide residue) so that you know where to start:

If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck,  plant your own organic garden!  A small plot of land, or even a patio or balcony can be turned into a healthy, thriving garden that will significantly offset the cost of supermarket produce.  If that is not an option for you, please (please!) take the time to get to know your local farmers and become familiar with their farming practices.  Just because something isn’t labeled “organic” doesn’t mean it isn’t organic.  It may simply mean that it hasn’t gone through the certification process (and the cost associated with that process) to be labeled as such.  Establishing relationships with local farmers that you trust will allow you to buy better food (locally grown, nutrient-rich, seasonal produce) for your family without paying “organic” supermarket prices.

Each of us has a different mountain to climb.  Maybe a vegetable garden is something you’ve always wanted but you don’t have the time to get one started.  Start with some zucchini and a tomato plant.  Perhaps you’ve dreamt of being a backyard beekeeper?  Before dipping your hand in the honey pot, try keeping some friendly, hard-working, low-maintenance Mason bees.  You really wish you could bake everything from scratch like your grandmother did?  Start with one loaf of bread.  Pining for less materialism?  The next time you break a dish, instead of rushing to the store to buy a new piece or set, scour the local thrift shop for a replacement or look to your own home for a charming alternative.

You can (and will!) get to where you want to go if you just take it one step at a time.

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