Tortoise Steps - The Path to Happiness

Posted by Adi Meirav on

There are many ways to get you to the same destination (putting aside the very accurate adage that life is a journey and not indeed, a destination).

We all have those moments of clarity. "No more TV, junk food, I'm going to make changes. Tomorrow i'll get up at 5am, go to the gym, drink only mineral water, eat only salads, take that yoga class, meditate, and be in bed by 9pm."

We're all wired differently of course. Some people will have the iron will to see through their challenges with spectacular style, panache and determination. It's an awesome sight to behold, and an incredibly empowering thing to do. However, the flip side, and the reality is that most of us have a limited reserve of willpower. Once it's used up we slip back to our old habits (and then beat ourselves up for not achieving what we set out to do). In short we end up being in a worse state than when we started.

Another way is to accept the truth of life; things - take - time.

Ask any world class musician, they didn't become a virtuoso overnight. Every musician had to put the time in, starting with scales and arpeggios, with one finger on the piano keyboard or fret-board; one note, followed by another, and another.

Incremental steps are the key to positive lasting change. The story of the tortoise and the hare demonstrates this perfectly. The hare, with all his bravado raced off, with skill, bags of natural talent and oodles of arrogance. The Tortoise, whose physical limitations make her appear delusional to accept a race against a hare anyway, simply placed one slow careful foot in front of other and eventually passed the finish line first..

So incremental steps are one thing. But if you don't know which direction you're headed then a step in the wrong direction could well set you back. That's where some simple tools, strategies and techniques can help.

By keeping a daily journal, noting down your ideas, and regularly asking yourself important questions you can keep moving in the right direction. By doing one press up, one diary entry, eating one apple, we begin that journey. As long as we carry on we will build momentum until exercise, journalling, eating healthier, and numerous other positive habits will become the norm.The major challenge for most of us mere mortals is keeping up the repetition until these relatively simple habits are part of us

We are all on our own singular path through life. Sometimes our paths may converge with others for a short time, some longer, but ultimately we must choose and tread our path. The one that is right for us. If we live for others completely we can become unhappy (best case) and hugely resentful (worst case). Of course we must consider others but ultimately we must follow our path and surround ourselves with people who understand us as individuals.

If we do not take care of our own needs first we can not be there for others. You've heard the flight attendants on their pre-flight speech telling us we should place our own oxygen masks are secured before attending to others. It applies across the board in life; if you don't monitor your own oxygen, keep your own balance, maintain your own centre, or tread your own path, you can not help yourself or others. In short, it's all over.

So take Tortoise steps. Adopt positive habits, and start small.

How? Try writing a journal by installing a small lined book and a pen by your bedside. Every day write down a sentence or two about your thoughts, feelings, goals, things you are grateful for. It will only take a few minutes but will provide insights for you about yourself, an outlet for expression, keep you connected to your goals, dreams, thoughts, desires. From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow, but not overnight.

Repetition is the key. Slow and steady is the way.

Klaus White is a Trainer, Educator, proud Dad, 
& co-founder of The Way of the Tortoise

depression diary and be happy Happiness Journal helping others Journalling journalling for happiness Mindfulness tools for happiness

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