Something incredible happened this week! I was able to grab my left hand with my right hand behind my back during my yoga practice. Okay. This may not sound incredible to you, but since I injured my shoulder at the beginning of 2020, I have not come close to connecting my fingers behind my back in that pose. At first, I was barely able to rotate my left arm behind me, which forced me to find creative ways to wash my back for many months. Little by little, my range of motion has increased.
But this week, after two and a half years, I was finally able to rotate my shoulder far enough to allow my left hand to clasp the fingers of my right hand. It was a triumphant moment! It was also a testament to what is possible when I commit to showing up consistently. For the past two years, I have rolled out my yoga mat twice per week and stretched as far as I could without hurting myself. Over time, what once was out of reach became reachable.
This reminds me of an interview I heard on Brené Brown’s podcast with James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. During that conversation, James shared a story about a client who started going to the gym for just 5 minutes a day to walk on the treadmill. It sounds silly to make the effort to drive to the gym to be inside for only 5 minutes. You might ask what changes could possibly occur in 5 minutes? A powerful one! The man transformed from a person who did not go to the gym to a person who went to the gym every day. Once it became a habit, he could slowly increase the amount of time on the treadmill and then start seeing results. The hard part was making it a routine. Instead of focusing on the goal, the focus was on the system that supported that goal.
How many times have you set very ambitious goals, only to get frustrated and give up soon after you begin? I know I have. The philosophy of shifting focus from goals to systems has many applications. When dining out, perhaps consistently ordering food off the menu that you imagine a healthy person eating would be more beneficial than setting a goal to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Maybe current events have left you feeling hopeless. Maybe you have lost the belief that a world where kindness and love prevail is possible. Instead of desperately wishing for World Peace, what if we each commit to being a more peaceful person in our daily interactions with everyone we meet? The results might not be noticeable at first, but eventually, we would become the very thing for which we are reaching.
If you would like assistance in becoming what you seek, it would be my great honor to walk with you and cheer you on during a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a Private Family Constellations session. Both will expand your perspective so you can not only reach that elusive hand behind your back if that is what you desire, but also that elusive state of peace and contentment. Please look around my website to book a session or send me an email with questions.
Until next time, may you find creative ways to shift your focus from getting to being.
You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
James Clear – Author of Atomic Habits