Becoming aware of our weaknesses, or finding someone or something that we’d like to be more like, we make promises to ourselves that — once conditions are right — we will work on changing. It will be next month when things die down. Or once I’ve saved up for the best equipment. Or it will be at the beginning of the new year. And so on.
These timeframes won’t help you. Things won’t quiet down. Unless we’re already accomplished, we probably don’t need the most expensive equipment for that field. And New Years come and go with most people quitting their “new year’s resolutions” by the end of January.
And why shouldn’t they? It was a new year’s resolution, and there will always be next year. What is needed is a new you resolution. This comes from the realization that there is only this life, this day, and you can’t throw it away in idle dreaming.
What is it you want? In truth, the new or future you is the actualization of the potential you possess now. It is rooted in you already, but it is not cultivated. What is needed is to cut away the weeds that have grown up around that potential. If you want to be stronger, you have to train. If you want to cultivate an art, you have to practice. To do this you have to cut out TV, drunken nights out, arguing about nothing on social media, getting sucked into the daily “news,” and other distractions and negatives.
You cannot wait for the perfect conditions. If you are hoping that, a month from now, you will be able to dedicate an hour a night on training, meditation, writing, reading, or something else, whether you know it or not, you are making excuses. It is better to act now even if you can only afford five minutes a night. No, five minutes isn’t enough. But even a few minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, and squats is a huge leap from no training, or no exercise, at all. And the same can be said for probably any other pursuit.
Thinking in terms of an hour gives you an excuse. It will get too late. There are other things that you need to do. Tomorrow will be better.
But five minutes gives you no excuses. You have five minutes to train, to meditate, to read a page of a book, or to work on that project you’ve been putting off.
What’s important is to get into a routine. When you’re starting out, you might not even be able to afford a few hours a week. But you can set aside five minutes a day for what is important to you. And the thing is if you do that you probably won’t stop at five minutes. You’ll probably continue for five, ten, fifteen minutes, or more. You’ll find the time because you’ll cut out the distractions and the idle but meaningless pleasures.
Start small, but start today. Do the minimum if that’s all you can afford, but get out of the habit of thinking about it and into the habit of doing it. It is difficult to start, but if you get into the habit of doing what is important to you, it will be difficult to stop you.