My favourite saying from my time living in Ireland was told to me by a wise Pilates client, she said to me one day when I was feeling disappointed in myself for not being able to give more of myself for a particular class, she said: 'Christine, half a loaf is better than none' and it really stuck with me.
In South Africa we have a similar but different saying that also involves eating (one of my favourite things to do), and it goes something like: 'How do you eat an elephant?... One bite at a time."
All of these wise little one-liners have one thing in common, they remind us of the value of small steps. Small steps combine to make big changes that over time affect our life. I know this sounds cheesy and possibly even patronising, but that judgmental voice that says 'it's not enough' is the one that should be told to pipe down when days are busy and energy is low. Perhaps a soft compassionate voice of self-appreciation for small wins is where we can find personal growth and thus hold onto small bits of progress.
I remember working with a nutritionist many years ago, she prescribed 10-20mins of moderately intense cardio 4-5 times per week to me alongside a particular diet. I thought to myself at the time 'what good will 10 mins do' and every time I started the clock and began to get my heart rate up, I realised that even 5 minutes was better than no minutes for my sense of wellbeing - regardless of the calories burned.
Today, I had a similar reminder at university where we were practicing with other physio students to analyse running patterns for distance runners, I was on the treadmill for 10 mins jogging merrily for the first time in ages, implementing a new cadence and foot contact approach that reduced my foot contact time and allowed me feel a lot more efficient in my run, and I realised 'I flipping love this feeling' even if it's only 10 minutes. My head felt clearer, mood felt lighter, concentration felt sharper and I generally sensed a joy wash over me.
So without a shred of guilt, without an ounce of shame, with pure intentions of good feels all round, I would like to remind you of the life changing, personal -peace-offering of the 'small step' when it comes to exercise and wellness. I see so many people make drastic changes, and often it's all just a bit too much with the reality of life having to be balanced alongside it.
Celebrating small wins can be transformational on longer journeys towards lifestyle change, especially when motivation and energy is low.
If you're in need of a short endorphin boost then check out my 20min HIIT classes for a dopamine hit of note! Or, simply get outside for a 10min 'hot girl walk' or 'awe walk' and be proud of yourself for taking a small step towards your health.
I'm thinking of launching a free 'community' 20min HIIT class in the second week of January, would this be something you're keen for?