Be Smart About Art

Making BIG changes with small steps... and hula hoops

written by: Susan Mumford Jan. 29, 2017 Sunday blog - The art world in bite-sized stories 1365 views

Making BIG changes with small steps... and hula hoops

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Arriving at the end of January, many people are letting go of resolutions. Whether or not you commit to resolutions every year, and regardless of keeping them (or not), there's something that you can readily implement at any point in the year: making BIG changes with small, consistent steps.

Want to learn a new language this year?
I recall a friend once telling me that in her experience, the best way to learn a language is by committing to a few minutes - 5 minutes in her case, each and every day. While that works out to thirty hours a year, it’s even better from a knowledge retention point of view, for you have the opportunity to reiterate prior lessons as you go, thereby firmly planting it in your memory. And needless to say, there’s a seemingly endless selection of language apps and downloadable courses available at the touch of a button.

Are you keen to get fit?
A painter friend recently confessed that she’s started working out in the interest of her career, as she realises that as a female artist she’s more likely to have success later in life than men. She’s started to do the necessary work to achieve a long and healthy life.

Whatever the inspiration to get fit or lead a healthy lifestyle, the idea behind making BIG changes with small steps is to be realistic about how much time to make at a time, in an effort to not fall back. A personal experience from my days in retail management is testimony to this: being in the retail industry, I watched people embark upon extreme diets only to fall off the wagon in short order. They would extoll the virtues of their new trendy diet, and yet within a few weeks would confess they hadn’t stuck to it and were evidently riddled with guilt. My conclusion was that unless a change in one’s health (such as diabetes and other conditions) necessitates extreme changes, it’s smart to introduce change slowly and steadily. Ultimately, such gradual change becomes a way of life.

But, what if you’re not a going-to-the-gym type of person and find running a bother? Do something that you’d enjoy. As seen in today’s photograph, hula hooping could even do the trick! While not everyone finds it possible to hula the hoop (noting that yours truly did it like it was going out of fashion during childhood years), a quick online search will introduce you to many ways of exercising with a hoop. Better yet, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be amused by the activity and find it possible to watch or listen to the news at the same time.

Here’s the real beauty of introducing small, incremental changes…
While you commit to doing five minutes of language learning or exercising a day, once you get into that new habit, you’re likely to extend to longer periods of time. While it’s not possible to commit more time every day, by keeping to the realistic minimum and allowing yourself extra time when the schedule allows, the annual 30 hours could easily become 60 hours. And before you know it, you’ve made BIG changes from small steps (and hula hooping). 

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Skipping is my new thing and there is an online community to match! As i was so unfit at the start I can only build up 1 minute every other day. So as you say, a little and infrequently over a period of time will be enough:)