A Recipe for Success
Every time you start something — day, a run, a walk, a new habit of any kind, a New Year — the way you start that activity will have a profound effect on the outcome.
It is a new year. Every day is a new day and every run has the potential for a realization that will change the way you run forever. Every walk you take can bring you closer to great health and energy.
The awareness and focus that you put into the beginning of any activity can make all the difference. What do you do before you start running? Think about it. Do you have an intention for how you want to feel after running? Do you have a clear enough sense of your own body so that you know what it is you need from your run? Beginning an activity with awareness and intention deepens your experience, insures success, and offers the promise of long term, positive effects. Your New Year’s resolutions have this same potential.
I have recently read several articles that controvert the success of New Year’s Resolutions. There seems to be an underlying cynicism that does not give much credit to the power of the human mind and the human potential for change, regeneration and growth. The power of the mind is celebrated and well documented. In a very interesting AARP article, they tout the power of guided imagery, meditation and relaxation exercises to alleviate chronic pain that medications have not been able to help. (Jan/Feb 2009: Escape from Pain – Without Drugs).
In many ways it seems obvious. Just look at every single human creation or amazing human feat. Every one came from an idea, from a thought that entered a human mind, from someone’s belief in the possibilities. All of that power is within you. We have received thousands of letters from people who have literally changed their lives by tuning into their body in a new way.
What is it that you want to accomplish? What do you want to do in this New Year? In the next five years? For the rest of your life?
There are several stages to creating true success. We have found that the five steps delineated in the ChiWalking Book work for almost any endeavor:
- Get Aligned
- Create Balance
- Engage your Core
- Make a choice
- Move forward
Here’s a brief look at each step:
1. Get Aligned means getting your mind, body and spirit all focused on one idea. Write down exactly what it is that you want: losing weight is a common desire, creating better health, finishing a marathon, creating a healthier relationship with a family member, writing a book, or maybe starting a new business. Know what it is that you want, and Get Aligned with that goal. See that goal as clearly as you can. Envision the outcome and what it would feel like. Create that goal as a reality in your mind.
2. Create Balance by looking at how this new endeavor will become part of your life. Review what will need to change in your life and affirm that you can make these changes. In ChiRunning and ChiWalking, creating physical balance often means bringing the posture line to upright, as most people’s posture line actually slopes backward. When creating balance in a goal you need to understand where in your life you might find any internal resistance to steps necessary to reaching your goal, and address those issues. Creating Balance means becoming aware of the obstacles to your Vision and preparing a balancing effect to those obstacles.
You may want to lose weight, but you know that at 3 p.m. every day, you succumb to the desire for a cookie when you get your afternoon tea. Will you have apple and carrots with you, just in case, or will you let that momentary desire keep you from your goal? Creating balance is having your bag of tricks to keep you moving forward.
3. Engage your Core is the crux of the work. It is here that you do the work you have set before you. You cannot reach a goal without doing the work it takes. In ChiRunning and ChiWalking, engaging your core is the only real “muscle work” that is asked of you. And it is real work (and quite beneficial for your whole being). For most of us, engaging the core is where we need to constantly check in, do the work, and then come back to it in a few minutes and engage it again. It is the ongoing, consistent effort learned from practicing ChiRunning and ChiWalking that eventually makes walking and running effortless in every other way. Similarly, engaging your core is the first action you take when working towards a specific goal. This might be writing an outline for your book, or eating well for a week, or doing your first week of runs with your new running program.
4. Make a Choice may seem out of sequence, but it’s not. You cannot make a wise choice until you have done the first three steps. Make a Choice happens after you have started to move towards your goal and you’ve evaluated what you are doing, affirmed and reengaged the first 3 steps, confirmed that this is your best path, and made any necessary adjustments. You may realize that your plan is too slow and that you need more action to keep you challenged and engaged. Or, you may realize that you have bitten off more than you can chew. Trying to start a new business and run a marathon a month with the new baby coming may not be in alignment with your family’s needs.
Make a Choice is the most important moment in many respects. You have become engaged in a process and you are affirming that this is indeed the best choice you could make at this time. In ChiRunning and ChiWalking, it is when you choose to run or walk in this new way. You have had a personal experience of the technique and you now really know it feels best for your body. When you make a choice you are fully committed.
5. Move Forward is the sum of the all the parts. It is when your movement becomes effortless, a part of your life and the goal to be reached is assured. You have been through all the necessary stages and you are moving forward with ease and grace. You are used to engaging your core and doing the work, you have confirmed your commitment. Moving Forward is making the best use of your gravity, your alignment and of all your work. It’s the grace of your efforts. On marathon da,y you’ll know you’ve done what you needed to do, you can feel the harmony in your family that stemmed from your change in attitude, you’ll feel healthier than you ever have in your life, or perhaps your new business will get a write-up in Entrepreneur Magazine as the most promising business of the year. You’ll know when it happens.
Before you start any new endeavor ask yourself, Am I Aligned? Have I Created Balance? Am I Engaging my Core? Have I made a conscious Choice? You’ll know if you have because Moving Forward will be a natural, graceful outcome of your efforts and the rewards for your efforts will enrich your whole life.