It's what you do everyday that counts.

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

I always tell my kids, “It’s not what you do every now and then that really matters.  It’s what you do everyday that counts.”

My teenagers have heard this advice so many times that they nod along and usually join me in the second sentence.

Maybe they’ve heard it so many times that it just goes in one ear and straight back out the other ear. I hold the hope that one day it will make so much sense to them they find themselves quoting me to a friend, and wondering where that piece of timely advice came from.

When I look back on my journey to change and where it has led me I can only shake my head in profound wonder at the accuracy of this quote.  All change that has happened to me has been slow, and I can trace it all back to what I’m doing everyday.

I think back to the me of five years ago – over weight, over stretched, stressed, only mildly effective – both as a mum and in paid employment and living in a relationship that was well past its expiry date.

There was never an ‘aha’ moment for me to change.  No light bulb ever went on in my head.  Instead it was a gradual awareness calling out to me that I couldn’t continue like this.  And the feelings of hopelessness and self doubt that arrived not long after.

My start came with daily meditation, which was a straw that I clung to.  Only during week days at first, but gradually moving to an everyday status.  For some odd reason this made me feel like I was getting a mini holiday for my brain.  And it also seemed to stop me wanting to go shopping.  Go figure.  Intuitively I seemed to know that this first step was right for me.

From my mum I picked up the habit of a glass of hot water and lemon first thing in the morning.  This was super easy to make before my meditation then drink after my meditation.

Then I started getting up earlier to go for a walk first thing in the morning.  The sense of well being and the glow it gave me made this a habit that stuck, and I quickly adjusted from walking to adding in you tube yoga workouts to give me flexibility around the weather or the season.  The walks, and being outside, were really appealing so they stayed. Exercise is now just something I do.

I began to think about what was going into my mouth, and after reading Sarah Wilson’s book ‘I Quit Sugar’ I began to change the way I ate.  In response my weight started to slowly drop.

After listening to a Hay House world summit I discovered Louise Hay and her ideas on mirror work.  I made a point of talking to myself in the mirror everyday, telling myself how much I loved me, and approved of me.  That I appreciated myself and loved my inner child.  My happiness glow sparked and ignited.  Another daily habit cemented in.

Hay House also led me to Wayne Dyer, and his work on gratitude.  It only takes a moment to say thanks.  I tried formal lists, but these days I give myself the grace of one hit of the snooze button in the mornings, which I use to run over all the things I am grateful for.  As my feet hit the floor I say “Thank” (left foot down) then “You” (right foot down).  Easy.

All up this maybe adds an extra hour to my morning but for me, this is the very heart of my self care practice.  It is a time that I treasure and love and it helps me fill my cup so I can give from my saucer during my busy days.

The newer habit is to journal everyday before bed.  I wouldn’t spend more than 5 or 10 minutes on my journal but the reflection I get and the chance to plan for the next day are invaluable and help my days to flow.

The me from 5 years ago is barely there, just a shell that remains to remind me of how far I have come.  How happy I am, how healthy I am and how prepared I am to embrace the life I choose to live.  The feelings of hopelessness and self doubt arrive sometimes, but I recognise them now and know how to meet them with confidence and resilience.

Then the daily habits take over, pulling me onwards.  Feeding my soul, nourishing my body and growing me in ways I never thought were possible.  Slow changes, yes.  But taking me in the right direction and giving me the knowledge that I can live my best life.

Melanie Medland