Lately I’ve been struggling with a back injury. After having spent years as a dancer, and even longer now with the identity as a former dancer, there is nothing quite as ego-leveling as having to ask for help when pulling up your trousers because it hurts too much to reach for your toes.
Having sought out help through physical therapy, my physio said something to me the other day that struck a chord. Whilst attempting a stretch, she stopped me. She told me to stop pushing the extreme and instead just focus on moving little and often. She was of course only talking about my physical recovery but since then the chorus of “little and often” keeps playing on refrain in my head. As I stretch and move, of course, but also as I parent. As I address or challenge ideas. Try new things. Express thanks, affection or gratitude. As I attempt to figure out my new routines, set goals, consider changes to our diet, or ingredients I want to explore.
Little and often takes an incredible amount of both will power and patience. But as this injury has reminded me, progress of any kind cannot happen without continuous efforts, so its important to make sure those efforts are maintainable in order to move the dial.
Here are four very specific ways I am putting little and often into practice.
(Little and often): I am dedicating time to experimenting more with beans to (Big and Permanent) eat less meat for environmental reasons, save money on food, expand my childrens palate, and learn more about Mexican and indigenous cuisines.
(Little and often): Eliminating any phrase that generalises the idea of “Boys/Girls/Men/Women do this” from my vocabulary to (Big and Permanent) let my girls determine their interests and nature for themselves, challenge myself to think beyond gender stereotypes, allow my husband to express himself without worrying about masculinity.
(Little and often): Get up early and dedicate 30 minutes of quiet time to exercise or write to (Big and Permanent) become more comfortable in my body and acknowledge its abilities, develop my own thoughts and writing, become more comfortable and honest with sharing my own voice and perspective, accept and appreciate the impermanence of everything.
(Little and often): Donating time and a few dollars/pounds every month to organisations I believe in- both locally and internationally to (Big and Permanent) create I world I want my children to live in.
The practice of little and often requires just that; practice. These goals we set for ourselves are always in the big and permanent category; which nothing in this life ever is. Little and often seems to me to be the best way to move forward. And to hopefully, one day soon, be able to put my trousers on all by myself.