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The One Resolution Effect

By January 1, 2013

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Happy New YearYou may have heard of "the butterfly effect" -- the idea that a very small change can have a very large effect down the line. Even if you haven't heard the term butterfly effect before, there is a good chance that you have observed in your own life how one little shift, a small course-correction, changed the trajectory of your life or an event. That's the butterfly effect.

The butterfly effect got its name from Edward Lorenz, a mathmetician who showed, mathmatically, how merely the flutter of a butterfly's wings could influence the development of a hurricane several weeks later. Here at the beginning of 2013 I'm thinking a lot about the butterfly effect. Not because I want a hurricane, obviously, but because I know many of us are calling for powerful changes toward greater well-being in our lives.

Some of us will make resolution lists. Some of us will be content to just contemplate our goals for the future. In the realm of Pilates and fitness, things like weight loss, starting or getting back to regular classes, and eating healthy are going to be at the forefront. And those are all excellent intentions.

The thing is, that often our good intentions get lost in lists that are too long or ideas that are too vague, or both. They end up discouraging us rather serving us. Statistics show that by February most people have fallen off the get healthy bandwagon. We need a better way.

How about this: What if one well-chosen healthy habit could have a butterfly effect on your health and well-being in 2013?

I'm a believer. I see this happen in my coaching practice: Someone starts doing Pilates. With the extra exercise and fitness awareness they lose weight. Then, being lighter and more fit, they have more energy and realize they can do something new with their work. Another person commits to stop eating trans fats. Pretty soon they are a smart label reader and making better food choices all the way around. They feel better, they sleep better, they exercise more and so forth. It's a hurricane of health. Yay for "butterfly effect" decisions.

If you love your resolution lists, wonderful. Use them. If not, you might try thinking very clearly about one change you would like to make toward greater fitness and health in 2013. Then add to that a measure of confidence in the probability that if you really make that change, it will positively effect other parts of your life. You can have your very own butterfly effect.

I'll share my favorite "one resolution" with you. The one change I made that has had the absolute best effect on my health, fitness, and overall well-being has been to be kind to myself. Quite a while ago I realized that I could only be truly healthy if I was whole, and I could not be whole if I was divided against myself -- berrating myself for pounds not lost, Pilates exercises not perfected,  or paths not taken. I'm not perfect about it, but the more I am kind and loving to myself, inside, the better I feel, the better I work, the more healthy I am, and, of course, the kinder I can be to others. That's one example of a big butterfly effect for me.

Now here's an important part of making changes, whether they be inner shifts like the one I described or something you want to create "in the world" : You want to take a positive action that you carry out with clear intention. You don't want to flap your butterfly wings vaguely toward something and have a random or weak effect. Do everything your can to actualize your one resolution. Some tips from great coaches and change makers include:

  • Imagine what you want to have happen in as much detail as you can.
  • Feel it as fully as you can. Get your emotions and passion involved.
  • Act as if it is already your reality (that's a really powerful one), without being delusional of course .
  • Take the in-the-world steps you need to take to fulfill it.

Be as specific as you can in each part of your real-izing process. Take your one step whole-heartedly and see how the butterfly effect plays out in your life. I bet it will. Of course I don't know what your one resolution will be, but I do have a lot of articles here at pilates.about.com meant to direct people toward better health and a fitter life. Here is a short list I hope will be helpful to you in 2013:

Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Make a Fitness Plan
Pilates for Beginners
Weight Loss and Healthy Eating
Choosing Your Cardio Exercise
Get in Shape with Pilates
Weight Loss Workout Program
Pilates Quick Start Program

Have a Happy, Healthy, New Year!!!

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