Easy Effort

I’ve been taking Pilates for several years now. In case you’re not familiar with it, Pilates involves a series of exercises and movements designed to promote flexibility and strength. Meghan Arata, the founder of a Pilates studio called The Breathing Room, is a wonderful teacher of both the theory and practice.

During her classes, Meghan often uses the phrase “easy effort gets you started”. The phrase is always helpful, whether I’m trying to achieve a set of challenging movements and even when I’m struggling to fully relax into a deep stretch. But beyond Pilates classes, Meghan’s phrase has become a mantra in other areas of my life as well.

In Pilates, Meghan says, beginning a difficult movement with a burst of energy and force may tire you out quickly and lead to strain. As a result, you may lack the strength to position yourself correctly-just when you need it most.

This may be a stretch (no pun intended!), but as you plan for the year ahead, starting with an “easy effort” first may be a good idea.

It’s certainly not unusual to set a few goals or make a few resolutions at this time of year. Perhaps you feel ready to take on a new and risky assignment at work. Or, you may be determined to finally understand how the finances work in your family’s business. Perhaps you’re thinking about having a baby and planning for changes in both your work and family life.

Whatever your goals or resolutions or hopes for 2014, take a page from the Pilates playbook: go easy on yourself at the start. Whether you’re determined to learn a new skill or try out a new role or make a difficult decision, don’t strain. Take the time you need to prepare yourself, and build your strength over time.

And, as Meghan always reminds us, “breathe deeply”.

I hope you and your family and your business enjoy a wonderful New Year!

What mantra keeps YOU going when you’re trying to reach a goal?

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