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Small is the New Big

June '09

“Practice makes perfect.” You know it and I know it, but acting on that knowledge is another matter altogether. While small daily acts can add up to the biggest influences of your life, developing such practices can be a challenge. A single word may suffice to make this point – exercise.

When I moved out of my position as Dean of Continuing Education at Wellesley into that of Life Coach for women, I gained a more flexible schedule. Instead of heading out the door at 8:00 am with a stop for coffee en route to my office, these days I’m at home plopped in a comfy chair talking with a client over the phone. With the onset of this more relaxed lifestyle, I initiated a regular exercise program of walking 3x/week. While my intention was good, the execution fell short. The reasons for this shortfall (or rather my rationalizations) were that my walking partner wasn’t available, or that it was raining. Finally, when snow arrived later in the year, all bets were off.

Clearly my plan wasn’t working, so I changed course and joined a local gym with its treadmills, bicycles and nautilus equipment. This scheme worked – thanks to some large-print books from the library, which allowed me to read on the treadmill. I even added a weekly yoga class to the schedule. I have to admit that the compelling plots and characters of the large-print library books probably provided the incentive that made the difference. Never-the-less, these small, consistent weekly acts of heading to the gym have brought more regular exercise into my life.

Often, in the early weeks of working with a client, she’ll tell me she wants to focus on becoming healthier, which usually involves a new exercise regime. When I hear this remark, a smile crosses my face, because I know she is building just the right platform of self-care for launching herself into a satisfying new life. (Attending to your physical well-being is one aspect of self-care.)

An additional advantage to embarking on an improved self-care practice is that when you are stuck and lack clarity about your vision for the future, it can be tremendously satisfying to sense the forward motion of your self-care regimen. That’s why as a Life Coach, I love to acknowledge my clients’ progress, which I can see more easily as an outside observer.

So how about you? Where would you like more? More health? More savings? More education? More fun with family and friends? Whatever your choice, if you develop a schedule of small daily, or weekly, actions and make this plan a priority, you can really change your life.

And you already know how to set priorities. If you’re picking up a child at school, or catching a train for a business meeting, don’t you arrive at the school, or the station, at the appointed hour? Yep – it’s simply a priority for you. So why not bring more into your world? I’d love to hear about any new self-care practice you’ve decided to install in your life. Remember: “small is the new big”!

Good luck,

Get a free consultation with Bonnie Leonard

P.S. If you would like to learn how the coaching structure can bring more into your life, you can contact me for a free consultation.


  1. Wendy said on June 30, 2009:

    Loved your tag–small is the new big. It’s so nice to be reminded in such a simple way of things we already know–and quickly forget. I tend to put self care behind business tasks…

    Reading this has had an impact–I’m going out for a walk. Work can wait!

  2. Martha said on June 30, 2009:

    Well I don’t know much but I do know exercise. Something small I can do for myself. Yes Bonnie it’s an act of self care. There’s nobody that can do it for you. It’s a small act and it’s been a powerful one for me. I’ve kept depression at the door, saved my sanity, found consolation, reflected always, cleared my mind, found a way to center myself, found many meditative moments– all through exercise and yes I am a stronger and healthier person. The first step was discipline. I had to fight with myself to know discipline. I had to learn discipline, a stand alone concept and action, then I could exercise. I had to find a back bone. I think discipline is being able to do something over and over, to own an action. I learned the discipline for exercise and until death do us part I’ll never stop. It won’t look like what I’m doing now of course and isn’t about where I began. My practices have been many. It doesn’t matter what I’ve chosen to experience. I know I will and can do something almost every day. I can find my lesson in it, joy and comfort. Discipline was taught to me through the martial arts coupled with running. I got it. I then continued to run, added cycling, dropped running, now cycle with walking, light hiking, yoga, pilates, stretching all in the mix. I’d rather be outdoors come rain, shine or snow though. I find places I can walk even in the winter away from icy streets and traffic Being in nature is very grounding for me so my walks or cycling are my favorites. I have my routes from my neighborhood, places I’ll drive to- lakes, parks or woods. I share most of these moments with my husband. We cherish our walks or cycling activity almost every day after work and on weekends. When it’s been stressful and it has been stressful we say -what should we do -let’s walk. We step out the door, shake the day’s stress off, talk or not talk, listen for the sounds of nature. Everything will be OK.

  3. Bonnie said on July 1, 2009:

    Happy walking, Wendy!

  4. Bonnie said on July 2, 2009:

    Wow, Martha! It’s wonderful to have tapped a vein of such passion. Thank you for sharing your exercise story and expertise.

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