For most of us, we can count on there being a tomorrow. Some of us, however, will not see a tomorrow. In either case, there’s definitely no time like the present to do things that we have either been putting off or are too lazy to attempt today.
This isn’t meant to be a downer. Instead, it’s meant to motivate us, to spur us to action. For it is only by acting that we accomplish our goals, whatever they may be. It doesn’t matter if the goal requires long-term planning and step-by-step achievement of goals or the desired outcome is one that we want to accomplish today. If we fail to act, it won’t be realized. Not today, not ever. Goals are only met when we put in the effort and do the hard work required to achieve them.
Who can make these changes but us? Our loved ones can’t make them. Our family and friends can’t do them for us. Neither can our sponsor or therapist or anyone else. Others can make recommendations, encourage and support us in our recovery endeavors, even inspire us with their actions, but they simply cannot do that which we must do ourselves.
Why do we put off things, anyway? For some, it’s the fear of failure. For others, it’s the fear of rejection. For still others, it may be a combination of the two. Or, we may just be lazy, feel we have too much already on our plate and think that there’s always tomorrow to get busy and take care of matters.
One way to overcome the tendency to put off what needs to be done is to make incremental small steps toward making changes. In other words, we don’t have to bite off more than we feel we can chew. Just take small bites, or do some little bit of the prep work for making changes. Let’s take an example, one that we can all probably relate to.
When we first entered recovery, we knew we wanted to maintain our sobriety. But this life of abstinence was all new to us, and the prospect of being sober forever seemed an impossible goal. We were fearful, unsure, confused. How could we achieve this goal? We began by focusing on our life today and taking it one day and one step at a time, literally. We cannot predict what will happen tomorrow, but if we are intent on making changes, we can take the small steps today that will add up to our being better able to realize and fulfill our goal in the days, weeks and months to come.
We know how good it feels to receive our milestone awards. When we’ve reached that first 30 days of sobriety, then 60 and 90 and one year anniversary, we have a good feeling about what we’ve done and what we’ve been able to accomplish. That marks a tremendous change for most of us, and one that we rightfully deserve to be proud of.
Remember that we grow as we learn, and we learn and grow as we do. Little things do add up, and the sum total contributes to our solid foundation in recovery. We should also not concern ourselves with how much and how far others seem to have come, for there is a unique path of recovery for each of us. Our trajectory in sobriety may be similar to that of another, but it is our path alone simply because we are the ones who are traveling it, making the necessary choices and doing the actions we’ve set for ourselves in our recovery plan.
Make making changes a little easier by setting a small but desirable goal for ourselves today. Then, figure out the best way to go about achieving that goal. Then, get busy and do what needs to be done. At the end of the day, we’ll have made progress and made some small change in our life. And that’s an integral and important lesson in how we make changes going forward.