Every year I talk about making my own little victory garden to grow fruits and vegetables.
And every year I procrastinate. It’s a project that I always talk about yet never make a reality.
We all have something like this: exercise, a healthy diet, a bad habit we want to break, starting a yoga or meditation practice, or visiting a family member we want to spend more time with. We have every good intention of doing this thing, but we’re just not intrinsically motivated to make it happen. We keep putting it off, making excuses and feeling guilty, all the while.
The end of winter is approaching, and I know that if I’m going to get serious about a garden, now is the time. Despite the challenges to gardening, it’s not an impossible task. Sure, I live in an apartment with only a little yard space, but I can make a container garden on my back porch. I can also use a little space in my parents’ yard, where they already have a vegetable plot and would happily allow me to use it. Even for those who live in urban areas, community gardens are often available to grow our own food.
Another challenge is composting.
In my small space, I really don’t have the ability to compost a large amount of food scraps. But it occurred to me that even the novice gardener can easily practice composting, simply by saving coffee and tea grounds, eggshells, and banana peels. These are waste from regular breakfast items, and are easily added to soil. I simply place them in a large jar until I have enough to add to the soil. It’s a painless way to enrich the soil without a lot of work.
Composting is a small step toward creating my garden. And it’s a small step that I can make every day, becoming a daily reminder to get started. When we have a goal we keep putting off, starting with the smallest steps can help get us ready for the challenges ahead. Any step in the right direction will only help us.
What makes us so reluctant to start making the life changes we say we want?
If we really want it, why aren’t we doing it? Often, we hesitate due to our fear of failure, but sometimes I think we’re actually afraid of the change that’s sure to come with success. If we say we want to lose weight, do we fear that we’ll still be unhappy when we finally get there?
If we want to start our own business, are we afraid of being unable to handle it if it grows beyond our wildest dreams? What if we’re afraid of our dreams actually becoming realities? What if we’re afraid it won’t live up to our expectations?Possibly, we may make one change and find that there’s still more work to do. Or find that the change we made didn’t bring about the end result we wanted.
So we have to decide why we want the thing that we say we want. Where is the motivation coming from? Do we want to get in shape for ourselves or because someone else wants it for us? Do we want to break a habit because it hurts our lives or because society frowns upon it? Until our motivation becomes deeply personal, we won’t work to reach these goals.
Even when we’re personally motivated to pursue our goals, our fears may still hold us back. It’s important to examine these fears, in order to help dispel them. If we aren’t able to dispel these fears entirely, we can at least remember that the rewards will be worth the risks. We can also make ourselves a physical reminder, pointing out the positive aspects of reaching our goals. A vision board is a great daily visual reminder to help encourage us to stay faithful to our goals.
When our goal is to grow, we plant the seeds and become the gardeners of our own lives.
We take the small steps to get us there. We learn to nurture ourselves and use positivity to encourage our growth. We also learn to turn our struggle into the compost that helps us grow. When our fears snag our attention or others criticize our change, we learn to pluck them out like weeds and keep on growing. Slowly, we allow ourselves to blossom into the people we want to be.
It starts with the simple step of just deciding to begin.
Today I was pouring coffee grounds into a jar, knowing that I’m one step closer to my garden. For you, it could be making a healthy lunch or taking a walk during your busy day. It could be spending five minutes meditating or signing up for a class you’ve always wanted to take. It could be taking time to mend a relationship or deciding to cut ties with negative energy in your life.
Whatever the change, there’s a step we can take today to make it happen. Beginning the journey is the important part.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock