- Karen Stoner, LMT
The Bare Minimum
We had a small winter storm this past weekend. Just some ice and snow that came overnight. That meant clearing off my car and the driveway before going to work that morning. My husband and I both had our cars in the driveway, but I only had time to clear my car's side of the driveway before I had to leave. So I did the bare minimum - I partially dug out my car and took off for work. My husband also had to go to a meeting that morning and left before I got home. By the time I returned, the sun was out and I noticed that before he had left, he had not cleared any of his side of the driveway - he just cleaned off his car and drove over the snow without clearing any more of the driveway. So I got out the shovel again and continued to clear the driveway as well as the sidewalk. That's when I noticed something.
The parts of the driveway that I had shoveled before I left had a much thinner layer of snow and ice, so when the sun came out everything that I had put a bare minimum into came up and cleared easily. The parts of the driveway that my husband hadn't cleared at all was still pretty thick, and even while working at it every few hours, the snow on that side of the driveway never really was able to be cleared, and ended up icing over and ultimately getting worse.
That morning, I had originally felt a little guilty about only doing the bare minimum in clearing the driveway and not doing a more thorough job at the time. However, I did what I needed to do at the time and later in the day I was, in a way, rewarded in that the driveway cleared more easily and completely, while the side where no effort was made was almost worse. Even though I didn't put out any huge effort, it still yielded better results than putting in no effort at all.
I thought about how that can also be applied to your health. Sometimes we want to make changes for ourself and we steer away because we may not see major results right away. Working out or dieting, or any type of life change or healing - if we don't see huge results, we tend to get frustrated and give up, then never want to try anything like it again. I'm guilty of it myself. I've often seen this in my massage practice. I've spoken to people and they tell me about pain they have and I suggest trying a massage, chiropractic work, or even simple lifestyle changes. I very often hear "Oh I tried that once. I still had the pain the next day, so that obviously didn't work so I'll probably won't ever try it again."
What people don't realize is that one small step is often not the cure, but the first step towards the cure. It can be frustrating to want to fix something so badly and not find that "magic wand" that fixes everything immediately. But instead of putting in any effort, the frustration leads to doing absolutely nothing.
The bare minimum can be seen as laziness or a cop out, but it can also be seen as a start. It isn't much, but something is better than nothing and may lead to better results down the road. The hard part is getting the guts to do something, anything, to start or take a risk, even if it is only the bare minimum - then trusting that that may have started something, even if the results aren't seen instantly. I never thought the bare minimum of shoveling was much, but after seeing the long term difference between the bare minimum or nothing makes me wonder about how valuable the bare minimum might be. Where could the bare minimum ultimately lead if you do it?