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Making Penguin Steps

Recently while talking about the impact small changes can have one of my clients came up the phrase ‘Penguin Steps’. Making changes is a common theme in my work with clients and it goes through many stages. From exploring the reasons, the past and how it impacts on the present to working with barriers to change in the present and beginning to plan for the future. It is often the case that we want to move straight to the end of the process, but I believe that the changes that are easiest to maintain are those that have been reached gradually.

We often talk about small steps on that journey, but for many of us even a small step can feel overwhelming. If this is the case we might need to take a penguin step, the small shuffle that penguins do as they move over the ice. While each individual movement may not seem to move them very far, they very quickly add up and help to maintain stability and avoid falls. These penguin steps allow for movement past obstacles and dangers until we are clear on where we are heading and which path we can take. Once we are clear in our purpose we can slide on our bellies and swim through the sea at a much greater speed, but only because we took the time at the beginning to be sure that it was the right direction for us.

While reflecting on this phrase I realised I was guilty of trying to move faster than was helpful, willing my fitness levels to return to where they were last summer when I was being particularly active. I was caught in a cycle of doing too much and then being too exhausted to do anything. So, this week I have decided to take penguin steps and have gone back to the beginning of Couch to 5k to allow my body to build up stamina and strength slowly. It would be easy to feel frustrated to be back at the beginning, but I know that these penguin steps will soon have my fitness back to where it was (although hopefully I won’t end up sliding on my belly to end my runs).

What Penguin steps could you make towards your goal?

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