Be the Turtle

We expect everything we do to be faster and better every day. But is it helping us?

Be the Turtle
Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden / Unsplash

When I work with clients, they often fall into the category of the “Turtle” or the “Hare”. Either they are looking for a fast track to success ready to charge ahead full speed, or they are prepared for slow and steady progress with small consistent wins over time.

Both have their merits, but let’s talk about the Hare for a moment.

I’ve worked with clients who want to make drastic health changes quickly. They have tried and failed at diets. They’ve made it just weeks into their New Year’s resolutions of health and exercising when they slip back into the old habits. They have been told by their doctors that they need to change but they haven’t known where or how to start. They often feel defeated, alone, and exhausted.

All they want is to have their body feel better and to have support. But why have they not found the success they want? Why hasn’t anything worked?

This is usually the experience of the Hare.

This is only a small snapshot of what I hear from clients when they find me, but I hear it all too often. I can empathize with their pain and frustration because that was once me. If something didn’t work after what I thought was a reasonable time, I was on to the next shiny idea of what would heal my health challenges. The problem for me was I didn’t go slow. I wanted fast fixes now!

Slow and Steady

Generally I work with people over a 3-6 month period. Depending on the needs of each client, we will determine our focus together. Each one of us are “bio-individual” meaning what works for someone else may not work for you. What I know is healing takes time and it’s going to be challenging. We’ll work together to find what will work for you.

I have a client who came to see me not long ago who was ready to do a complete “180”. They had done this several times previously and always fell back into the same habits. They had shame over being back at the same place again. Knowing this, we started by remembering the importance of being gentle on ourselves as we slowly worked on changing habits. Our mantra became “be the Turtle”. I’ve since adopted this slogan for all of my clients.

When I work with someone it’s not so they can lose weight. I want to help them optimize their nutritional life so they can finally feel better. It takes time. The process is slow but changing an ingrained behavior can’t be rushed.

We live in this fast paced world where everything we do is meant to be faster and better each and every day. But I wonder, how is that helping us? We are more stressed, unhealthy, exhausted, and physically not fit. We race from one thing to the next while staring at our phones looking at someone else’s green grass with a sense of “FOMO”.

I use the analogy of the Turtle and the Hare often. People often want quick fixes and they want it yesterday. When I sit with clients we start by taking a few deep breaths and I ask them where their stress level is, which is usually through the roof. Then I tell them the story of the Turtle and the Hare.

The Hare was racing but kept getting distracted all the while thinking that he had plenty of time. Not surprisingly the Hare may experience burnout from doing too much too fast. The Turtle had his mantra “slow and steady wins the race”. As the Turtle approaches the finish line, the Hare sees that he cannot catch the Turtle and loses the race.

The Turtle Wins The Race

How many times have you started? How many times have you rushed through a process while not really gaining the knowledge you needed because you wanted to take this pill, drink this shake, or cram for 2 hours just to pass a test? We’ve all been the Hare.

I don’t know about you but I’ve never had a good soup or stew that took 10 minutes to cook. When we think about health habits we should look at them as slow small doable changes that you’ll be able to implement and do for the rest of your life. Once you create a habit it becomes your identity. Remember, the best things come over the course of time.

Be the Turtle.