“The journey of a thousand miles begins and ends with one step.” – Lao Tzu
Have you ever given up on a goal because it seemed so far away?
Perhaps you’ve been on diet after diet – only to give up each time.
Maybe you’ve thought about studying part-time – but it’ll take you years to get the qualification you want.
Or perhaps you’ve started a huge long-term project, like writing a book – only to stop a few months later with little to show for your efforts.
You might feel like you need to take huge strides to see the success you desire, but starting small will help you get moving, even when your motivation is lacking.
Here’s how it worked for me.
Just a few short years ago, I was a proclaimed “reluctant writer”. I had a blog on my coaching website, but updated it infrequently, and had few readers.
Then in 2012, I started a new project called The Quotable Coach. Since then, I’ve sent out five new quotes with reflections and exercises every single week, and I now have 1,200 readers signed up to get these straight to their email inbox’s.
Each quote is 100 – 200 words long, so I’m writing 500 – 1,000 words per week. That might not sound especially impressive – but this small, consistent effort over the course of two years has given me a huge website with an archive of over 500 quotes, and a book of 365 of the best quotes that’s now available on Amazon.
Three years ago, I couldn’t imagine writing a whole book. But today, I’m a published author. What dreams do you have that you could achieve with a small, consistent effort?
Here are a few examples:
• If you too want to write a book, writing 200 words per day will give you over 72,000 after a year. That’s a whole novel.
• Even if you just wrote 200 words every Saturday and every Sunday, you’d have almost 21,000 after a year. Keep it up for two years, and you’d have 42,000 words – enough for a full-length non-fiction book.
• If you need to lose 100 lbs, you might feel like it’s hardly worth trying. But cut out 500 calories per day (the equivalent of a Mars Bar and a can of coke), and you’d lose one pound per week. After two years, you’ll be at your goal weight.
• If you want to run a marathon but you’re currently a bit of a couch potato, you might start by walking briskly for 10 minutes each day. By gradually increasing the amount you do, you could be running that marathon next year.
It does take time to achieve powerful results – but a “little and often” approach will get you there sooner than you might think.
If you’re reluctant to spend that amount of time, then here’s a perspective to consider: time marches on whether we want it to or not.
In fact, you’ve probably had some of your dreams for years – perhaps even decades. If you’ve not succeeded in making progress in the past, because you keep waiting for the right moment to take massive action, then perhaps it’s time to commit to taking the small, daily steps that will get you to your goal.
Please share your own goals, and the small steps you plan to take, in the comments.
Barry Demp is author of The Quotable Coach: Daily Nuggets of Practical Wisdom, available in paperback and ebook from Amazon. Each daily entry is designed to take under a minute to read – a great way to start building the “little and often” action habit.