When you are certain that there needs to be a change in your life, and you are ready to commit yourself to make the change, your natural inclination is to go big! You decide to take bold steps and go for massive dreams and make the major changes that are needed. That is the usual way it works. What follows next is as predictable as the sun rising in the east, in just a few days or weeks you become discouraged and give up on your dream and the corresponding changes that accompany those dreams. How do I know? I have had this happen in my life so many times I have lost count. What happens? The more we want to change and attempt something really big, we automatically think we need to make large changes in our lives. Writing out your goals and dreams in the quiet of your office or home and getting excited about making major changes in your life causes us to be unrealistic in how fast and how far we can go in a short period of time. In other words “we bite off more than we can chew.” In a little while discouragement sets in, and we just give up believing change and goal-setting is for other people, we believe we don’t have what it takes. Big dreams and plans require big, bold, decisive action is what I believed for the longest time. Now I know that is not how things work. To make big changes in your life, you must make small, consistent, incremental change, or as Dave Ramsey says “baby steps.” Large things are not the result of big actions done quickly, but rather are the result of small, steady, actions done consistently It is counter-intuitive, yet i works!
I have made some changes in the last year of my life. I have lost over 60 pounds. It did not happen overnight. I have gone to the gym and have implemented other changes as well. I pack my gym bag the night before and I put it in the car. When I get up in the morning I just need to get in the car and go. I have started doing other things as well. For some weeks and months, no one noticed that anything was different in my life. But you need to focus on the process and not the results. You have to re-train yourself to focus on what you can control and the outcome will take care of itself. Then one day someone started noticing and in their mind, I became an overnight success, though I had been taking small steps over several months. In the past when I wanted to get more healthy, I would commit to going to the gym for three hours a day, etc. I would set myself for defeat. Knowing I needed to make some big changes in my life, I reasoned that I would need to take bold action. Big change happens not by taking big bold action, but by making small changes and incorporating them into your daily routine.
In our bigger is better, super-size everything and let’s do an extreme make-over world this is what leads us to believe that bigger is better. How does taking small steps that lead to big results get incorporated into your life?
- What is one small action I can take today? You have to start. It does not matter how small, just get started. Do something!
- Doing something small meets less resistance. Everything worked against me when I decided on making a big change immediately. Doing something small at first seems of little consequence but over time it makes a big difference.
- Slow is not the problem, stopping is the problem. Slow and steady is not the enemy, giving up is the real enemy.
- Small = momentum! Being able to commit to small actions over time leads to momentum. Once you get momentum it is like having the wind at your back.
- Remember that nearly everything in life started small.
- Small is not overwhelming. If you are going to attempt something, small actions and steps seem more reasonable and doable.
“Success is the sum of small efforts down repeatedly day in and day out.” (Robert Collier). You get nowhere until you take the first step. What is it in your life that you need to change? What dream do you need to see come to pass? Do not let it overwhelm you, just begin. Understand what you want to see accomplished and then break it down into small steps and just begin. You can always adjust and refine. The secret is get started! You can do this, I know you can!