Updated: Sep 26, 2021
Whether your goal/s are to lose weight, run your first 5K, finish school, land a dream job, or take that vacation of a lifetime, your final success will be a direct result of consistency and persistence. Taking and performing the most appropriate actions over and over, despite seemingly overwhelming obstacles and challenges, will be your most direct route to achieving your goals.
Almost 30 years ago I listened to a college professor lecture about instant gratification and the role that technology would play in expediting the accomplishment of our life tasks and goals. Although he had some interesting examples of how technological advances might create short cuts in our daily lives, he had no idea where we would be today.
Fast forward to today. We are probably busier than ever before and have more technology at our fingertips than we could ever have imagined, but we still have many of the same problems accomplishing the things that really matter to us. We are often so overwhelmed with crossing off items from our To-Do list that we still struggle with seeing our most important goals achieved.
The problem now is that we are conditioned with a “Target Up / Target Down / Next Target” mentality. However, life changing, long-lasting accomplishments don’t fall into this model. Achieving what really matters takes a nurturing approach that may simply appear too overwhelming and too far out of range. Introducing the small step approach mentality…
As cliche as it may sound, this old Chinese proverb rings as true today as it did centuries ago - “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
In Small Steps Lead to Big Changes, Jack Canfield outlines 3 strategies to get you closure to successfully achieving your most important goals.
1. The Rule of 5:
Everyday take action on 5 small things that will get you closer to your goal. Some of these action items may be repeatable throughout your journey, but visiting this process each day will help you determine what small steps are helpful and which ones need to be replaced with something more effective.
2. Link New Habits to Existing Behaviors:
For example, if you want to increase your physical activity, every time you walk through a doorway at home or work, perform some type of exercise movement. Make a list of several movements like push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges, etc and rotate them. Every time you walk through a door, perform 5-10 reps of a movement. Or maybe each time you go to the bathroom, drink 8 ounces of water, or each time you text, stand up and stretch for a few seconds.
3. Finally, Track your Efforts and Progress:
With today’s technology, we have plenty of readily available tools that allow us to record habits, journal entries, exercise results, water and food intake, sleep, etc. Simply recording these actions will not only solidify your habits, but will also outline your progress. You will probably find that you will get closer to achieving your goals and faster than you realize.
An article in medium.com recommends starting with asking yourself the following questions:
What small change can you make today that will shape your tomorrow?
What small thing can you begin nurturing into a habit?
What in your life do you want to change?
What small step can you take today to get there?
What difference will you make that may ripple through the rest of your life?
Small changes, when given consistency, yield big results.
Take your time.
Enjoy the process.
Whatever it is that you want to accomplish, is worth the time to get there. Small steps, each and everyday, will get you there faster than you realize.