Monday, August 29, 2011

The Power of Small Steps

Taking a step each day will bring you 365 steps forward in a year. [Pic]

At any one time, you feel the need to change some parts of your life. Don't you?

Some of you tried to make drastic lifestyle changes and fell flat on the floor. Some of you tried to take small steps but halted along the way. But many simply felt stuck by your problems and circumstances.

Is making changes so difficult?

Before making any attempts to change your life, there are a few pitfalls you need to recognize:

4. Wish for a breakthrough

It is difficult to work towards a breakthrough in life. More often than not, a breakthrough comes incidentally along with other plans.

When one says 'I want to be a millionaire tomorrow', he is wishing for a breakthrough. He may have to win a lottery to get there. However, when one says, 'I want to be a millionaire before age 35', he may then plan to become one.

Wishing for a breakthrough is not the same as planning for a change.

You have many victorious moments everyday.
You just have to look out for them.

3. Failure to recognize small victories

You have moments of victories everyday. However, you tend to let them pass without acknowledging, celebrating and rewarding yourself.

Small victories may not be earth-shaking but they are aplenty. Examples of victorious moments: You plan to get fit so you walk to the convenience store instead of driving; or you plan to reconnect with friends and you call an old friend instead of being buried in your busy routine.

Small victories won't bring you to your final destination. However, they encourage you along the way in this long race of change. Embrace them daily.

2. Fear for the unknown

This is a common phenomenon with human beings. You tend to resist meeting anything unfamiliar. This is one of the main reasons why making changes can be unpleasant.

Your fear lives in your imagination and so does your confidence. Change the way you think and you will change the way you feel. Visualize your success and let that fill your mind, leaving little or no space for fear.

1. Procrastination is a habit

This is a habit found in almost everyone. You know you ought to make some changes but most of the time you would say, 'that can wait'.

In "Procrastination is Best Left Till Tomorrow", I said "There is no panacea to curing procrastination. The most practical way to deal with it is to face it. However, you can choose to start small and gradually scale it up".

If you like to procrastinate, do it tomorrow.

Procrastination is best left till tomorrow.  [Pic]

Let's go back to the earlier question "Is making changes so difficult?". To me, the answer is "No" if you do it consistently, taking small and manageable steps.

You may find the 'small-steps' approach unambitious. This is understandable because the journey is so long and taking small steps may mean taking forever.

However, if you compare this strategy to that of a runner, you would understand the power of small steps.

Sprinting is reserved for the 100-meter race. The journey of change is a long one. Just like a long-distance runner, you need to pace yourself. Look out for short-term 'finishing lines' and celebrate each milestone. If you use up all your energy in one burst, you are unlikely to go very far.

Feel the power of small steps. [Pic]

By taking small steps, you tend to reap benefits immediately:
  • You fear less
  • You tend not to procrastinate
  • You see regular interim results
  • You gain confidence with each step forward
  • You tend not to fall badly

In "Things You Can Do Better, Now", I shared that "it does not take much to make a difference, immediately". That is exactly what the 'small-steps' strategy is all about. Do all the things you can do immediately and see how little achievements accumulate and compound into respectable triumph.

Anthony Robbins, a renowned motivational speaker, wrote a book on "Giant Steps: Small Changes to Make a Big Difference". It comprises of 365 simple techniques to improve your life. Many of them are ideas which you have already known while you may need to pause and ponder over some other lessons.

I suggest you do not dismiss too quickly any of those lessons in the book as 'commonsense'. After all, in real life, 'commonsense is not so common'.

The simpler the idea is, the longer you
would need to ponder over it.

In "Not-So-Common Sense?", I pointed out that many know what commonsense is but few are conscious in applying it. The simpler the idea is, the longer you would need to ponder over it.

Take your first baby step today, everyday, for the rest of your days. See how the power of small-steps launch you from height to height.

All the best to you on your journey of change.
"I dream of men who take the next step instead of worrying about the next thousand steps." ~Theodore Roosevelt~

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1 comment:

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