To make a change, you need to break a big job into lots of smaller ones. Take writers as an example. Their biggest obstacle is the thought that the book will take too long. They see the workload stretching out in front of them, with no end in sight. The laborious research, the hundreds of thousands of words, and the hunt for a publisher. And that’s why so many would-be authors never get started. They don’t have a process. ‘The journey of a thousand miles starts with the smallest step,’ says the old Chinese proverb. If you think about the scale of the changes you’re seeking, it’s easy to get disheartened. How can you get from here to there, you ask? The answer is to take it one step at a time.
Baby steps are not only OK but sensible.
Elsewhere on this site and in my book, I talk about the need to have a list, and to break it into headings. And break those into sub-tasks. Or to use an old saying, ‘By the inch it’s a cinch. By the yard it’s hard’. You need a list of jobs, broken down into smaller sections. And then do each step. They don’t even have to be sequential. If you saw my Get Up and Go book over the months I was writing it, you’d have seen batches of 500-word articles, many in random order and which gradually came together into a logical sequence. In short, you just have to complete a step, and move on to the next one. And the first step is the most important. Have you created a list of jobs? If not, do it now. Put it down in any form you want, as long as it works for you. You can always change the types of list, and how it’s structured. But do that first step now. Feel free to start small. Want to be self-employed? Start with a side gig. Looking for a partner? Get a list of local events. Thinking of writing a novel? Start with a short story.
Practise in a small way
Want to go rowing? If you join the UK’s Amateur Rowing Association they will get you to capsize – but in a shallow safe area, where you can’t drown. There’s a message here for all of us. Taking baby steps will help you get used to your future life. If you need to cook for a dinner party, do the dish for just you and your partner. If it tastes wrong, it won’t matter.
Now write down some small steps you could take to achieve your goal.
You can download an editable version here: Taking those all-important little steps
|My initial small steps|
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These ideas are taken from my forthcoming book, Get Up and Go.
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