Go Little to Go BIG
When we think of a goal that is worth accomplishing, we usually go big. We focus on the perfect outcome, such as getting the promotion, quitting smoking, losing those extra pounds, writing the book, changing the job, or meeting that ideal person to date.
But when you hear the actual stories of individuals who make meaningful things happen, they start with one tiny action and repeat it daily to build a habit.
Last week, I had an insightful and emotionally moving conversation with an individual who lost 140 pounds. “How did you do it?” I asked. Her response was straight from the research on habits, “Day by Day, I didn’t decide to lose 140 pounds, I chose to exercise each day, and chose to eat healthy each day.” The small decisions she made each day became monumental life changes. Habit building and habit change is a moment-by-moment process, build the good and get rid of the bad. When we go too big, we usually go home. The desire for significant, instantaneous change leads to procrastination, attempts at perfection, and avoidance when we fail. No marketing expert will ever advertise that habit change is a marathon; they sell the sprint. Please don’t believe the snake oil salesman; it takes time and repetition to build new neural networks or reroute old ones. Small steps, continuously completed, construct larger habits that lead to your desired result. Have you seen a baby learn to walk? Research shows that infants learning to walk take about 2,400 steps an hour, which is enough to cross seventeen football fields, and they fall a hundred times in a single day. The small steps add up to significant gains! Go little, to go big. Two months ago, I decided to take the step of writing every morning for just 10 minutes. Within a month, I nearly hit 100 pages. I found that I wrote longer than ten minutes, and I also realized that if I had been writing two to three pages a day on my next book I would already be finished. Do a little bit each day and watch how your quantity of work compounds and your positive habits grow. Time for a small action!
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