Thursday, October 11, 2012

Small Steps and Big Makeovers

We live in the age of instant. Lives change in thirty minute segments; complete makeovers occur in a single TV episode and that includes commercials. Is it any wonder we feel discouraged if we fall away from our goals or don’t meet deadlines? Unrealistic plans can paralyze us as though we have no plan at all.
Habits die hard.
I’ve read several books lately that suggest the way to get on track is to start small. The Happiness Advantage author, Shawn Achor, tells of Zorro, the famous swordsman. Zorro had to learn to master his sword in a tiny, drawn circle on the floor before his mentor would let him expand his moves. Once Zorro mastered the smallest amount of control, the circle expanded until eventually Zorro had complete self-control and moved with ease. Jeff Olson, of The Slight Edge, talks about improving 1/3% each day, so that at the end of three days we’ve improved 1%. At the end of one year, though, we’ve improved 100%. My favorite, The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy, explains how our good and bad habits compound over time.
I’ve identified several small steps I want to take every day that will move me toward my goals. Instead of thinking about blogging once a week, which is ultimately my goal, I’m writing and taking notes on a daily basis, even if I only write a single sentence. My daily goal is to write something. A little bit of something will always trump a whole lot of nothing.
Make it easy. I keep my notebook with me so I can jot notes. This is especially helpful because my son and I share a computer now. When I get my computer time, I’m rarely thinking about a big writing project. Rather, I’m looking forward to checking Facebook for a few minutes!
At work, I commit to thirty minutes of email processing each day. Thirty minutes doesn’t sound like much but when I look at my Inbox, I can feel so overwhelmed that I feel hopeless. Now I’m making progress in small steps.
Reality makeover shows are great, but I feel more reward and self-satisfaction when I accomplish something amazing on my own. And that generally takes more than thirty minutes, even without commercials.

What do you want to accomplish? How can you break the project or overhaul into small steps you can manage on a daily basis?


Andrea Dickinson said...

Great topic, Sharon. Thanks for sharing this strategy.

Patricia Kiyono said...

Great advice, Sharon. Thanks for reminding us to keep our goals realistic and manageable.