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How to Overcome Maybe the Most Common Problem People Have with Making a Positive Change

Overcome the maybe the most common problem“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”
Madame Marie du Deffand

Maybe the most common issue people have with personal development and making a positive change is that it stays a daydream. That they get excited and inspired.

But then as those positive emotions fade nothing really happens.

Life continues as usual.

It’s very frustrating. I know.

I used to read about personal development in pretty much all important areas of life. But it probably took me months or years to get going with making any of those positive changes.

Why? It was uncomfortable. Making the changes felt so big that is was easier to just kept dreaming about it as frustration built up within.

So what can you do if you get stuck in daydreams? The best solution I have found for starting to make your dreams into reality is to go smaller.

Because grand changes and huge ambitions sound so inspiring and motivating. But they are also scary. So the most important step to get started and to keep going, especially when you are new to personal development, is to remove as much pressure and expectations as you can.

That is at least what has worked and still works best for me. In this article I’ll share how to do it.

Go for just taking a small step.

I have mentioned this many times. With good reason. It is one of the most effective ways to reduce the pressure and the expectations you may put on yourself and to start moving out of standing still or procrastination.

Now, taking just one small step and focusing on that is for instance a great way to become productive at school or at work once again.

But it can be used in just about any area in life.

If you want to become kinder and improve your relationships then just take one small step by giving someone a genuine compliment.

If you want to become a better listener have just one conversation today where you focus as much effort as you can on learning more about the person in front of you. And truly be there as best as you can and nowhere else in your mind.

If you like, then tomorrow you can take the same small action and just focus on that.

If you want to take a first step and get started with something then do it today. Someday so easily becomes never or at least a day several years into the future. Don’t make that mistake.

And if the first small step you come up with still seems too big to take then think of an even smaller step. Be kind to yourself in this way and make the start as easy on yourself as you can.

Go for just taking care of today.

When you feel overwhelmed, tired and just want to quit or relapse into your old and more negative habits then sit down for a minute.


Then narrow your focus greatly. Don’t look forward because then you’ll see all the things you have to do to reach your goal or to create a new habit.

Instead, go smaller and focus on just taking care of today.

Nothing more. Tomorrow will come in time. And then you will take care of that today too.

I highly recommend keeping this narrow focus daily. Sure, you may have to do some planning. Do that early in the week or day. Then shrink your focus again to make your work and life lighter and more effortless.

Focus on just the small steps and on today and soon you will have traveled quite a distance.

Image by Araí Moleri Riva-Zucchelli (license).

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  • Julie Kinnear August 26, 2014, 12:20 pm

    Inspiring! I sometimes catch myself daydreaming how the things could be if I did this and that. You made a good point that we should focus on doing small things today, instead of big ones in the future. I like this idea! Thank you for sharing it with us. I will start with the things that I’ve been postponing for a while.

  • Richard Phinneas August 27, 2014, 12:50 am

    You’re not kidding… the first step is the hardest one, it feels like you’re standing at the highest precipice of the tallest cliff, with naught but the promise that something wonderful awaits you at the bottom, if you only make the plunge. Small achievable goals are the best way to gain the confidence to make even bigger ones. This is a great way to take steps forward.

    • cheryl September 14, 2014, 2:20 am

      sometimes you need to be pushed off so you can fly!

  • EMANUEL ISSAYA August 31, 2014, 1:17 pm

    dear brother i just learn alot of things from you the way i was before its quite defferent to the way i am right now since i started learn from you brother via your mail.I am looking forward to hear more good from you be blessed dear your contributions towards my life has got big meaning kindly know that you take me far away that i never think to get there before
    GOD bless you my dear brother!

  • R.A.Burch September 12, 2014, 9:38 pm

    As someone who is still in the midst of some drastic lifestyle changes, I couldn’t agree with you more Henrik! All too often, we see the deficiencies in our lives, while overlooking downfalls in others’ To make matters worse, this is brought on a sense of inferiority (on our parts) because of what we perceive that others have…and we do not.

    Do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed; take the advice in this post and stick to small changes…while keeping the large ones (your end goals) in mind. 🙂

  • Nathan Ambrose September 13, 2014, 9:40 am

    Hi Henrik.

    That’s so true about making the small step. I’ve decided that even if I spend just 10 minutes a day working flat out toward a larger goal, then that’s a very productive hour spent by the end of the week.


  • Chris Krohn September 14, 2014, 2:17 pm

    I agree completely that small steps toward a larger goal is a key factor toward making meaningful, and sustained change. Successfully completing small steps gives us the feeling of accomplishment, which enhances our self-esteem and motivates us to take the next step. As a life coach (shaman, hypnotherapist) having worked with thousands of people over the years, I also see that a person’s subconscious limiting beliefs play an important role, too. When our conscious goals conflict with our subconscious beliefs, we will experience limited or no success. If someone has been consistently working toward a goal with no results, something deeper is interfering. Good article. Thanks!

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