“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”
Madame Marie du Deffand
“What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
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. Your health, finances or your relationship with yourself stays the same.
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.
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've 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're 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's at least what has worked and still works best for me. And in this article I’ll share how to do that in two simple ways.
1. Go for just taking a small step.
I have mentioned this many times. With good reason.
It's 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.
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.
- A better listener then 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.
- Someone with a less cluttered home then start by taking 5 minutes to unclutter one shelf in your bookcase or a drawer in your desk.
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 months or 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.
2. 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 a daily thing.
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.