The little things matter. This is true no matter what your stated goal is. But I would like to expand on this idea. You can only accomplish big things by doing little things and precisely for this reason the little things matter, a lot. Neil Armstrong famously said “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” as he stepped onto the moon for the first time. It was indeed a small step, but a step that was enormous when measured by accomplishment.
Every goal that you have requires a multitude of small steps. You may overlook the value of initial steps because they do not create obvious results. While the small final step gains the ultimate recognition, the earlier steps are of equal or perhaps of even greater significance. Without the daily practice regimen of an athlete, the game winning score would never happen. Without the years of medical training and study, a surgeon cannot perform the life saving surgery. And without effort over a long period of time, very few worthwhile goals can be attained. You must therefore learn to celebrate the little things. The routines that take you from beginner to advanced, from novice to expert in your chosen path.
Start by making a Next Step Plan (NSP). Your NSP only needs to resolve one question. What step do you need to take to get closer to your goal right now? If your goal is to lose weight, it could be as simple as borrowing the diet book you have been thinking about reading from the library. If it is exercise it could be buying the pair of running shoes, or if you have them already, scheduling a time in the immediate future (preferably within a day or two) to go running. If your goal is learning a foreign language, your NSP could be setting aside time to research learning alternatives, or registering for a local class. The main thing to focus on is taking action. You need to do something.
Preparing an NSP can be fast, fun and liberating. You do not need to map out a system for the rest of your life before you take the first step. In general, it is best not to even try to do something like creating a whole plan for a large goal. Your goal is likely to change ten times before you get to it, and your mapping will just be a hinderance to progress. Instead, use an NSP to move you towards your goals step-by-step. Once your NSP has been accomplished, simply make another one and keep doing this as you move towards your broader goal. For best results write your NSP down. I will go running tomorrow morning at 7:00am. Once done, put a check on it and keep it as a motivator. Once your have a pile of these successes, it will be easier to convince yourself that you can really do this.
Keep on challenging yourself. If you were able to go running once a week. Step it up to twice a week. If you were able to put away $100 this month for savings, go for $150 next month. The little steps don’t seem so exciting, but they will ultimately result in the biggest wins.
Tell me about your goals and any questions you have about making an NSP for yourself. I love to hear from you.