The Art of Taking Small Steps

A lot of the time when we think about doing something or making a change it is difficult for us not to aim for the whole thing. However, this is where most of us end up in a cycle of giving up and starting over. The key here is to set small goals. For example, if you want to start getting more active/healthy, the goal should begin with just doing something active once a day. This can be anything from doing 20 pushups, taking a 30 minute walk, doing a youtube workout, or even doing 15 squats. Whatever you are able to do on that day, do it. What ends up happening is that we adopt this all or nothing mindset. You feel lethargic or tired or just not in the mood, and instead of doing an activity that fits with that mood we opt to do nothing. We want to follow the workout plan provided by that youtuber or do cardio every day and then weights 2-3 times, but when our body/mind does not allow us to stick so strictly to such a schedule it is key to then adapt to how our body feels that day. Maybe you are on a 2 week youtube workout plan but on a particular day you can’t seem to get the motivation to do such a long/intense workout. Instead, do some dance workouts, or just dance in your room. Go up and down the stairs 5 times. Do anything rather than absolutely nothing. There is of course purpose for days where we do nothing as well. But it turns into a cycle of giving up and starting over when we extend the nothing for a long period of time. When doing a 30 minute workout seems too much to handle not just on one day but for weeks, this is when we must fight and do something active as opposed to nothing at all

This applies to all areas of life. Maybe you are a college freshman and everything seems to be attacking you at once. How can I make friends,  and do my school work, join clubs, get opportunities, and take care of my health and mind? The key is again small steps. You don’t make huge goals just yet. You put one foot in front of the other until you get to the bigger goals. You start with just saying yes to a meal with someone or going to the gym. You make a handshake account or a LinkedIn profile. These smaller steps require much less stress and worry on your part as opposed to obsessing over how you will accomplish the larger goal of having friends and opportunities as well as a healthy body and mind. Once you do small things for yourself each day, these tasks become easier and before you know it, you have friends and you know when to go to the gym and which days you can relax versus study.  Before you know it, you will already be handling the things that you couldn’t fathom would work out for you. Use a planner to write out tasks that you need to do in a day and have the goal of crossing off at least one of those tasks. You do not need to cross them all off, but writing them out helps declutter your mind and stop it from feeling overwhelmed.

The small steps count. The small steps are larger than you know. So be gentle on yourself and don’t succumb to the all or nothing mindset because doing something is always better than doing nothing.