Have you ever heard the expression “A 1000 mile journey starts with a single step”? I bet you have and you have probably seen the logic in it but has it been helpful to you? Probably not? The problem most people have with this proverb is understanding what a single step is. Read on and I will share some thoughts that will hopefullt make things clearer for you.
Most of us go through a process at one time or another where we want to reach a goal, understand that it will take some effort, take some action, keep with it for some time, make a few compromises and then give up. The reason we give up is that the change we are implementing has not been formed into a habit before the first compromise we make and as soon as we make the first compromise we are setting ourselves up for failure.
So, the real trick here is to aquire new habits, fine, but how do we do that so that they are trulky formed before we attmpt any compromise. The secret is forming smaller habits that have the potential to turn them selves into bigger habits. Make yourself a promise to do something that is so small that there is absolutely no way you can fail. Don’t promise yourself to working out 20 minutes each morning if your are not currently working out at all in the morning. It is a recepie for disaster, you will stick to it for a couple of days tops. The first step you have chosen is too long and your 1000 mile journey will fail because of it.
What you do is promise yourself to do something that is so simple that there is no way you can reasonably talk yourself out of, for example: each morning I will do 2 push-ups. I guarantee you you will always have time to do 2 push-ups. I think we can all agree that this promise is not a huge task at all and should be something you can stick top unless you have no intention at all to complete your journey. The beauty with this approach is that you will soon catch yourself surpassing your own promise and if you choose to you can then adjust your promise, you have formed a new habit you are not violating and out of pure joy you do more.
- Choose a long term goal you want to achieve.
- Define a step you can take now that is so easy and so quick you will be able to repeat it as often as you choose with no possibility of failure.
- Go back to step 2 when you are constantly (not just sometimes) overacheiving.
- Play a scale on guitar or piano three times. Long term goal: become good at guitar or piano.
- Practice juggling for 30 seconds. Long term goal: become a juggler.
- Do breathing excercises for 1 minute. Long term goal: can be anything from yoga, music or sports.
- Draw 5 faces quickly. Long term goal: become an painter or comic book artist.
- Translate 3 sentences. Long term goal: learn a new language.
How will you use this process?