If you have ever felt like a charter member of the Start Big - Finish Small, if at All Club, you may feel overwhelmed when you set targets that seem difficult to reach. Regardless of the level of effort - you have options. The breakthrough you need could be to consider thinking small to help you transform your life.
Taking On More Than You Can Manage
“Think big!” may be the war cry of pioneer business visionaries but, it could be the thing that rocks the boat over in the case of the average Joe. On countless occasions, I’ve been full of ideas that I’d finally be able to establish a brand new plan or goal and I'd jump out of bed with gusto. But like starting a race without breakfast, I would soon realize the problem was that I would typically bite off more than I could chew and expect quick success and no hitches. Often, the pain of disappointment left me feeling too burned out to follow through.
Break It Down to Bite-Sized Pieces
My stumbling blocks from where I am to were I want to be seem daunting when I look at the size of the task and how long it may take to get there. I make every effort to choose my "best" options instead of doing more thinking that equates to doing better. By focusing more on the here and now, and not so much or so far in the future, I am able to find a steady pace that works. My take on the tortoise, who may be slower, but wins every time!
Whatever we hope to gain in our endeavors, before we can achieve something in life, we need to decide precisely what it is we want. Be specific in defining what it is you want to achieve. Knowing what you are looking for makes it easier to find. Work to understand the ‘why’ for whatever you desire to achieve. Goals are often more "real" if they are written. Decide what is a reasonable length of time, and be realistic and measurable so you will have a target at which to aim. I’ve heard it stated, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time!”
Here are a few tips to help you do this:
- Determine the steps involved. Brainstorm your options. These are the stepping stones towards achieving your end result.
- Simplify the action plan. Think of the steps as actions. When you understand what actions are needed to achieve your desired result, you can pull these together into a plan.
- Establish daily and weekly tasks. When you create your action plan, work out a series of targets that you believe are possible to reach on the way to your goal. Keep it simple with many small victories to keep the momentum.
- Keep on track. The small-scale approach is flexible and allows for instant changes. On a weekly basis, ask yourself what happened and whether you could do anything differently. Keep on tweaking and completing the simple tasks to have the end result well within your grasp.
- Don't focus on long-term. Focus on your daily actions plans and not so much on the end date. Don't dwell on what’s to come in the future. Like the tortoise, concentrate on one small step and repeat consistently.
- Resist the desire to biggie-size. We often want results fast and are impatient when it comes to delaying gratification. Though you may be tempted, avoid trying to rush things and biting off more than you can chew. Refer to the reasons why you want the desired goal. Concentrate on where you are in the journey, and not on what’s next. Reflect on how far you’ve come and what a waste it would be to throw in the towel now.
In order for us to grow, we need to allow ourselves to be stretched at times. In most endeavors, if we don't grow, our plans and goals won't either. Long-lasting lifestyle change requires an investment of our time and effort, as well as some patience.
The road to achieving great things is much less intimidating when you break down the end result into smaller steps. And absolutely nothing can compare to how you will feel when you finally make it to the place you wanted to be.
~ Sheri xo
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Sheri Geyer is a Personal Coach Empowering Women to Do Life-by-Design!
I’ve been writing about the value of simplicity for nearly 20 years.... and if you asked, I'd have to say that Minimalism is best described as pursuing the Right Things so that we are able to Focus More on the things we Enjoy Most!
Simply put, it is the identification, and then the continual choice, of living (doing, buying, seeking) ONLY what is essential. Quite similar to a life of simplicity, Minimalism elaborates on the saying, “less is more” to make it a declaration that “less is better.”
After a major life change in 2002, and armed with a belief that God has and always will have a plan for me that is better than I could ever design for myself, I set out to learn what was most important, most enjoyable, and most aligned with His best for me. My goal was to best utilize what He had taught me in my life up to that point.
Here is what I found:
I have been given the privilege and responsibility to prioritize my life! If I avoid doing it, someone else may step in and take on that role in a way that serves their needs best. Taking the time to prioritize our life and choices eliminates our being tied and / or obligated to others expectations.
I often ask myself, when I am at work or play, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” It helps me to zero in on what is most important in the moment. If it isn’t important to me at the present time, I simply choose to redirect my focus to what matters and what will have the most impact on the purpose I am seeking to achieve.
I want to live a life by design, not default. I will do this effectively by learning to master my response to situations and be able to turn things around, as opposed to living like the bow tied on a kite string based on what is happening to me at any given moment.
I don't need to have it all and I don't want to do it all. It is imperative for me to first clarify and then be willing to make the necessary trade-offs in order to pursue what is most important to me. One of the things I remind myself when I am struggling to stick with my plan is this: "I choose to NOT trade off what I want MOST for what I want right NOW!"
I have learned that I do not need to be 'plugged into' all that is happening either virtually or globally all of the time. Rather, I have discovered that the most important thing for me to focus on is what’s front and center of my actual world at the present time. I continually find that focusing on the few essential ideas right in front of me is typically more rewarding, and offers greater potential, than the many that may be trying to distract me.
The best thing I've learned is when to say no to the nonessentials so I can say yes to the things that really matter. I find it easier not to commit if I'm not certain that I can give 100%. This requires me to have the courage to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully so that I can say “yes” to those things that I truly value and where I know I can purposefully make a difference.
The effectual pursuit of simplicity (minimalism) is about arriving at a deep understanding of what leads to a happy and meaningful life for each of us personally. It has never just been about sacrificing or getting rid of stuff.
Sheri Geyer is a Personal Coach Empowering Women to Do Life-by-Design!