Small is Beautiful
Setting goals and having things to work towards is a great way of achieving the things that we want in life. Sometimes, however, when we set big goals everything can feel overwhelming and impossible. There is so much to do and it all feels challenging. At times like these it can be very tempting to give up, or find excuses not to take things forward, often blaming external circumstances.
This is the time to take small steps to achieve something. We cannot possibly do everything at once and trying to do so can simply feel overwhelming and make us want to give up completely. By taking small steps, however, we can get their gradually, slowly but surely.
When I was in my mid twenties I was living in Salisbury, I had a secure job at a Building Society with my own house and a low rate mortgage. I wanted to move to London and to study English. There was a huge amount to do to achieve this goal – sell my house, give up my job, find the right place and course to study, get accepted to study, apply for a grant, find somewhere to live in London, etc. By breaking things down, however, and simply taking one step at a time, I’m happy to say I did achieve my goal and in October 1986 I started to study for a BA English Honours degree at North London Polytechnic, achieving this in June 1989. The whole process of selling my house, leaving my job and life in Salisbury, moving to London and starting my studies took about a year. I kept my eye on my overall goal, however, and taking things one small step at a time, I got there. What I found was that the nearer I became to my goal, the more energised and excited I felt and this propelled me forward to take more steps.
The important thing is not to stop taking the steps, but to keep going, however hard it feels. Often it’s only when we take a step that we can see what the next step ahead is. ‘Sometimes you can only see as far as the next bump in the road, and it’s only when you reach that bump that you can see the road further ahead’.
Usually you will find, as I did, that when you take small steps and start to move towards your goal, your energy kicks in, you get into flow and not only do you feel much better you are well on your way to achieving it. When you reach significant stages of achieving your goal it’s important to give yourself a treat to encourage and reward yourself.
So next time you really want something but it feels huge and overwhelming, break the tasks down into smaller bite-sized chunks. You will know when the tasks are small enough because they will feel do-able, and as you start taking steps, keep taking the next one, don’t give up, and like the tortoise in Aesop’s fable ‘slow and steady’ will help you get there in the end.