There’s a well-known Chinese proverb that says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Yet far too many people never even get started on that journey and make big changes to reach their destination.
They are afraid to take that first step. Why? Maybe it’s because the journey seems too overwhelming, the goal is too far away, there’s too much that needs to be done, and the exact path isn’t clear.
Or maybe it’s because they get caught up in wanting immediate results in other areas of their life and are distracted from their long-term goals.
But the thing about long-term goals is that they aren’t accomplished in a single day!
It’s not like they require one huge, monumental effort to be achieved.
The only way you’re going to accomplish something really big and ambitious – the kind of goal that will transform your life forever – is by consistently taking one small step at a time in the direction of your dreams.
So today I’d like to share three powerful strategies to help you get started.
1. Use The Rule of 5
The Rule of 5 dictates that every day you should take action on five specific things that will move you closer to achieving your goal.
It doesn’t matter how small these things are. As long as they are action steps that will move you closer to your goal, they are moving you in the right direction.
For example, if you are wanting to get a promotion at work, do five things each day that will make your promotion more likely.
- Devote an hour of your time to learning a new skill
- Sign up for some free training,
- Write a list of points you’d like to make at the next company meeting,
- Take a colleague out for lunch and ask them for tips on how to improve your performance.
Whatever your goal may be, taking five steps toward reaching it each and every day will eventually yield major progress, and often in much less time than you’d expect.
That’s because of the compound effect of all these small steps.
Taken individually, each small step you take may not seem all that significant. But when you add them up over time, they add up and lead to extraordinary results.
For example, writing a book may seem like a monumental task.
However, what if you committed to writing just one page a day?
By the end of the year, you’d have written a book that’s 365 pages long!
By committing to making small progress each day, you will have turned what otherwise may seem like an insurmountable challenge into something that you can accomplish in a year’s time.
Or let’s say you want to start reading more.
Simply commit to reading two pages a day and by the end of the year, you’ll have read over 700 pages! That’s two or three books you otherwise wouldn’t have read and learned from.
Or you can commit to reading for 20 minutes a day. You can always find 20 minutes a day.
If you read for 20 minutes a day, by the end of the year that adds up to seven thousand three hundred minutes, or 120 hours or three 40-hour work weeks.
That would add up to about 25 books read every year.
Or, let’s say you want to cut back on calories.
If you simply cut out one coke a day, by the end of the year you will have consumed 43,000 fewer calories.
That’s the equivalent of about 20 days of fasting.
This compound effect highlights just how beneficial small steps and changes can be when they add up over time.
Whatever your goals are, if you commit to small, daily progress, chances are you will be astounded by the results.
2. Link New Habits and Behaviors to Existing Actions
My second tip for you is to look for simple ways you can link positive new habits and behaviors to the things you are already doing.
For example, if you want to start working out more, do five pushups after each time you go to the restroom.
Going to the restroom is something you can’t avoid or brush off, and most people go about 6-7 times a day.
This means that if you do five pushups each time you come out of the restroom, you’ll be doing around thirty or thirty-five push-ups every day!
Or you could link 3 minutes of stretching or deep breathing or meditation or drinking 8 ounces of water to each time you go to the restroom.
Or instead of taking the bus to work, maybe you could ride a bike, or walk, or at least get off the bus a couple of stops early.
All of that extra walking or cycling will add up over time. And since you’re going to work anyway, you may as well use that opportunity to fit in some exercise as well.
One of my habits is I always avoid the elevator and walk up one flight of stairs or down two flights of stairs.
One of the hardest parts of taking positive steps toward your goals is getting in the habit of taking those small steps each and every day and making them a non-negotiable part of your schedule.
Small steps can often be easy to brush off or postpone since you may feel like they are insignificant.
But each tiny step you take is bringing you closer to your goals – while each step you DON’T take keeps you exactly where you are.
3. Track Your Progress
Finally, my last tip for you is to keep track of your activities and review your progress regularly.
When your journey involves taking a series of tiny steps over time, it might be easy to overlook the fact of what you’ve actually accomplished.
But when you take time each week to review everything you have achieved, you will be amazed at how far you’ve come – and you will be even more motivated to continue your journey.
What is one big goal that you have that you need to start taking small action steps on every day? If you’re ready to start taking action, get my free 12-month success planner to start planning.
About the Author: Jack CANFIELD, Monthly Mentor, is America’s #1 Success Coach and founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul® as well as a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at FreeSuccessStrategies.com. Jack holds the Guinness World Record for having seven books on the New York Times Bestseller list on the same day. He also holds the Guinness World Record for the largest book signing ever for Chicken Soup for the Kid’s Soul. Read More…