In January 2009 I conducted some teleclasses on making 2009 your best year ever. It was chock-full of meaty content, simple strategies, and some terrific step-by-step information. Despite all the details, almost universally, attendees said they found the idea of breaking things down into “baby steps” to be the MOST useful!
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the big picture or larger goal. Even breaking goals down into milestones and individual tasks can leave you feeling stuck. When you begin to feel that way, just think about taking baby steps.
Take one step and break it down EVEN SMALLER!
One of my clients is working on writing a very large paper for some advanced credentialing in her field. She did her planning and realized she would need to write one chapter each week in order to make her deadline. She broke that down further and identified the subject for each chapter so she knew in advance how to focus her thoughts when she sat down to work. Despite having broken things down, she still wasn’t making the progress desired.
What we discovered was that she felt limited in getting it done because she felt she needed large blocks of time to do this work. Due to her long work hours and changing shifts, this was a real challenge.
So, we broke things down into even smaller steps. After doing a chapter she realized she had a 4-step process she followed that includes gathering her current data, research, speaking with colleagues, and summarizing her findings. NOW she had some baby steps she could take throughout the week in smaller increments of time…and she was able to get it done!
Implement one new habit that will help forward your action
A baby step can come in the form of a new habit. For example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds in the next 7 months and you haven’t exercised in years, a baby step could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Or, you could commit to working out for ONE MINUTE every day like my friend’s sister did. Becky is a mom of three under the age of 3 and wanted to improve her health. So she committed to working out for just one minute. What she’s found is that even she can find one minute each day to exercise and, once she’s moving, she often works out even longer.
The key is not to radically change your entire lifestyle, but form one new habit that is a baby step towards the end result.
Track your progress
Breaking things down and forming new habits is a process. Tracking your action through a checklist, sticker chart (yes, they work for adults too), spreadsheet, or whatever works for you will help you gauge your progress. Notice what’s working and what’s not and CELEBRATE the successes you ARE having! So often my clients will have achieved a really great milestone and gloss right over it. Stop and celebrate, it will help fuel your momentum and keep you going!
Your Guilt-Free Assignment (should you wish to accept it)
You can either stay overwhelmed and stuck or get moving on your goals. Here’s what to do if you really want to get moving:
Choose one goal and break it down.
When you think you have it detailed out, pick the first step and break THAT down further.
Identify one habit that will help you move towards your ultimate goal and implement it
Decide how you will track your progress
Review your results in a week
Victoria Cook, The Guilt-Free Coach, helps ambitious working Moms create more time and focus to accomplish their goals, grow their business, and live guilt-free! Get free resources for increasing YOUR time and reducing stress at http://www.theguiltfreecoach.com/gift