Everyone has something we want to change about our lives. It’s why traditions like New Year’s Resolutions exist.
But, by halfway through the year, most of us have let those resolutions fall by the wayside.
Whether your resolution was to work out more, or find a new job, or hone a new skill, it has likely become the last priority amongst the bustle and chaos of day to day business.
But is there a way to follow through on the changes you want to make?
Is there a way to train ourselves to improve and maintain it?
Of course there is! And I’m going to tell you how.
The answer is actually quite simple: Start small.
When we make resolutions or proclamations for changing ourselves, we usually do so with grand visions of a future better self and better life in mind.
Imagining what you want is great—but it’s easy to become disheartened when you realize the fitness goal you have in mind is going to take months of sweat and hard work. Or that the hobby you want to learn is pricey, or much more difficult than anticipated.
People inherently have short attention spans, and are drawn to instant gratification.
This means that big goals like fitness, skills, or new careers (three of the most common resolutions made by Americans) quickly become frustrating when they do not yield results.
Also because of our short attention spans, we fail to pace ourselves, and as a result we burn out on our goals by halfway through the year.
But there is an easy fix.
By starting small, you allow yourself to ease into the change you want to make, eliminating the shock of diving in headfirst and increasing the chances of keeping up with your goal.
Think of it this way. If your goal is to work out consistently, are you more likely to keep up with it if you do an hour long workout 5 times a week, or a light 20 minute workout twice a week?
Probably the second one, right?
We are programed to grow and change throughout our lives, but our minds and bodies can only learn so fast. When we leap into a gigantic goal without planning or preparing, our minds and bodies fight back against the change.
So, to help ourselves learn new habits that will help us reach our goals, we have to start small.
You can keep your big goal in mind, but once you have that goal figured out, start breaking it down. Every little piece you break down becomes a smaller, easier goal that you are much more likely to maintain.
If your goal is to start a business this year, make a list of all the things you need for your business. Then start organizing that list into small tasks and goals.
For example, let’s say first you need to write up a business plan, then a mission statement for the company. Then you can hone the product or service you will provide. Next you can set daily goals for reaching out to potential customers or investors, and so on until your business is on its feet.
By breaking down a goal as daunting as ‘start a successful business’ into smaller steps, suddenly what seemed impossible is completely within your capabilities.
It’s the same with any goal, whether that is related to your professional life or your personal fulfillment.
It’s always great to have big goals in mind for yourself. That’s the first step in building the life that you want for yourself.
But it’s essential to remember that any goal worth fighting for won’t happen overnight and can end up a huge stress if you take it on all at once.
But by breaking you goals down into small goals, you make the task manageable and ensure your short-term and long-term success.