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.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Chinese Proverb
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. @JackCanfield (Click to Tweet!)
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’re running a business, do five things each day that will grow or otherwise improve your business in some way, such as:
- Create a new ad to run on Facebook
- Call a potential new client
- Create a standard operating procedure manual to share with your employees
- Post something to social media
and so on…
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 six-seven 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 three 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 2019 by taking action, get my 12-month success planner to start planning.
As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!
Image courtesy of John Robert Marasigan.