We all have dreams. We often fixate on whether we’ll actually achieve them rather than actually starting, which is where the importance of small actions comes in. When you take small steps every day towards the dream, you are moving closer to it. When you look at your goals or dreams in this way, you reduce the overwhelm associated with starting something new and instead create small actions that lead you closer to your destination.
It’s not easy starting something new or working towards a new goal in our lives. We often need to change habits and behaviours which can take us out of our comfort zones. No matter how much we say we want a particular goal like getting fit or moving to another country, our fear will remind us to play it safe.
Fear will show up a lot. Naturally, it’s there to protect you. When you do feel apprehensive about a goal, think about what that fear might be telling you. In the case of a fitness goal, the fear could be suggesting that you need to explore different ways to exercise because for example, you hate the gym and prefer swimming. It might be telling you that you’ll need to take smaller steps in order to achieve your goal. In the case of moving country, the fear might be telling you that you haven’t done enough research about where you’ll live or how much it will cost.
Either way, fear doesn’t just show up for negative reasons. It shows up to keep you safe, to play it safe as this is your personal reference point for your life. However, if you get antsy and you want to do more with your life, you have to be brave enough to explore what your fear is telling you.
Fear will show up in various different ways. This amplifies the importance of taking small actions towards your goals rather than doing too much all at once.
In our instant gratification society, taking small steps towards our goals can feel futile. It can feel as though it will take too long to reach them. We’ll then give up when it feels like nothing is happening but oftentimes, that’s when everything is happening. Trust is a major factor here too. You need to trust yourself that you’re doing what you need to do and that your results/ goals will happen.
You can of course put timeframes in place for accountability and rewards but always be flexible. Your fear will come in to derail you if you let it. Just be mindful that this can happen and choose to remember the importance of small actions and allow yourself to succeed.
I’ve put together 5 important small actions that you can do daily to help you with achieving your goals. Trust me, this does work. You might feel apprehensive but that’s because this is a new way of thinking. It doesn’t align with society’s messaging of instant gratification. This is why you need to break-through fear and choose to think differently if you really want to succeed at your goals.
Every day you will need to remember why you are taking the actions towards your goals. You need to honour the fact that small steps will lead to big wins and believe it.
Every small action will lead you towards your goals but if your goals are huge like buying a home or moving country, you might want to break those down even smaller. In simple terms, you’ll need money in the bank to do both – a significant amount of money. Therefore, it’ll be easier to work towards the goal if you can reward yourself along the way with money milestones e.g every 5k you’ll reward yourself.
We’d all love to be working on our long term or bigger goals all the time but there will inevitably be other goals or actions we need to take in our daily lives that are important. So it’s always helpful to identify your MITs each morning. That way, you get the most important or even difficult tasks (like a tough workout) done first and then move on to the rest of your day. You could also do this on a weekly basis if daily is too granular.
The 80/20 rule argues that 20% of your efforts are responsible for 80% of your results. So, if you’re able to identify which 20% of your work is giving you your best results, you can make sure that your daily goals focus on those specific tasks.
Rather than flopping on to the sofa at the end of your day, take a mindful moment and review what you have achieved in your day. Focus on what you have achieved. It’s too easy to look at what you haven’t and send yourself down a motivation black hole. You must focus on what you have done and hopefully, each day you’re doing something – a small action – towards your big goals.
When you start to look at your life and your goals in less absolutes or all or nothing thinking, you open yourself up to so much more. You’ll be more able to spot opportunities, you’ll be more self-aware which will help you stay motivated. Being flexible is a key part of achieving any goal we have for ourselves. Nothing ever goes the way we think it will, there will always be something that goes a different way.
But remember, the sky doesn’t fall in. You just have to get used to this. Accept that it’s a part of life but that you are committed to your extraordinary life. By committing to yourself you will almost always succeed.
I’m Puja McClymont – certified coach, wisdom teacher, speaker and host of the SELF Care 101 podcast.
I help professionals who are seeking direction and contentment in their lives by taking their work, health and relationships to a new level of success, so that life becomes more impactful, meaningful and fulfilling.
Through wisdom traditions and modern personal-development techniques, I teach you how to understand your Self better to achieve your goals.
Discover tips and insights through my podcast, blog and email edit.