Baby Steps- Moving forward by the inch, Not the Mile
Not Asking for your Resolutions
As it’s a new year, and we all have that “fresh start” kind of vibe (for at least a week or two) I thought it would be appropriate to ask you what one struggle are you going to conquer this year? I’m not asking for resolutions. I don’t even think making a year long goal is the best way to do things (Twelve weeks is actually a really good time frame. Check out this book for more info: 12 Week Year by Brian Moran or if you’re not a big reader, here’s a podcast about it.)
I’m focused on a few areas this year: Managing my money better, Managing my health better and Managing my mental health better. You know, just a few minor, inconsequential things ;) But seriously, since I’m a project kind of girl I keep thinking I’ll sit down one day, make a nice long list and a detailed plan, and fix Issue A with a focused effort. Problem is, if I do that, Issues B-Z are ignored for a week while I “project” my way through dealing with Issue A, and then when I come up for air, I’m overwhelmed and any progress I made on A is buried with me under my weighted blanket as I stress eat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and take a nap—or three.
Goodbye Big Projects
So I’m done with the big projects. I’m going to focus on the small daily habits that will help me improve my finances, my physical well-being and my mental health.
I’ve finally realized that although I love the payoff of conquering a huge challenge, the trade off of chaos that ensues while I’m otherwise occupied is not worth the accolades of the big reveal. Making small, consistent changes in my life that over time will produce big results is the unsexy, boring yet best way to make lasting change. After all, baby-steps are the building blocks for all of us to learn to walk, run, jump, dance...all of it. It all starts with baby steps. Have you ever met a toddler that goes from crawling straight to tap dancing? Me neither.
I’ll give you a quick example of a little change that is making a big difference for me. It’s the two-minute rule. If I think of something I need to do and that thing takes less than two minutes (and I’m not currently doing something important), I do it NOW. I don’t put it off. (Way back in another century, when I was a Mary Kay Sales Director, I remember a little chant they used to say that I believe was straight from the lady, herself: “We belong to the DIN-DIN Club…Do It Now, Do It Now!” so that may or may not run through my mind every time I tell myself to do it now.)
This sounds simple and yet it’s kind of revolutionary for my brain and how my mind works. I don’t have a good sense of time spans (how long it takes to do something). So I put things off thinking they will take me forever or that they will distract me from what I need to do, when it reality, they can often be done in about 90 seconds and the ugly truth is that I’m just procrastinating. Which feels good in the moment because I don't have to do that boring, mundane thing that I don't want to do. But not so good when my house is filled with clutter and mess and I want to crawl into a hole and not look at it for at least a month.
But That’s An ADD Nightmare
Yes, I do have to be careful because I have ADD and I could very easily flit from 2-minute task to 2-minute task all day and accomplish nothing important. So I’m not saying to get up and do whatever comes to mind if you’re already busy. (Did you catch that my fellow ADD friends? I’m NOT saying that.) It’s more about utilizing that passing or transition time.
For example, I’ve just finished breakfast and I’m going to head to my office to check emails. But in two minutes, I can load the few dishes on the counter into the dishwasher and wipe down the counters and then go to my office. That two minutes didn’t distract me from getting my emails read, it just delayed it—for significantly less time than I spend getting sucked into Instagram stories—and now my kitchen looks great when I head back to it for lunch. Which inspires me to put those dishes in the dishwasher too and maybe run those folded towels up to the linen closet before I start my after-lunch work session.
If that’s the only change I make this year, I have a feeling it will have a greater long term impact on my life than the five big resolutions I make every year—and give up on by January 22nd.
So how about you? What small, baby-step kind of change can you make to create a lasting impact on your life this year?
1/14/19. P.S. I originally wrote this blog post about a week ago. I cleaned it up and posted it yesterday, and this morning, this article, What’s Microproductivity? The Small Habit that will Lead you to Big Wins, was in my inbox from a daily inspiration text I’m subscribed to (Shine Text). It was so spot on to what this blog post is about I wanted to come on here and link it for you. Enjoy!
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