Every task can be broken into small steps. Is that important? More important than you might realize. Taking a small movement in the right direction is a simple way to bypass fear. It is always fear that creates procrastination. And once fear sets in, any shiny object nearby will take us off course. This whole process has to be bypassed. With the right strategy, it's not that hard to do.
So, I've created a new mantra for the modern era: "Small steps forward, no steps back." That saying takes the place of "Two steps forward, one step back." I came up with that mantra because we are all fighting a battle against ourselves. And there are times techniques are needed to get us over, around, or through the obstacles we face.
You know what I mean. You pick a goal or a dream and you want so much to move
forward. Only you either don't move forward or you start to move, but only for a short distance. Your negative mind has kicked in. It doesn't like change. Something might happen so what does it do? It throws a healthy dose of fear to you to stop you in your tracks. It is trying to save you from possible pain. A lot of time that is all it takes to cause a person to quit on their dreams.
Life isn't always easy for anyone. We all know that. But it is so much
tougher when you are fighting yourself, an internal battle. Your biggest opponent in life is you. You need to stop sabotaging yourself. That's easy to say, but how do you go about doing that?
To start with, realize that like the top of this page, and every page on this website says, "Life is primarily a mind game." What that means is for all of us mindset is everything. That is where you start. With yourself.
You probably need to make some changes to your mindset. It is like a golfer changes who changes their grip on the club to get a better stroke. Changing your mindset means changing your life.
The course of change will be easier to navigate if you have some tools to help you rework your mindset. You will find the tools you need in the motivational toolbox on this website. And one of the main keys to winning the war you fight against yourself is to use the Small Step strategy when internal resistance is high. Always remember: The higher the resistance, the smaller your steps need to be.
Here's a key point that most people miss. Your brain, that place where your thoughts and emotions are produced, was never meant to make you happy! What?! Yes, it's true. Your brain's primary purpose is to help you survive and avoid pain.
It began way back with the caveman. The caveman faced obstacles that we don't face today. Their brain gave them advanced notice that something was horribly bad. So bad, death might be imminent. Well in today's world, that is no longer the case. Our daily existence doesn't involve running from animals that are faster and stronger than we are. But the primitive part of our brain, which houses the Amygdala, doesn't know that.
The Amygdala is the part of the brain where “flight and fight” originates. It’s purpose is to keep you safe and help you survive. The goal of the Amygdala hasn't changed since the caveman. Remember the goal back then? It's to help in the face of a threat. Well, even a positive goal places us outside our comfort zone and thereby causes pain. A positive goal does that!
When it happens, the Amygdala goes into action and with our subconscious lets loose a flood of stress hormones that says...RUN. Or if you can't run, FIGHT! It's called "fight or flight." You've probably heard that phrase before. Well, here's where the problem comes in. There is also the phrase, "No pain, No gain." Notice that second word. Pain. The Amygdala is going to pick up on that.
So, to grow, to get better, we have to get out of our comfort zone. And like I said above, that causes pain. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. It doesn't matter - the battle begins.
What do we do? You reduce the size of the steps you have to take to achieve your goal. And, if at any time, you feel emotions saying stop or leave, that's a clue you have taken too big a step. You've moved too far, too fast. So easy solution - take smaller steps!
People talk about how someone is an "overnight success." They just don't know what they don't know. They have no clue of all the work that went on behind the curtains so to say. The practice, the late nights, etc. If you want the philosophy of success, you need to check out The Slight Edge. Also, The Daffodil Principle.
Ask anyone who knows Michael Jordan about his work ethic. First person into practice, last person to leave. Or Steve Jobs. He said you have to have a passion for what you do. Why? He says because it is hard work and any rational person would quit. You get the idea.
If what you want is really important to you, you have to be committed. You have to have a task orientation second to none.
And you have to take small steps in the right direction so your subconscious won't be worried you are outside your comfort zone. Jim Rohn use to say, "Direction equals Destination." You have to keep going in the right direction. Do that long enough, no matter the size of your steps, and you will achieve your goals. And always remember, everyone overestimates what they can do in a year, and underestimates what they can do in a decade. So take those small step and obtain the life you want.
Set your direction in life by writing down some goals. Then use the Small Steps technique to help you get there with the least amount of pain.
For more validation of this small steps technique, check out this video by Tim Ferris who wrote The Four Hour Workweek, and so much more. This link is to his video titled Tricks for Combatting Procrastination. In it, he talks a lot about taking small steps.
Go to the top of this page on Small Steps.
You might want to check out the Toolbox if you haven't yet.
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