We all have aspirations and goals, but what is standing between us and those dreams? Most of the time, it’s one small change that can create tremendous results. All it takes is a shift of mentality and a bit of action.
A common thing many of us do (and something I used to do) when starting on a new goal is to talk about it. It’s a habit of declaring what we’re going to do next — either for ourselves or for others to hear. Sometimes, simply talking about the thing feels like enough of an accomplishment that you feel like you’ve made progress, even when you really haven’t. Which person would you rather be, someone who “says” you’re going to do something or someone who actually does it?
This is a potential pitfall you can avoid. Simply take the thing you said you were going to do, find the easiest action you can take, and then do it immediately. For example, if you want to exercise more, you can start with a single push-up per day. With this trick, it doesn’t matter how small the action is; all that matters is that you took action towards your goal.
Continuing with the exercise example, perhaps you started with a single push-up a day for a week. After the first week, let’s say you were able to go up to two push-ups a day. By slowly dialing up on the number of push-ups, by week 52, it’s likely you’d be able to do 52 push-ups a day.
Now, if you had chosen to start the exercise routine by going full tilt and doing as many push-ups as you could, you’d likely burn out on the first day or so. You’d just be too sore to keep going. By keeping the action immediate and small, there’s lower resistance from Newton’s Third Law, and it’s easier to be consistent with the action.
This technique works the same way for any other goal or objective you’re trying to reach. Just take the smallest thing you can do, do it, and keep on building up from there. Below are some examples for how to take immediate action and make one small change based on bigger goals.
- Read one page of a new book (instead of the goal to read a book)
- Write 250 words a day (instead of the goal of writing a book)
- Eat an apple (instead of the goal of eating healthier foods)
- Start getting ready for bed an hour earlier before you usually do (instead of the goal wake up earlier)
- Put your phone on silent and away in another room while working (instead of the goal of less phone time)
While it may be simple, the small change does make a difference. Over the last three years, this philosophy has allowed me to become a minimalist, declutter our home, build a popular blog, and recently quit my full-time job. You can use the same strategies to accomplish whatever you desire.