Every Step Counts
Updated: Dec 11, 2019
We are all about the steps these days. My Fitbit yells at me daily to get in those steps. Take the stairs and add years to your life, so they say. We are told to "take the first step" and do something or buy something or start something. Steps. Physical steps and mental steps. Action inside and out.
The basic formula for achieving anything has always been the same, I suppose. You want something - so you take the steps to get it. Obviously, some things take more steps than others. Packing for a vacation takes far fewer steps and far less mental energy than packing to move across the country. Either way, steps have to be taken in order to get it done.
In some cases, an approaching deadline may propel us to act. We must pack before our flight takes off. External forces work to move us. But in the absence of a noted deadline, how do we force ourselves to keep going? How do we find the energy to keep climbing those steps to our goal? Here are a few reminders, I'll call them, for I do believe we have all heard these tips before:
1. Write it down. Write everything down. Write down what you want the outcome to be in vivid detail. Picture it clearly. Imagine what it will feel like to have it. Imagine your proverbially staircase and what it looks like to be at the top. Keeping this image in your mind becomes your internal motivation.
2. Identify the steps. This seems so obvious, yet we often forget to do this part. What are the steps needed to get to the end? What is before us that we need to get started on? Identify it. Don't know the steps? Find out. Google saves the day. So does a good friend.
3. Prepare for the worst. Acknowledge where you are going to face the biggest challenges and plan around them. If you know that you can't resist sugar while taking steps to cut sugar out of your diet, then put that tub of ice cream back on the shelf before you bring it home from the grocery. Steps to the top can be obstructed. Just make sure you are not creating the obstruction. And prepare for your own excuses for why you are not taking a step forward. Our excuses are usually the biggest obstructions of all.
4. Keep stepping, literally and figuratively. If you stumble and fall back a few, regain your footing and start again. Feel good about each step taken because none of them are too small and all of them are needed in order to make progress. All steps are equal once you are in the middle of the staircase.
5. Stop underestimating the collective power of your little steps. Every step along the way is a small change that leads to big changes. Small changes are the little steps we take, the small choices we make that we believe will help us reach the top. We just have to choose to do one thing differently. More importantly we have to choose to do that one thing consistently. Give a little each day and before you know it, a week has passed, or a whole month. By the end of the year, that seemingly minor change has led you somewhere different, hopefully somewhere better.
6. Never forget your why. Your reason for doing. Your reason for wanting to take action. It might help when you are most likely to give up. Letting yourself down should not be acceptable. Your goals. Your progress. Your successes or failures. Connect with them and don't allow short-term distractions to keep you from your long-term success.
It can be applied to any scenario you can imagine. Losing weight. Finishing your degree. Making a holiday meal. Becoming partner at the firm. Raising a child. It actually doesn't matter the task before you. The only way for it to get done is to buckle in and do it. One step at a time. Things do not happen magically all at once. Things happen methodically, after days, weeks, months or even years of work. Goals are not achieved because something external in the world changed. Goals are achieved because YOU changed. Goals are achieved because you decided to act. Goals are achieved because you were the one who decided to keep stepping.
As I write this blog post, my Fitbit has fussed at me yet again. I haven't stepped enough during this hour of writing. I haven't met my goal. I could ignore it. I often do. No one will really know if I do anything about it or not. Except for me. And that seems like reason enough to get up and get going.