September 8, 2020
Note From Rochelle
Last week, I wrote a post about what to do instead of quitting.
Today’s post is connected. I believe that taking small steps is the real key to moving forward when you feel discouraged and overwhelmed. Today’s post talks about why small steps work and how to start.
When You Feel Overwhelmed,
Take a Small Step Forward
When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “one word at a time.”
Humans do not do well with giant steps or drastic changes. Why do you think so many of us fail at lifestyle-changing exercise programs or diets? The fear part of our brain freaks out. We will do just about anything to avoid that big, scary goal.
Think about your own writing life and tackling that big project you’ve wanted to take on for years. Or consider cleaning out one of the places you’ve packed to the gills with stuff (the attic, garage, car trunk). Did your stomach just sink a bit? Maybe you had a sudden urge to eat chocolate or get a root canal, anything to avoid “the big task.”
Don’t worry. Take a deep breath. I have a solution for you: take a small step. According to Robert Maurer, author of One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, we avoid that sinking feeling by taking absurdly small steps toward our goals. Instead of filling our to-do list with big chunks like, “Write book” or “Clean house,” we list tiny actions like “write a sentence about taking small steps.”
Try it: Schedule a small amount of dedicated time each day this week to work on your writing goal. If writing twenty minutes a day conflicts with your other goals, then try writing for fifteen or even five minutes a day. Then make this time sacred: no distractions
You may be wondering, “How will I ever finish my book this way?” Yeah, when you have a big goal like writing a book, taking baby steps sounds counterintuitive. Think about it this way. If you wrote just 200 words a day—that’s less than a double-spaced page—you’d have a 73, 000-word book at the end of the year. Wow.
Keep in mind the old joke: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. That’s how you write a book, too: one teeny-tiny step at a time.
Your turn: How have small steps helped you tackle big goals? Share your story below.