The Unbelievable Power of One Tiny Little Step

What if that giant goal in front of you was just one tiny little step?  One “micro-goal.”  How much more likely would you be able to start?

I  am learning to break anything down into one first small step, and then take that step.  Just that.  Then, all Newton-like, I’m a body in motion, tending to stay in motion.

So it’s not “Revive and resume my blog and keep at it continuously,”  because that goal has been on my list for two years!  Instead it’s “write one post” and then “identify the next one”  That’s it.  And here we are! Hi!

Research abounds in this area, but you don’t really need that.  You can just try this at home.   In my last post, Lori added this fabulous comment on how she does home decorating badly and how it is keeping her from moving forward in building her tiny dream office.  I am challenging Lori, right here, to identify just one micro-goal, and then do it!   Is it to pick up paint samples?  Then, after that, identify one more tiny step, such as choose a color!  That’s it.  Not “paint the office,” which includes many overwhelming steps.  Just one tiny step.  And then another.  Wouldn’t you all love to see Lori’s resulting tiny office?  I would!

When has this worked for you?  What tiny steps have you taken?  What giant project looms ahead for you?  What one little step could you take next?  How small can you make it?  Comment below or email me!


5 thoughts on “The Unbelievable Power of One Tiny Little Step”

  1. This is one of my favorite lessons ever and I was blessed to learn it at my very first job out of college, at Landmark School. I’d been introduced to the concept earlier, but that’s when I had chances to put it in practice, and it stuck. Micro-units, we called them. When I’m depressed, already small things can feel huge, such as doing laundry. And I’m not talking laundry as in heating the water over a fire I have to build first, I’m just talking about throwing it in the washing machine and pulling a knob. My micro-unit: carry a basket of laundry to the basement. Turns out, yup, I can do that. And then, I’m all “Newton-like, a body in motion,” and next thing I know, the washing machine is running. Almost every time I find myself putting something off, again and again, it’s because (a) it’s a task I don’t want to do and, more importantly, (b) I haven’t identified a first micro-unit. In fact, I have a micro-unit ID’d that I need to do right now. Bye!

  2. I love this, Jane. Challenge accepted! I’m going to work on my micro office, one micro-goal at a time. I’ll share with you when it’s complete. 🙂

    1. Lori – (hi!) here are some ideas about how I like to simplify and move forward when making decisions about which of many items to pick (desk, paint, etc)…. I’ll use a neutral item (a floor lamp for your office) for illustration, but I’ve found this works even for much much bigger deals. So let’s say you like one place that has a nice assortment of lamps, but of course you get there and there are ten of them that are just great (and meet your rational needs – after all, if you can make your choices based on rational data points, you are probably not needing this :-; ) . SO what I do is this – pick the first lamp that caught your eye! that’s now your choice A. now just go lamp by lamp and say – do I like A or B better? then keep A or B, repeat until you are holding the winner. the point is that if given two choices, it’s not that hard, it’s when we are faced with “how do I pick between ten lamps??” that we get paralyzed. The other thing I always try and do is remember that once I get home, that lamp no longer has to compete with all the other beautiful new lamps in the showroom – it will look the best because it’s no longer surrounded by the competition. if I can’t pick between two, then that means it doesn’t matter!

      Of course, with paint, I’m not allowed to choose, so I don’t worry about that at all anymore.

  3. We all have those nagging little things that suddenly seem easier if it’s only 1 step. It is a mindset I will try to bring to whatever it is that is feeling overwhelming. Jane, please keep at your blog!

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