Caught in the procrastination box, perhaps? Or stalled out at some point in a project? Maybe it's time to pull out your ace tool: small steps. Even handier than a
corkscrew, they also never wear out and—cooler still(!)—never lead to a
hangover. When used purposefully, those steps can help you achieve
remarkable goals and/or make significant changes. Try
them on tough goals or complex projects or when you either can't get started or
can't get back on track.
Simply stated, small steps can serve as a "stealth" Hummer for daunting (or tedious) terrain. That's because their modest nature allows you to take a “softer” approach toward your goal(s), rather than forcing you to make some kind of grand assault. And therein may lie the difference between a project undertaken and one languishing on the drawing board or sputtering to a halt well short of the goal. Here are some examples...
* Spread the paint job over two or three days rather than a
single fraught day/weekend, one you perhaps keep postponing. For example, buy the paint and prep materials well ahead of the Big Day; that way, you can do any prepping and masking needed beforehand. Then, all that remains is to lay down the drop cloths and paint the walls on the Big Day.
If a second coat is required, consider doing that job the next day. Want to paint the woodwork, too? Perhaps deal with that a few days before (or after) tackling the walls. Sure, it takes a little longer to do it that way, but the job also gets done. (Try it; you might like it.)
* Write your blog post over a couple of days instead of trying to do it one evening after work (and maybe a glass or two of wine). The quality of work you do when less stressed might surprise you.
* Purge and organize your closet one shelf or section at a time instead of hauling everything out at once. Yes, that suggestion contradicts advice we often receive from clutter/organization gurus, but you might be more likely to get started if you try this method. It works for me pretty well—if I actually take the first step.
* Clean out your garage a step at a time. First step? Pick a place to start: locating a container for
giveaways. perhaps. There's your start! Now, whenever you come upon a
dispensable item, into the container it goes. Next, you find or buy something to hold items for Craig's List or a garage sale (if you're
considering either). Another container could hold the “maybes,” items
you’re not sure you want to let go of just yet. As with your initial box
or bin, you begin filling these as your time and inclination permit.
all of the containers on board may or may not take a while, depending
upon how busy you are. But they're vital to the task, not only because they create a starting point but also because they allow
you to sort through your stuff in a rational way.
As you fill the containers, you begin taking them to your favorite charity or thrift store. If you have an eBay container, perhaps you're also auctioning an item or two every now and then. And you just keep taking such steps, one after another, for as long as it takes to get your car(s) back in the garage.
Is this cool or what? With small steps, many enterprises become way less complicated. Now, you can sneak up on your objective and sometimes even do end-runs around the obstacles; now, you can tackle projects, goals, and even states of being you might otherwise never attempt.
Sure—maybe your own garage looks like a million bucks, you fox. Perhaps, though, you have a different challenge or two waiting in the wings of your life. To read more on the "step-it-out" theme, One Small Step Can Change Your Life is one of the best books I've found so far. If you can't find it at your library, Amazon carries it—for a price. Meanwhile, consider trying some small steps yourself...always remembering that the most important step is the first step! If you can't seem to take it, you know where to find me.