The secret to success is baby steps
One of my favorite movies is - What About Bob - if you have seen it you know probably know where I am going with this article – I will relate one its basic messages to the art of maintaining life success – if you haven’t seen it it’s worth a couple hours of your time. OK, back to the premise – the secret to success is baby steps.
We all always have a great deal on our plate – career, relationship, financial, health and a variety of other things that take our time and resources and require diligence, patience and effort. We all always have decisions in front of us that require courage, wisdom and discernment, but in the end the road we travel depends a great deal on our commitment, discipline and persistence.
In the movie, the idea of baby steps comes up and is a major theme of its plot. Defined - baby steps are simply taking one small step at a time towards our goals or objectives. Let me give you a quick example.
Years ago when I began my exercise program there were times when I just didn’t feel like going to the gym one more time – I wanted to just chill instead of sweat. So I borrowed the theme form the movie and used it as my approach to exercising.
Step one – leave the house and get into my car and just sit there not starting the engine.
Then I would say to myself, “this is stupid, why are you just sitting in the car?” So I would start the engine (baby step two) and not put the car in gear. Same question as above repeated. So I would then put the car in gear and head to the gym (Step three).
Step four – I would pull into the parking lot and leave the engine running and just sit there. Same question as above. Step five – turn off the engine – again the same question as above repeated to myself. Finally I would say – “you are here you may as well go inside – so I would, but wouldn’t change into my workout clothes – step six. At the risk of being redundant, the same question “why are you here if you are not going to work out?”
You get the picture – rather than focus on the large task or goal at hand I just broke it up into small incremental steps that were easy, but moved me in the right direction.
So, success is nothing more than baby steps. Let me give you one more quick example – writing my next book.
I would sit at my computer and create the document for the book (step one). Next step, “well, since I’m at the computer why not do the layout of the chapters as well.” Up and off to grab a cup of coffee – but before I would do this I would print the first few pages of the layout with the title page and maybe the table of contents and put them on my desk in a prominent place where they were constantly visible.
Now when starting another project I would see these pages and open the document and write the introduction. Then I would say to myself, “OK this is done so why not start working on the first chapter.”
To make a very long story short - almost all of my 80 books to date were finished within 30-60 days and the approach – baby steps every step of the way and before I knew it the book was complete.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s; exercise, eating habits or any other career or personal challenge. If you will learn to break the bigger task, objective or goal into small bite size pieces that are easy to accomplish, before you know it you will arrive at your destination.
When we just keep focusing on the bigger issue we can always find excuses, rationales or reasons to put it off one more day or even year before taking action.
Try it – the next time you have a goal or objective break it down into small incremental steps and don’t worry about the outcome or goal – just keep taking baby steps and you will be amazed at your sustained success.
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw