We live in a world where we can get almost everything we want on demand.
From two-hour shipments and food deliveries to quick-fix plastic surgery — we can receive many of the things and results we want immediately.
In many ways, I love this on-demand culture. I enjoy speedy deliveries and being able to access my favorite television shows whenever I want.
But the availability of immediate results does create a problem. It leaves many people to think…
If I can’t have it now, I don’t want it at all.
It will take too long, so why bother?
It’s too much work, so forget it.
I have a problem with that attitude because it sells a lot of people short.
When results seem too far in the future — people give up on trying to get there and leave a lot of missed opportunities on the side of their road.
The Fear of Far Distances
I used to struggle with this fear of far distances.
There were things I wanted, but wouldn’t strive for because it felt like they were too far away.
- I wanted to start going to the gym, but the thought of starting to exercise after never regularly working out held me back.
- I wanted to learn Spanish, but when I imagined all of the work, all of the words, all of the conjugations — I couldn’t imagine how I could absorb it all.
- And, I wanted to start a blog. But seeing an empty WordPress dashboard with one default post made the idea of trying to fill it with words seem impossible.
I knew I needed to start looking at these goals in a new way if I was ever going to accomplish them.
So, I created the mantra “Small Steps, Long Time, Big Changes.”
This philosophy is simple.
If I could take enough small steps over a long time, I could create big changes.
I realized that when I wanted to accomplish something or make a big transformation — it was daunting to look at the finish line and imagine the long road to getting there.
So, I stopped doing that.
Instead of imagining the long road to accomplishment — I imagined the long road of life.
I realized that the path I’m on — the path we are all on — is far and deep. There is a lot of ground to cover, and the passing days that move us go faster than we think.
Time is going to push us along whether we like it or not — so we might as well be doing something along the ride.
Our little steps will accumulate over time to build big things.
Small Steps, Long Time, Big Changes
I’m of course, not the only person to realize or promote the idea of taking small steps over a long time to make big changes.
Author and coaches have their own terms for this. I’ve seen it called “mirco-resolutions” and “tiny habits.” BJ Fogg did a TED Talk about it.
And, psychologists also promote the strategy of breaking big goals into small phases to create bigger change and lasting habits.
I also realize that there are things that can’t wait, people who don’t have as much time, and exceptions to every circumstance. But for most of us — we have a long road in front of us.
So if we have big things we want to do with our lives — we can’t act like we don’t have the time to make it happen.
We need to see that we can simply break down every goal into small steps that we can complete over a long time to create big changes.
Every small improvement is closer to our goal than no improvement at all.
We’re Always Moving Ahead So Do Something About It
This “Small Steps, Long Time, Big Results” mindset has helped me get closer to where I want to be, day by day.
- I started using the elliptical for 15 minutes twice a week. I hated every minute of it, but I slowly pushed myself to increase the time. Now, I am able to enjoy 40 minutes on the elliptical three to four times a week.
- I got the Duolingo app and starting practicing Spanish 15 minutes a day. Am I ready to go to Mexico and speak fluent Spanish tomorrow? No, but now I can at least order cheese sauce and ask for the bathroom, something I couldn’t do weeks ago.
- I started a blog project that now has almost 600 posts, helped me get my first professional writing job, and lead me to eventually, five years later, start my own business.
Do I wish I could have gotten to where I wanted to go faster?
Do I wish I could get to where I want to be quicker?
But, I know that if I had rushed these things, I would be even farther behind than am I now. Or worse, I probably would have quit altogether.
My small steps moved me. Time moved me. And by combining the two, I moved myself to closer to being the person I want to be and having the life I want.
So, I’d like to challenge you with your own “Small Steps, Long Time, Big Results.”
What have you been wanting to do that you are putting off?
What small steps can you take today that will create big results?
Is it to slowly learn a new skill? Write a sentence a day until it’s a book? Take one class a year until you get your degree?
Of all of my “Small Step, Long Time, Big Results” experiences, the best one has been the piece-by-piece building of an online presence that allowed me to build notoriety, authority, and eventually, my own business
It took time, but it was worth it.
And, I want to encourage you. If you are unhappy with a situation in your life, you too can take a small step every day to change it.
It takes time, but it’s worth it.
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