Is it really that easy?
Yes, I use this trick for myself a lot. And just as often, I coach others to use it also.
If you are looking at a huge problem, just taking one step toward the goal can break the cloud of feeling overwhelmed. You take the step, survive, turn around, and look at your progress. You made it! Take a deep breath. Now you can do it again. One step at a time.
You may also be paralyzed by not knowing exactly what should be done first. Break the ice by just picking something. Throw a dart or flip a coin, if you need it. Think of it this way: some movement is better than not doing anything at all. You may be staring at a pile of lumber that needs to be a dog house. Skip to the end, go out, and buy a dog bed. There’s nowhere for it to go, but it had to be done sooner or later! Now it’s done, and you can keep working on everything else. Once you’ve broken out of the paralysis, you will be better able to assess and decide a reasonable order for all the rest of the steps.
If you theoretically want to tackle a big project…but it’s a little scary…you can build on a small success to finish the big idea. Find one thing that’s easy enough to do; it will get you a little bit closer to where you want to end up. Do it. Wow! Now it’s done, and you have moved in the right direction. Things are happening. Keep it up! A step in the right direction creates a tiny bit of momentum that puts you on the right track, even though it’s at the very beginning of that track. Now you’re ready to keep going.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Sometimes we come to a place where we look at a project or a goal or an assignment and think that it seems a bit too much — perhaps impossible. It’s tempting to give up before even trying. Why bother? You may be like Scarlett and decide to tackle it tomorrow…except tomorrow never comes. Maybe the sky will fall before the deadline, and then it won’t be an issue. One can always hope, right?
Just like it is impossible to swallow an elephant whole, we can’t tackle big things overnight. BUT — they can be done over time in pieces.
- Break it down. What are the “bite-sized” parts of the whole project? What are little goals that will get you to the big goal? Making an action plan doesn’t just map a path to the end, it also helps break the big into lots of littles.
Once you know the little pieces, you can simply look at the one next step you need to take, just like chewing one bite at a time. It works.
- Start somewhere. I use this trick for myself a lot. Just taking one step toward the goal can break the cloud of feeling overwhelmed. That step in the right direction creates a tiny bit of momentum that puts you on the right track, even though it’s at the very beginning of that track. Now you’re ready to keep going!
- Stick to it. It’s so tempting to want the easy solution, but there isn’t always a quick fix. Sometimes we simply need to keep chewing.If you know the path, know the steps, know you are on the right track, keep walking. It may be a long walk, but your faithfulness and hard work will pay off.