“Better to start small, than not at all.”

“Better to start small, than not at all.”

There are so many things in our lives that we leave unfinished, or unstarted. We use a creative array of excuses to justify why they remain so (how neat would it be if we could use that creativity to actually make them happen?). For the longest while I’ve been wanting to slowly chip away at a novel idea I had. It’s been sitting in my head for years now, developing, growing, evolving, and not once has it seen the light of day (or a computer screen) because I just couldn’t sit down to do it. A novel like that was too complex, too long to start. Overwhelmed by the task before me, and not knowing where to start, I kept putting it off…

Until last night.

I made myself a simple goal. “Sit down and write for 20 minutes. Whatever comes to mind.” I sat down and just began to type. Somehow with no expectations I actually ended up putting 3 pages worth on the keyboard. By the time I was done, 45 minutes had gone by. Tonight, I’m going to try the same thing…Instead of “writing a novel” or “write 10 pages tonight”, I’m just going to keep it simple and small. I seem to accomplish much more that way anyway.

When we set restrictions on ourselves, they can sometimes frustrate our progress towards success. Setting specific goals can be very helpful. For some things setting loose, relaxed, flexible goals may work better. Rather than worry about everything that we still haven’t done, instead we focus on the act of doing SOMETHING at all. Rather than become inundated by the steps we still have to take, we can focus on taking the FIRST step, then the SECOND step. These small steps build over time, snowballing, until before you know it you’ve actually accomplished more than you could have ever imagined.

And sometimes, getting started is the biggest hurdle. Starting small allows you to start, get the ball rolling, and build from it. Keeping momentum and inertia to keep going can use the same philosophy as you can build on things piece by piece. The philosophy can apply to anything and can be very motivating. I’ve used it many times to give myself the extra push to exercise despite the very creative excuses I sometimes come up with. “Go out for a 5 minute jog” ends up getting me out the door to start my 20 minute jog.

Starting small can be a great way to forge habits as well. Each time the urge kicks in NOT to do something, you can push back by doing it anyway if its something small. Over time, these small pushes make way for larger ones, until you have established a new habit.

Is there something you wish you could get started on, or continue? Try letting go of expectations and starting small. Small bits add up over time better than nothing 😉


Additional Food for Thought

7 Rules of Highly Effective Habits

How to Start – Zen Habits

2 thoughts on ““Better to start small, than not at all.”

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