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Do you wake up feeling motivated by your life? Or do you just want to go back to sleep? Are you stuck in a comfortable routine? Do you feel that there is something better out there waiting for you? Maybe it is a better job or a better ____ (you fill in the blank) – but you just don’t know where to start? The door to that better job or better ____ is waiting to be opened. The key to that door is… to START! The very first step you have to take is to make a change. A small change. If you are ready to start feeling motivated to get out of bed in the morning, or to go to work, or go to the gym it is time for you to think of small changes that you could make every day! When you have something to look forward to (that new or better … whatever you choose) it is easier to jump out of bed and get started with your day.
Think about Newton’s first law of motion which states that “an object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. If you want to get unstuck from the same day-to-day activities of your life, leverage the power of making small changes.
If the change that you want to make in your life seems huge to you right now, there are several ways to work past that overwhelming feeling. Don’t focus on the big change you have to make. You will just keep wishing, waiting and hoping for something to change instead of being the catalyst for the change. Break that big change down into more manageable, smaller changes. I learned this trick from Brendon Burchard, a popular personal development trainer and author, and from my many years in project management – Whatever your desired change is, break it into five easier, less intimidating steps. Then, if necessary, take each one of those five steps and break them down into smaller action items. (To learn more of Brendon’s tips, check out his new book High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way.)
Now, the next step is super important… give each step and action item a deadline. One of my favorite quotes by Napoleon Hill is “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Some people think of deadlines as negative things and they let deadlines stress them out. I get it. When it comes to your job, a deadline can be stressful. But if you have a good plan, you will make it to the finish! This is your life that we are talking about here! Giving yourself a deadline is just one way to encourage yourself to take action. Your deadlines can be as short or as long as you need… just be doing at least one thing to reach your goal every day. Like I’ve said before, even if you were to take one hit to a tree every day, sooner or later the tree will fall.
Another way to push yourself to take action is to get an accountability partner. This is someone that will push you to reach for your goals, even when you are faced with competing priorities or are tired or simply don’t want have the energy. Your accountability partner can be a friend, a family member, or someone that you work with. (If you find that a friend or family member doesn’t push you the way that you need to be pushed, your accountability partner can be someone like me, a Results Coach.)
The ultimate goal here is to take make a small change. Even small changes, every day, over time, will eventually get you to where you want to be. Small steps and small changes lead to more change. Just do something different. Even if you have to start by taking a different route to work, or drinking water instead of soda, or wearing suits instead of casual wear… making small changes gets you into the change mode. Before you know it, you will be making bigger and bigger changes with ease.
I use this technique too. I used it when I wanted to start my coaching business. Everything seemed so overwhelming… business name, website, training, marketing, etc. I just started making little changes every day that would get me closer to my goal. And I got an accountability partner.
Recently, I decided to use this technique with my health. I want to lose 30 pounds (and keep it off this time) so every week, I am implementing one positive change for my health. For example, week one, I started drinking at least 64 ounces of water every day. Week two, I started adding 30 minutes of cardio at least 5 days a week. Week three, eat at least one serving of fruit every morning. Etc. Then, once I get to my goal weight, I will implement small changes to maintain my weight.
There is a second piece of Newton’s law of motion that says “an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force”. IN other words, continuing to make small positive changes will keep the ball rolling in the direction of your goals. This technique enables you to skip having to find the courage or the motivation or the willpower to tackle a big change or a big goal.