One of the quotes I have on my annual vision board says “a year from now you’ll wish you had started today”. It’s kind of a kick in the pants for me; a reminder to take consistent action towards making my dreams and goals a reality for myself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the trap of telling ourselves that we’ll “do it tomorrow” or that we’ll “get to it later”. But there’s another quote out there that says “how soon ‘not now’ becomes never”.
Mountain climbing 101
When I get to the point where I’m exhausted from looking after little ones, trying to keep a house in order, and trying to get a new blog and business off the ground, I remind myself that action is necessary in order to get where I want to be. The mountain ain’t gonna come to me so if I want to see what’s on the other side, I’m gonna have to start climbing; even if I have to do it with baby steps.
Climbing that mountain has to start with some sort of plan; a roadmap and a strategy for how you’re going to get to the top. So, at the beginning of the year, I like to make a list of all the things I want to accomplish over the coming year… kind of like a central repository of all the hopes and dreams that I have for myself; I find that having this central list helps to keep me motivated and on track… kind of like the compass that keeps me pointed in the right direction. And at various points throughout the year I revisit my list: updating, adding, changing and, yes, even deleting things as my priorities and desires evolve. Over time, dreams can and do shift, so I actually expect to make changes to my list as the year rolls along; it’s kind of like taking a moment to compare the paths marked on a map to the reality of the landscape around you and updating your route accordingly.
Beginning with baby steps
But an up-to-date list of dreams is just a list unless you actually DO something to make those dreams a reality for yourself. So what I like to do is prioritize my list of dreams, and then break them down into baby steps: smaller items or goals that I can do to help me achieve the larger dream. For me, the key is to start small. I like to make these lists of actionable items that I can do to make progress towards my goals, and then cross them off as I get them done. I love seeing a list full of crossed off items… it really gives me the feeling of having accomplished something because it’s a very visual way for me to track my progress.
For example, with the launch of this blog, some of the action items were to “brainstorm blog titles”, “purchase URL”, “set up web hosting”, “install WordPress”, “set up Facebook page”, “write first article”, etc. These were all tiny little steps that didn’t seem like much at the time, but all those tiny little steps that I took over the past four months turned into a full-fledged blog with almost 50 posts, over 1900 Facebook fans, 280 Twitter followers, a rapidly evolving Pinterest site, growing numbers of RSS and newsletter subscribers, associated gift item and digital shops, and an eBook and guided meditation MP3 file to help people reduce their stress levels. And that’s just the stuff that’s actually live… it doesn’t include the “in progress” things that I’m working on behind the scenes! All of this was accomplished in the span of only four months just by taking baby steps every day.
And you know what? You can do it, too.
Getting yourself into the habit of taking baby steps towards your goal every single day is the best way to start making things happen for yourself and to start making your own dreams come true! If you only do one single tiny thing to bring yourself closer to your goal, but you do one every day, that’s 7 steps closer every week, 30 steps closer every month, and 365 steps closer in a year! It’s real progress. And as you start to see the results of your actions, you’ll find yourself becoming energized to do more and more. You’ll find the time to do two or even three baby steps every day, bringing your dream closer to reality even faster.
So go ahead… dream big! Then break it down into bite-sized, actionable baby steps. Commit to taking one little step towards your dream every day, and before you know you’ll be where you wanted to be. But start today… because a year from now, you’ll wish you had.