We can only move forward putting one foot in front of the other. The same applies to our goals: we can only get closer by tackling one step at a time. What usually happens, though, is that when we think about the final goal we get a sort of vertigo and think it’s impossible. We immediately have thoughts like: I’ll never be able to make it happen; who am I to think I can do that? My follow through is garbage, I’ll never get there! And immediately after those thoughts, we give up. With good reasons!
Quote: “The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.” Walt Disney
I recently saw an interview with Oprah where she said that success is a process just like happiness and since every process is based on action, not thought, we should stop waiting for a big idea and act on as many small ideas as we can. As you take action on these small ideas, you will see the bigger idea taking form and by the time you complete the smaller steps, you will be at the feet of your dream. I find this way of thinking is crucial to get unstuck when we think we will never make it to our final goal.
In other words, what we need to remind ourselves is that no step is too small or insignificant if it gets us closer to our goal. Think of it like this: even if you have a Ferrari engine under the hood of your car, if the bolt in your tire is defective and breaks, you will not move an inch. Therefore, every little part of a Ferrari or a Fit counts! The same happens with every step towards your big goal. We often forget about this and tend to put a lot of energy in things that are more interesting or seem more valuable and disregard the simple ones, only to realize later how important it was and now we need to go back in order to move forward.
When I was writing my doctoral thesis, it was very challenging to spend the right amount of time on each step of the process. The research period seemed to extend itself for months, eating up all my time for my writing. Of course, writing was essential, but if I had started writing without doing extensive research on the topics –I actually had several topics going on at the beginning- I would have ended up with a lot of text with no research to back it up and I would have ended up rewriting most of it. This seems really obvious but when you are in the middle of the project, let me tell you, you question yourself a thousand times how much research is too much research and how soon you should start writing your thesis. Both steps are important and neither can be overlooked.
The other big trap is our own fear of making mistakes or choosing the wrong goal. Marie Forleo in her book Everything is figureoutable says, “Action destroys fear.” So, it becomes pretty clear that to actually achieve any goal we need to take action. That voice inside your head is an expert at finding all the excuses to keep you from moving forward and take the next step! More often than not, we believe our internal voice when it tells us we have no clue about what we are doing. However, let me tell you a secret: our mind tells us tons of stuff and we can pick and choose which one we want to believe. YES! It’s that simple. Why do we tend to believe the negative thoughts over the positive ones? In general, we believe they are keeping us safe, preventing us to take risks and move ahead into the uncertain future.
When you choose to believe the thoughts that propel you towards your goals and dreams, you are opening yourself to new things and, even if it can be scary, it is exciting at the same time. When you hear the little voice yelling excuses at you, thank it and then tell yourself you are in the right path, you are advancing towards your goal. And keep up the pace with all the steps ahead because every single one of them is pushing you forward and closer to your final goal.