As we move into a new year, and into the season of setting goals and making resolutions, let’s do things differently. Rather than setting a radical goal, how about starting small?
A few years ago, I read a book by Robert Maurer, Ph. D. called ‘One Small Step Can Change Your Life,’ And you know what, it did! In his book Dr. Maurer writes about the science behind taking small actions in place of implementing radical change to create achievable and sustainable success.
We often set lofty goals and expectations of ourselves. In doing so, we can be setting ourselves up for failure. When a goal is so grand and seems impossible to attain, it triggers a heightened state of fear, which neurologically inhibits creativity and innovation. Dr. Maurer writes that small steps, “… disarm the brain’s fear response, stimulating rational thought and creative play.” If we consistently set big audacious goals and miss the mark, we decrease our confidence and our motivation. We are inadvertently doing the opposite of what we set out to do. We are training ourselves to fail, resulting in us sabotaging our intentions and decreasing our confidence in future successes.
On the other hand, when we break down goals into small steps, and I mean really small steps, we are more likely to accomplish them. Because they are easily attainable, they allow us to practice the confidence building behavior of succeeding. Even with the smallest accomplishment, we are scientifically wiring our brains to know what achievement feels like, which leads to higher levels of confidence in our abilities.
Practicing ‘small steps’ over the last few years has helped me to create and thrive in my business. Instead of being frozen by the overwhelming thought of starting a new venture from scratch, I just took small steps – which made each movement palatable and attainable. And with each step, I gained the confidence to take the next step. And here is where I now find myself. Exactly where I need to be, armed with a history of success that gives me the confidence to take on whatever comes next.
Another aspect of training yourself to be successful is to give yourself credit. In Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching, we use the term Credit Report. This is just another way to say, take time to acknowledge yourself and your accomplishments, big and small. Do this daily.
Many successful people will tell you that to succeed you must believe in yourself. Taking incremental steps and giving yourself credit are two small ways to help you build that belief, and create big changes in your life.
So, Happy New Year. A year of small steps leading to great success.
To learn more about the power of small steps, I highly recommend reading Dr. Maurer’s book ‘One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way’ and visiting his website at http://www.scienceofexcellence.com/.