There’s a lot of advice out there to think big. Plenty of women leaders argue that most women don’t dream big enough. Instead, we belittle ourselves and try to fit into small boxes where we’re more comfortable.
There are tons of books on the subject, and motivational speakers can craft entire careers on helping women increase their self-esteem and play big.
I’m all for it.
However, when it comes to transformational work we have to start small.
Take action on your BIG dreams for long-lasting results
It’s okay to dream big, but then break your dream down into small, achievable steps. Create different projects to get you to your end-goal and keep drilling down until you have tiny action steps you can take each day to get you closer to your goal. Intentional action gets you results.
This requires you have a big goal in the first place, so this is where all that dream big advice comes in handy. But too many of us dream big and then get stuck, overwhelmed and de-motivated and end up falling back into old patterns.
Not only do you need support from those around you to help you achieve your big goals, but you also need to convince yourself that you can succeed. And that is why starting small is imperative.
Break down your goals into achievable steps
Let’s look at this whole concept through a healthy living lens.
You might have set an original resolution at the beginning of the year to lose 20 pounds. That’s kind of daunting for anyone, regardless of how much you weigh. That might be enough for you, but if you were living your perfect life, how much do you really want to weigh? Be realistic at the same time that you dream big. If you’re 185 pounds, and you lose 20, that puts you at 165. Would you be comfortable with that or do you know that you would love life at 130 pounds? That means losing 55 pounds and that is what I would call dreaming BIG. (Of course, you need to take into account what a healthy weight is for your body, your frame, your lifestyle, etc. – these are just examples).
Remember, when you dream BIG that means you’ve got a lot of skin in the game. Big dreams don’t come true without consistent, committed action over a sustained period of time. That’s where healthy habits fit in.
So let’s keep breaking it down. You originally wanted to lose 20 pounds, but that wasn’t dreaming big enough. Your new goal is 55 pounds. What needs to happen to get there?
Maybe you need to start exercising. What type of movement do you enjoy most? Do you like walking, running, dancing, snowshoeing? Notice I’m not asking what should you do. What do you want to do? What type of movement is your body craving? Pick something you’ll enjoy.
Say you really like to take walks. Maybe you could walk 30 minutes a day. That would be a good start and is the same length of a TV show, so instead of sitting down to TV after dinner, now you’re going to switch up your routine and use the end of dinner as your cue to take a 30-minute walk. See how this is all coming together?
But a 30-minute walk might not be enough to get you to your goal of 55 pounds. Maybe 3 times a week you take an hour long hike uphill to really elevate your heart rate. Now you’re really starting to work toward your goal!
It’s not that you have to take an hour-long hike every day. Maybe you start with once a week and build from there.
Healthy living is about enjoying life
You can also look at other areas of your life like the food you eat. Remove one junk food from your diet once a week. Eat a lot of cookies? Replace the cookies with a square of dark chocolate. Start small and enjoy life!
Based on our conversation around willpower yesterday you know that eliminating something cold turkey from your life is most likely going to set you up for failure. Instead, spend some time planning how you’re going to reach your goal baby step by baby step. This way, you’re integrating healthy living into your life rather then forcing healthy routines that you’re not excited about for the sole purpose of meeting a goal.
That’s not what healthy living is!
The 5 steps to start small
To recap, here are the steps you’re going to take to start small.
- Go back to the intention, goals, and resolutions you set at the beginning of this series.
- Revisit your goal and make sure you’re really dreaming big. Revise as necessary. It’s okay if you get a little scared. That’s natural 🙂
- Now break this goal down into separate projects or activities you can commit to.
- Drill down these projects/activities to the most minute level. What can you commit to every day? What can you replace (remember, we want to replace as much as possible so we’re not adding new things to our life…no one has time for accumulation!).
- Share your small steps with me on the Facebook page!
Nice work so far building your healthy habits. It might seem like slow going, but I hope you’re beginning to really see how all these small lessons fit together. In fact, this whole series is a great example of small steps to help you achieve a larger goal.
Next week, we’ll start diving into the awareness it takes to really sustain healthy habits over time. I’ll walk you through it all, so no worries.
Here’s to a healthy weekend!