Got something you’ve been putting off but want to get started on? Perhaps its as simple as a healthy eating plan, or as tricky as designing a clever new app, or finally learning a musical instrument. Whatever it is, if you’ve been feeling a little too comfy in your comfort zone I have just the remedy.
While there’s no quick fixes for things worth doing there is a simple way through your inertia.
Because while we all might think we want to take a leap into a pile of new possibilities, more often than not we end up holding back. Its a strange aspect of modern life that the more truly exciting options on offer, the more the sofa and a nice dvd often wins out.
If we’re honest with ourselves, somewhere inside us there’s fear. The little voice in our head starts mouthing off: What if its a waste of time? What if I put in all this effort and its boring, or unrewarding, or I fail? Most of the time we simply overwhelm ourselves, by focusing on the outcome or by getting caught up on where to start.
The trick is, not to ignore your very real feelings and doubts, but to acknowledge them and then choose to give yourself the best chance of success. So when you’re starting out that means allowing yourself to take small steps.
And I mean really small. Want to get fit? Start with one push up. Mediation? One minute on the cushion. Eat healthier? Make a salad with every dinner.
Make your goal so small you cannot help but succeed. I call these mini goals and you can set them in any part of your life.
Your main aim is to build your confidence. And with consistent daily effort over time, to make your mini goal a habit. So while the action might seem small, your sights should be firmly fixed on daily application. Best of all, because they set you up for success, mini goals are a beautiful way to practice self care and kindness and build your inner cheerleader (go you!).
Surefire tips for mini goal success
- Make preparation your friend. Having what you need on hand and ready to go is vital. I have a friend who carries a skipping rope with her, and skips whenever she had five minutes spare. Another carries a sketch pad and draws her surroundings while waiting to pick up the kids from school. Have to hand whatever you need to make taking action easy.
- Develop awareness. As soon as you think of your mini-goal jump in and do it–without hesitation. When I catch myself thinking of mediation in the morning I head straight to my favourite spot without delay. Yes my mind comes up with all the usual excuses but I just ignore these for the 10 minutes I’ve set aside for mindful bliss.
- Become your own cheerleader. Once you remember and take action, celebrate these daily triumphs with a smile and a pat on the back. Acknowledging your successes, however small, builds motivation.
While they might sound insignificant, these daily acts can see things blossoming in surprising ways. Over time your mini goals will start to add up, they’ll be working in service of the bigger picture. That daily salad can be the springboard to new food choices and over time, a nourishing eating pattern that sustains you. That 10 minute meditation can lead to important insights, calmness and even new creative pursuits in your life.
The genius is that with a goal is so small excuses are impossible. You absolutely have 10 minutes in your day. Over time if its important you’ll find thirty or one hour, and eventually whatever it takes.
Like everything, it starts with showing up. While the mini goal won’t get you there by itself, its one of the best techniques I know for getting started, by helping you set an intention and stick to it.
So set some mini goals and see how it can help you find your momentum. And if you get stuck, gently remind yourself: everyone has ten minutes a day.
Some daily mini goals to help you get started:
- Inner calm – a 3, 5 or 10 minute morning meditation.
- Become a great cook – practice one technique or step with full attention
- Get fit – a 10 minute walk
- Start a business – do one thing (make a phone call, apply for an ABN) towards making it happen
- Write short stories – start with 5 lines a day
- Reduce stress levels – take a 10 minutes power nap