Updated: Feb 12
A small step in the right direction is a big deal. If you’ve struggled with improving your financial life, spiritual walk, or even your physical fitness, this principle may be the missing link. The problem is that it sounds cliche and almost overdone that we often miss the fact that there’s more power to it than we might realize.
A few years ago I came across an idea known as a book by Steven Guise called Mini Habits. In it, Guise shared the idea of breaking down your bigger goals into smaller, more laughable sized goals (or steps). The point is to make them so small that it’s hard not to do them. Unlike how many of us avoid our gym appointments at the very thought of having to go.
With mini habits, however, it’s a completely different experience. Once you start your small step, Newton's first law of motion, which states that an object in motion stays in motion, kicks in. In other words, once you start it’s harder to stop and easier to go further. It really is a powerful idea and could be a game-changing move for you if you’ve struggled with staying consistent with your goals.
In the book, Guise shares how he set a goal of doing one push-up a night and it changed his life. His big goal was a healthier lifestyle, but this is where he chose to start. One push-up often turned into 10, then 25, then a push-up - sit-up combo, and eventually a fully disciplined health routine and diet. This could be your story. Not just with your health, but financially, relationally, spiritually, and more.
The reality, however, is that a lot of people never start because of how daunting the thought of their goal is. Maybe that’s you, and you find that you often feel defeated before you even start to fight for your win. This is why a small step in the right direction is so significant.
It gets you started! And once you’re in motion, well… Newton already told us what happens.
In my book, Life Balance, I spend two chapters breaking down this idea and the psychology behind it. Here’s a quote,
“Dopamine is released when you get a notification that excites you, when you’re having sex as a way of boosting pleasure, and yes, when you reach your goals, no matter how big or small they are. So every time I hit or surpassed my goal of 500 words, my body released some dopamine. What’s more exciting is that when it was time to write again, I would be less resistant because my brain wanted the dopamine effect. Call it a positive addiction or brain hacking.” - Life Balance by Paul W. Croswell, Chapter 7
No one argues that every great success starts with a small step. No matter the field, no one begins at greatness, and unlike wealth, it can’t be inherited. You build up to it. What are you doing to build up to yours? Here are a few reasons you should consider adding some strategic small steps in the right direction to your life.
It’s Manageable One of the greatest benefits of thinking in small steps is that it works for anyone. Whether your schedule is busier than the presidents or you currently don’t even have a schedule. You can build small steps into your day no matter where you find yourself.
There are Long-Term Benefits A small step in the right direction is the first step to healthier habits. If your small steps bring you great results and remain consistent, over time they become healthy habits that shape your life. Once they become habits, you do them without even having to think about it (as quoted above).
It Increases Confidence Finally, successfully accomplishing your small steps consistently boosts your confidence. Over time you naturally become more willing to take on bigger challenges with a more positive attitude. Winning more often leaves you with a successful mentality or a winning perspective.
QUESTION: Think of one of your biggest goals. What small (laughable) step could you take towards that goal today?
No goal is too big to be broken down into smaller steps. Additionally, almost every goal could be acted on today in some small way. How can you take a small step in the right direction towards your big goal?
Comment below or email me to let me know what your response is. You can also subscribe to my newsletter for bonus tips and resources on self-leadership and work-life balance or follow my podcast - The Pocket Potential.