What are the chores/tasks with the highest chance of success? The small ones, the easy ones, those that need minimal effort, willpower and/or time.
What are the chores/tasks with the highest chance of failure? The big ones, the complicated ones, the ones that need a lot of effort, willpower and/or time.
Don’t fear the amount of change that needs to happen, that’s one of the worst thing you can do. Chances are it will paralyse you and you’ll remain stuck.
Sure, be honest with yourself; you have to be. Become aware of everything wrong and everything that needs fixing. But don’t focus on the whole change at once, don't focus on the big things right from the start.
The best thing you can do is to focus on the small things and start with those. Why? Because they’re easy to do, because they usually take less time and because they need close to no willpower. Besides, you have to also take care of these, anyway, right? You can't fix your big problems and leave your small ones unfixed.
But those things are too small, will they matter? you might ask, and the answer is yes. But I need to fix the big things! you might say, and you'd be right. But how can you take care of the big things if you haven't proved to yourself that you can take care of the small ones?
Two things will happen as you take care of your small disciplines:
I never made my bed. I didn’t have a tidy desk. I had clothes all over the place in my room. I didn’t wash the dishes after eating/drinking, and the list can go on. So I’ve been there myself.
But, at some point, I realised I have to be more organised, more disciplined. So I decided that I want to start washing my dishes right after eating/drinking and to start making my bed right after getting up.
I didn’t even think that ”I will start with these two”, I only wanted to do these two. I didn’t think that I’m an undisciplined person and that I need to revolutionise my life. I knew I have to, but I focused on these two.
This increased my self-confidence. I started believing that I can do this, that I can change for the better. If I could wash my dishes and make by bed, for sure I can improve other things as well!
From there on, when I wanted to make a new change, I had the previous proof that I can do it. I had more confidence that I’ll be able to, so it was easier. Having more confidence, I continued with other things with which I wasn't disciplined.
Keep an ordered desk? I can do it. More self-esteem.
Always put the clothes back in? I can do it. More self-confidence.
One small step at a time, one small change at a time, confidence and desire build. They add up to be an important force in your momentum. You’ll start noticing other things that need your attention in this area.
Those used napkins lying on the table? Off they go. More self-confidence.
Those empty bottles by the side of the bed? Off they go. More self-esteem.
Simply drop the jeans wherever on the balcony, to refresh? On a clothes hanger it goes. You guess it, more self-confidence.
And now, after a while, you find yourself having taken care of a big part of what felt overwhelming at the start. Your confidence is on the rise, you believe you’ll be able adopt bigger changes, you have more desire to do them.
When you start the change process and you become disciplined in one area of your life, you’ll start noticing other areas of your life that could use improvement. Your condition won't please you anymore. Your indiscipline will displease you and you'll look for ways to fix the affected areas.
If you’ve invested effort to improve your life, if you succeeded at it, you’ll start loving that feeling of improvement and accomplishment. It will drive you forward, no matter how small the improvements.
Start a diet? Exercise? Start reading? I can do it. I want to do it. What else can I do?
Start with the small stuff, because no step is too unimportant.