One day you may find yourself realising that you have a lot of changes to do in your life. It seems like there’s so many. They feel overwhelming. They feel intimidating.
Truth be told, they might be all of the above. Be it your discipline, your determination, your perseverance, a project you can’t seem to make progress on, or start reading. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter, the same rules apply. If you think about it as a whole every time you want to make a move, it will paralyse you.
How so? Your brain will believe that, somehow, everything has to happen now, or all of a sudden. The overall change will be so big, it will affect its identity. It will feel impossible to make all those changes, ”there’s too many of them”. Your brain won’t put things into perspective, unless you consciously do it.
Let’s take a project as an example. Say it’s something that will take 2 full months to complete, or 350 hours. Between a day job, kids, family and whatnot, when will you possibly find the time to fit in 350 hours? It feels impossible.
But take a few steps back. You’ll realise a year has 365 days, so if you manage to squeeze in one hour per day, you’ll finish your project within a year. Add in some extra hours on the weekends and during holidays and you’ll reach the reality: it’s doable.
Besides, better to finish a 2-month project in a year — heck, even two — than … never, right?
Let’s take another example: discipline. Say you’re an undisciplined person in every area of your life: work, personal, in your house, with your friends, you name it. When you realise this, if you focus on the amount of changes you have to do, it will feel that it’s too much. It will feel that you have to revolutionise your life. And you do, but not at once.
Start with your house and focus only on having an ordered place. Continue with becoming punctual when meeting with friends and focus only on that. Then become slightly more disciplined at work. Then become more disciplined at work. One step at a time, one area at a time.
Every step you take brings you closer to your goal. Every single one. It doesn’t matter if you move at a rate of one step or a thousand steps, the important thing is that you’re moving.
Don’t fall into the trap of ”this will take forever”, either. So what if it takes a lot of time? Who decides how fast you have to do it? Isn’t slower better than never? Your life is a marathon, not a sprint.
When I started going to the gym, I had a friend that kept nagging me (with good intentions, no doubt): faster, heavier, more inclined, more reps. Yet I decided to keep doing it at my own pace, even if it was "laughable". I progressed in my own rhythm.
Fast-forward 4 months and I still go to the gym 3 times per week. Have I done as suggested, the start would've been overwhelming and I would've stopped. Like I did many times in the past.
The first law of motion goes: "without external forces, objects in motion tend to stay in motion and objects at rest tend to stay at rest". The same applies to habits and changes, too.
Going from doing nothing (being at rest) to doing a small step (being in motion) requires very little external force; and after you're in motion ... it's much easier to stay in motion than to stop. It’s easier to add another step, and another, and another. The required force will be smaller and smaller.
The added bonus? With every change you make, your confidence, self-esteem, enthusiasm and belief in yourself increase. So the required force to continue on your new path is even smaller.
Soon, you’ll look at your life and realise everything’s changed. How did it all happen? When did it happen? You’re a different person or your project is complete. 6 months, a year or two ago you were thinking that you’ll never be able to get here, that ”it’s too much”.
Yet here you are. All because you started.