If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress. — Barack Obama
I’d like to start off with some questions. Is some progress better than none? Is something better than nothing? Will 10 minutes of exercise be better for your health than sitting on the couch for those 10 minutes? Is eating only 2 chocolate chip cookies better for your health than eating 5? Is saving 10 bucks better than spending an extra 10 bucks?
Can we all agree that something is better than nothing? If so, then small steps towards success are better than no steps. People like to have this “all or nothing” mentality, especially when making resolutions, but this adds an extra layer of difficulty that leads most people to quit. We get impatient, as a lot of us live in a society where we expect results quickly. When we don’t see quick results, we quickly give up.
Starting small sounds too simple, but simple doesn’t mean easy. Let’s say we are trying to exercise more and start off with 5 minutes per day. At 5 minutes, we might try to brush it off. After all, it’s only 5 minutes, there is no harm if we miss it, right? Yet if we plan to workout 30-60 minutes a day, it might be too tough, because we claim that we don’t have the time or energy to make it happen.
We need to build our way up. Start off just spending a few minutes per day on your goal, but make sure you do it. Gradually increase the difficulty and duration of the activity. Remember why you wanted to do this goal in the first place, and remind yourself of those reasons when you want to brush off the activity.
As Karen Lamb said, “A year from now you will wish you had started today.” Results are important, but we can’t expect them to come overnight. If you keep it up, results will show up and provide extra motivation to fuel your commitment to your goal. In order to get that extra dose of motivation, we have to take action.
If you need the extra support, find an accountability partner. Make a bet to someone and create a financial incentive to keep going. Once you are able to build up the difficulty and duration of your practice, you’ll be so much more appreciative of how far you’ve come.
After continuing this pattern for a while, it’ll become a habit. Having this habit will help make the activity more automatic, and it’ll be easier to incorporate this new activity into a lifestyle that helps you grow and become the best version of yourself.
We all have days where we didn’t do as well as we thought, but give it your all anyway. Always put in some effort, then you can still say that you tried and gave it all that you could. Over the long run, you’ll still be victorious. After all, some progress is better than none.1