I’ve been looking over all my old blog posts (I had another site before this one), and found one with a message still relevant to this blog. So, I thought I would share it. #TBT
Moving in Increments, The Journey of a Thousand Miles
Recently, I put up a blog on visualization and motivation. I know thinking of the finished project can be a great motivator, but what about when the project seems too big, overwhelming, and suffocating?
In my University, any big project I had was already broken up for me in the syllabus. Unfortunately, other problems or projects in my life are not already broken up into pieces, and I’ve noticed I can get overwhelmed or discouraged if the project is too big. Luckily, I’ve found ways around this.
The biggest problem I find with some people, including myself, is we do not give the right amount of credit for each incremental step in the process of the project. People often acknowledge projects as a whole, but not as individual steps. For instance, say I’m moving out of one house and into another. Everyone knows this is a long, tedious process. And it’s astonishing the amount of trinkets and possessions one person can accumulate over time. Thinking of a hundred boxes stacked all over the house, waiting to be unpacked is daunting. And as the old saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Maybe it’s just me, but this quote is only inspiring sometimes. It’s great to think “just one step at a time” while doing projects; regardless my mind likes to skip ahead to the other 999 steps ahead of the first one. Because no matter how I look at it, a thousand steps is a thousand steps. Frequently, by the time I reach step 10, I’m bored, uninterested, and the end may be too far away to visualize.
So instead of visualizing the realization of my ultimate goal, I decided it’s best to visualize each step as a small, mini goal. To continue with the current example, instead of seeing tons of stacked boxes and thinking of the work, I will focus on one or two boxes. If I manage to unpack one to two boxes a day, I will congratulate myself. My daily goal is met! It’s something to be proud of. It’s to easy to think of what could have been done, say ten boxes, but it’s better to feel proud about what was done. Thinking of it as a drop in the bucket is counter-productive, so it’s important to remember to appreciate the accomplishment of daily goals. It goes a long way towards motivation because it creates a healthy sense of accomplishment. If I do think of the ultimate goal, it’s better to think “I’m one step closer and proud of today” over “Wow, that’s it?!”
Tips on Creating Goals: It can be a challenge to create appropriate goals. The key is to make it big enough so the project takes a reasonable amount of time, yet small enough so it does not seem daunting. Take into account other activities that need to be done and your energy level. The most important thing to remember is the purpose: incremental steps are made to make the project seem manageable, so the steps need to be manageable. And do not compare yourself to others! It’s okay to go at your own pace.
Hope you reach your goals!
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