Tiny steps

Tiny steps toward your goals

I have just started working with a client who wants to increase her overall health, and she has firm ideas about her goal; she wants to lose 20 lbs by eating healthier and introducing enjoyable exercise to her life.

She knows where she wants to be in a year, but every time she starts to make changes, she gets overwhelmed with the enormity of her goal and puts off starting to make changes until another day.

She knew she needed help and reached out to me.

We looked at her goal and broke it down into tiny steps.

She previously wanted to jump right into changing her diet entirely and ramping up to one hour of exercise three times a week.

I got her to take a breath, remember the children’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare? Slow and steady wins the race is the moral of that story, and it’s so true!

So we did just that; we started slowly and steadily.

“What small change can you make this week?” I asked her in our first session.

“I can look through my recipe books and make a plan for meals for the next seven days” OK, sounds good; I’m a planner myself but let’s think about the time and effort it takes to plan, shop for, and cook seven NEW meals this week.

Is that a tiny step?

No. So we backed up big time. What would a realistic small step be that could set her up for success so she could build on it?

Perhaps just planning one new meal. Or researching what a healthy meal is. Or contemplating how that planning would fit into her schedule.

She came up with a great plan:  To research how she would replace her beloved pasta with a healthier alternative. Perfect.

That’s a tiny step, but so powerful!

Do you feel overwhelmed?

How often have you wanted to make a change and just the thought of it makes you feel overwhelmed?  Your heart rate increases, and your head feels so full that you want to put it to one side and tackle it when you feel in the right mood; the right mood never comes.

Breaking down the goal and taking tiny steps is the answer.

The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”

Mark Twain

Have you had unsuccessful attempts in the past?

Perhaps you have had less than favorable outcomes in the past that have led you to believe you won’t succeed if you try again.

Consider this though, what if you took this significant change and broke it down into smaller, more manageable steps—knowing yourself as you do and being honest and realistic about what would be best in your situation.

What is your first tiny step?

What is the first tiny step you could take towards your bigger goal?

For example, you want to eat healthier, but changing your whole eating habits seems enormous and insurmountable.  You feel you should clear out your cupboards, your fridge and restock with healthy alternatives, and then everything will be good.

But when it comes down to it, the challenges you are facing are:

  • You don’t want to waste the food you already have.
  • You don’t know what food to buy
  • You don’t know what constitutes a healthy diet
  • You may be cooking for your whole family, and everyone has different wants

Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “How can I take small steps towards the bigger goal of eating healthier?”, “What is my first tiny step?”.

Now this will be different for everyone. 

Contemplate what step is right for you

Perhaps you want to do some reading to find out what information you need to know. Maybe you need to get some help from a nutritionist, or it means just buying one type of food that you would not usually buy. Perhaps just trying one new recipe this week would be a start. Or adding a piece of fruit to your breakfast once this week.  Tiny, but still a movement in the right direction.

Sit with it, contemplate; there is no rush.  Remember if you start to feel overwhelmed, take a long deep breath, and ask that question again:

“What is my first tiny step?”

If you are ready to make change happen, let’s connect.

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