Be Willing to Take the Stairs
You don’t stop your life to reinvent yourself. You do it while you’re living your life.
The Taj Mahal, grand as it is, was built one brick at a time. With weight loss, I lost one pound at a time—and eventually dropped 100 pounds. Novels are written a single sentence at a time. Our lives and careers are similarly crafted from a series of small, interim steps.
Sure, you’re Type A. You’re ambitious. You like to stretch and challenge yourself. But like the old joke goes, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. Understanding that principle is how you make your goals a part of the fabric of your everyday life.
Whatever you want to accomplish, cut it down to size. If you want to get two hours more sleep, go to bed 15 minutes earlier this week. And next week 15 minutes earlier than that. In two months, you’ll be getting the sleep you need. (Can only do 5 minutes? It’ll take you a little less than six months.)
If you set an objective and begin to feel pressured because it’s too much to digest, you won’t do it.
So reduce that big goal into action steps so small you think, “That is SO easy. Of course, I can do it.” You accomplish that teeny-tiny goal, then build on it.
With that strategy, inertia is no longer working against you; you have now put momentum on your side. Do small increments that fit into your life, your day. Then do that next little piece and— like the magic of compound interest—over time you’ll get a huge payout.
In order make this inter-weaving happen, you need to decide where you’ll find the additional time. If you’re really busy, don’t just dump your goal on top of your already jammed to-do list. That’s a recipe for not getting it done. Instead, look your schedule and decide in advance where you’ll carve out time.
To carve out those 15 minutes for sleep, DVR your show instead of staying up to watch it. Hang out on Facebook for 30 minutes instead of an hour. Send that email in the morning instead of squeezing it in before bed. Fifteen minutes here or there adds up.
Knowing in advance what you need to do and what time you have available will help you integrate reinvention seamlessly into your life. You can say, “I’m going to carry this book around. Whenever I have to wait five minutes, I’ll read another page,” or “If I have an afternoon free, I’m going to draft a new version of my resume.” Having these a list tasks at the ready allows you to take advantage of open moments so you can easily weave your actions into your day-to-day life.
Coaching Action Steps