Thinking small– When did someone last encourage you to think small? Not something you hear very often right.
Now, how many times have you been told the sky’s the limit, that when it comes to your dreams and ambitions you need to think big. How many inspirational quotes tell you think big, believe big, dream big and your results will be…yep you’ve guess it- BIG!
Yet, why is it that somehow these big dreams often just cause huge pressures that leads to overwhelm and goals feeling unattainable? How come you see others doing what you want to be doing, living your dream, but for you, it’s just not working out; you can’t fathom why you’re struggling to achieve the goals you set, when other people seem to be smashing theirs.
When this happens disillusionment starts to set in, you spend your time becoming best friends with procrastination as your productivity takes a nose dive. You begin to think that maybe you’re just not cut out for it, that all those other people are somehow more motivated or skilled than you are.
Well, first let me stop you there, give you a quick shake, and tell you that’s absolute nonsense; you are just as capable of reaching your goals as the next person, you just need to know how to get there.
Let’s take a look at the way we often tend to go about trying to get our shit together.
Does this sounds familiar?
- Have a dream/vision
- Share your vision with family and friends
- Dive into a zillion inspirational things- books, quotes, webinars, podcasts, sign up to ‘experts’ mailing list etc
- Feel all motivated, gung-ho and full of self-belief- mentally high fiving yourself for being so darn brilliant.
- Create goals
- Break it down into steps- making a road map
- Take action
- Take action
- Take action
- Get disheartened by the lack of results
- Feel embarrassed you told everyone about your big dream/goal/vision you were going to have by the end of 2018
- Give up
The problem with this method is that although the goal setting and breaking down into steps is a fundamentally sound way. Creating a road map of steps is an excellent way to get started, but if you’re not making progress, the issue can lie with the size of those goals and steps- Yes, sizes does matter!
When our goals and steps are too big, when we miss a deadline or face that first challenge that throws us off track we tend to become overwhelmed by the ever increasing to do list. What once seemed manageable becomes a struggle to keep up with. Stress sets in, procrastination pops up, we lose our self-belief and convince ourselves that ‘now is not the right time’ or worse start beating ourselves up.
When you’ve reached this stage then it’s highly likely you’re in that ‘I’ll start again after the weekend’ mode that sees you setting the same goal and taking the same steps over and over as you become evermore disappointed and disillusioned as the weeks or maybe years slip by.
So, what’s the answer when your goals feel like they’re slipping away and your in total overwhelm?
You need to rethink that road map and start thinking small – yes, you read that right, and just so it sinks in I’m going to say it again in extra bold words…to achieve your big goals you need to start thinking small. In fact some of the time you’re going to have to go micro- make micro steps and mini goals that will lead to your big goal.
By all means keep that big goal, those big dreams, in fact I think thinking big and having big ambitions is great but at times in order to to avoid overwhelm, keep your momentum going and get you there you need to be thinking smaller.- Aim high, take small steps towards smaller goals.
When your goal is too big it can feel like you’re not making any progress at all. This is because you may be looking at too big of a picture or getting too wrapped up in the enormity of what lies ahead. This is where overwhelm can set in and where self -doubt and procrastination can distract you from what you’re wanting to achieve.
Although it may not seem exciting or much to write home about, starting small can lead to a greater level of satisfaction in the long run. You are more likely to experience earlier successes which in turn, will help to keep you encouraged, inspired and motivated- remember that consistent small steps leading to daily or weekly goals will see improvements that will eventually accumulate into bigger successes.
Having a big vision and long-term goal is great, in fact it’s essential to have a clear idea of what you want or where you are heading, but for now it’s time to focus on the smaller stuff that’s going to get you there.
Ok, so now we’ve established that you’re going to start thinking small, just how do you go about achieving that end goal, your big dream or vision?
How to achieve big things by thinking small.
Step 1: Revise your goal- Take a another look at overall goal, your dream, your end game then ask yourself what one smaller goal can you set that’s still aligned with this vision, but is more manageable and can be achieved within 3-7 days.
Step 2: Map it out- What step do you need to make to complete this new smaller goal? If you’re feeling overwhelmed than go micro, take a super small step that is still going to move you forward. Eg if your revised goal has gone from losing 30 lb in weight to losing 2 lbs per week then your micro step would be to change one meal each day to something healthier.
Step 3: Take action- Put your mini goal into action by taking your first micro step you identified in step 2.
Step 4: Praise- Give yourself a pat on the back for achieving your mini goal. Tick it off the list and let yourself feel pleased with this small level of progress.
Step 5: Repeat- Pick a new mini goal that is once again in aligned with that bigger picture and go again. Do this until you have achieved 2-5 mini goals then look at making your next goal just that little bit bigger.
Thinking small is an excellent way to avoid overwhelm, it builds confidence in your ability to get things done and gives you an almost immediate sense of satisfaction. It can be applied to all areas of your life, from creating a business to moving house. It doesn’t need to be reserved for having big dreams or visions either … you may just want to use it to help you in day to day tasks and chores; whenever you have something to complete that is making your feel overwhelmed than just follow the 5 steps and I guarantee you it will help you to get things done without overwhelm.