If you have something you want to change right now and you cannot believe that you are STILL no farther along in this area, this blog is for you.
I’m sure you’ve heard that the easy solution is to break it down into smaller pieces and just take baby steps. So easy, right? Then why don’t we do that? Sometimes once we’ve broken a goal into baby steps, the first step seems so small that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to make even the slightest dent in the project. So instead of taking that little itty bitty action that might eventually get us to our goal, we do nothing. Why on earth do we feel like the only options are to make big broad sweeping changes or to do nothing at all? Being an all-or-nothing kind of girl, I am totally guilty of this.
But I am also a coach, so I’m going to argue for the baby step. Here is why. First of all, if you do nothing, what happens? A week goes by. Then a month. Even a year. And we find ourselves in the exact same place we started. No healthier, richer, happier, more successful, etc…
And it’s not just about the wasted time. We lose something more crucial than time, something that affects us at the very core of our being. We lose confidence in ourselves. We let ourselves down and that, my friends, is a self-worth killer.
The second reason I’m advocating for a baby step is that it helps you gain momentum. As you begin to bring your decaying self-worth back from the brink, you start to feel like you can take on more baby steps or even bigger steps, maybe leaps!
Let’s make this even easier by using a switch-up. Instead of subtracting something from your life or adding something to your life, use a replacement strategy.
When we try to give things up, we feel all kinds of lack when we would normally be doing that behavior. We’re either biting our nails to get through it or just plain feeling sorry for ourselves. That can be enough to get us off track.
When we try to add things to our day, we can feel overwhelmed. We stress about how there is absolutely no way we have time to put anything else on our plate. That can easily derail us, too.
Replacement behaviors lessen those feelings of lacking or being overwhelmed.
Let’s say your goal is to give up your frivolous spending. Instead of thinking you’ve got to immediately put yourself on a strict budget in every area of your life, a small step would be to eliminate your coffee house habit. A replacement step is to treat yourself instead to a short brisk walk.
Let’s say your big goal is to lose 100 pounds. Instead of thinking you’ve got to give up sugar in every single form, a small step would be to give up dessert in the evening. A replacement step is to have a bowl of frozen cut-up fruit.
Maybe you have a huge purging project you want to tackle. Instead of thinking you’ve got to find a free weekend to clean out the entire garage, a small step would be to tackle one shelf. A replacement step is to take 10 minutes away from technology time (social media, farm frenzy, news, whatever) and allot those 10 minutes for that shelf.
Sometimes once we get going, we get inspired to go crazy and take it all on. A word of caution here…if you’ve had success in the past going full throttle, maybe it’ll be fine. However, it is also possible that you will burn out, ditch all of the good behaviors you’ve put in place, and give up entirely. One green juice a day felt so good, that I’m going to replace ALL of my meals with green juice! That is, until the rigidity of it all catches up to me and I toss in the towel. I just want to chew something! Can you tell Ms. All-or-Nothing has experience with this? Moderation really is the key.
Here is a bonus. You can also use replacement behaviors to shift your life towards a more powerful and fulfilling one in small ways every day. Trade out one Netflix show a day for a chapter from a personal development book. Spend the first 10 minutes of your morning in quiet meditation instead of checking email. Switch out one of your working lunches for a social lunch with colleagues or a friend.
One switch out can get you started, keeping at it can inspire you to make another one down the road, and then maybe another one. Before you know it, another year will have passed. This time, you will no longer be standing in place. Hopefully, you’ll be a little healthier, richer, happier, more successful…but definitely, you’ll have breathed life back into your confidence and self-worth. And that, my friends, is the most important success of all.