Little Things MatterJan 12, 2023
The New Year is an exciting time, and it can also feel exhausting as we challenge ourselves to step outside our comfort zone and practice new habits again and again. But making progress toward your goals doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Today, I’m talking about the power of little things in your life. The little things matter!
One of the easiest ways our brain can stop us from getting the life we want is by telling us that it’s going to take a lot of effort, a lot of work, and a lot of time.
Our brain tries to talk us out of small, daily action by telling us that we aren’t really making any progress day-by-day.
But the way we create a life we want is in those little things - one choice, one decision, one action at a time.
Why not to go big
When we look at our lives and ask the big questions like, “What am I doing with my life?” “What do I want to create with my life?”...the distance between here and there feels really big.
So your brain starts to panic and think that you have to make a lot of progress really fast. And we end up creating unsustainable requirements for ourselves that are really hard to maintain.
As humans, we tend to greatly overestimate how much we can do in a day. We give ourselves impossible daily to-do lists requiring huge steps that we can't possibly keep up with. Then we get disappointed when progress isn't immediately obvious.
This is why January 17th is known as “quitting day” - because that’s how quickly people burn out on their New Year’s goals and resolutions when they’re trying to make a lot of big changes all at once.
The little things matter
I’d argue that, in fact, little things are the only things that matter.
But our brains don’t believe it. They are constantly nagging us when we’re making daily progress and telling us it's not enough.
Just like we overestimate what we can do in a day, we underestimate what changing our daily actions can accumulate into.
We underestimate what we can accomplish in a year or five years or a decade, if we just keep going.
How to keep going
Your goals are inevitable if you don't stop.
Here are three little things that make a big difference and will help you continue making progress toward your goals.
Thoughts are the smallest unit of change there is, but they are directly connected to our results.
Deciding to think a new thought again and again and again, until it becomes automatic, is the most powerful way to change your life.
Thinking a new thought feels awkward at first, difficult. You have to be intentional and work at it. You have to stick around long enough with that thought to get comfortable and feel like it is a part of you.
Start with one and practice until it becomes your new belief.
When we set goals and decide to make changes in our lives, our brain assumes it’s going to take a lot of time.
And if you look around and don’t see large chunks of time available, you decide that your goal isn’t possible (at least not right now).
But what if small amounts of time are just as useful as large ones?
You can get more done in 10 or 15 minutes than you think. If time feels tight, try doing a time audit and notice where you are wasting minutes in your day.
Of course, you don’t need to be productive all the time. That’s not what this is about.
It is about no longer letting your brain tell you that you don't have enough time for things that are important to you. It is about creating space for you to accomplish what you want.
When you get more intentional with those little scraps of time, they add up.
Our brains LOVE all-or-nothing thinking. They tell us that if we can’t do a lot it’s not worth it. If it won’t be perfect, we shouldn’t do it at all.
We think that a 10-minute walk is worthless. That if we can’t finish writing an entire email, it’s not worth starting.
We want to make it perfect before we do it - the perfect workout, the perfect meal plan, the perfect business plan, etc.
But it doesn't have to be perfect. It needs to be started.
The thing we want to improve on has to exist first. Then we can tweak it, take it a step further and continue making progress.
So start. Start small. And every time your brain tells you that it doesn’t matter, that you aren’t making any progress, that it’s too small and too little to make a difference, remember that it is wrong.
Every little action you take matters.
- Why massive action toward goals usually doesn’t work
- The value of small habits and little bits of progress
- How to start by just changing one thought
- A thought I’ve used to make the most of my time (you can borrow it!)
- Episode 190: The Thoughts You Spent The Year With
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