I often talk to my clients about taking baby steps, especially when beginning a process of change or starting a journey towards achieving a goal. This week I had a small task to complete which seemed daunting: it wasn’t really all that important, but it made me think of how the concepts could be applied to bigger issues.
I love to read but I don’t like feeling under pressure, as I like to stop and think about what I’m reading and jot down ideas I would like to follow up on. However, this week I was quite busy and my library book was due back in a couple of days and couldn’t be renewed as it has been requested by someone else. I had a choice about whether or not to persevere and try to finish it or read what I could and pick it up again later. It’s the sort of topic that is developed step by step and I much preferred to finish it in one week.
So I asked myself how best to tackle this little task. I knew I was motivated as I was interested in the subject and that meant I would do what it took to get to the end. I assessed the situation and found that I had already read 50 of the 200 pages, leaving only 150 pages to complete in 3 days, which was quite achievable. But when I sat down and began to read it, all the joy had gone out of it as it had become a ‘have to’.
So I stepped back and asked myself if I still wanted to go on. The answer was yes so I simplified it further. Breaking the reading into two sessions of 25 pages with my morning and afternoon coffee became much easier and took it from something I was pushing myself to accomplish to an activity that felt quite natural and uncomplicated.
Sometimes it is important to find the easiest and simplest way of doing something by linking into our motivation and then breaking the task down into small achievable steps.