BY AMY WAGENKNECHT
As a teacher, I would never ask my students to read a book before they knew how to sound out words. I would never ask them to multiply before they knew their numbers.
Think about it. Einstein had to learn his numbers before he could discover the the theory of relativity. Shakespeare had to learn his ABCs before he could write “Romeo and Juliet.” Leonardo de Vinci had to learn to paint before he created the Mona Lisa.
We all have to start somewhere. We all have to take small steps to get to the bigger picture. Think about your goals, dreams, or visions. Do they seem too out of reach? Do they seem impossible to achieve?
In order to get out of your overwhelm, overthinking and doubt, you must get super specific on your goal and then chunk it down into bite size pieces.
When you take smaller steps, you will experience wins. These small victories will make you want to take the next step and the next. Each small win will lead you closer and closer to your goal and before you know it, you will have achieved what you once thought was impossible.
Whether it’s training for a 5K, saving money, eating healthy, quitting smoking, stepping into a new job, or any other goal you have, it’s hard just getting started.
That’s why the first baby step is so crucial.
For instance, if you want to start training for a 5K, which is 3.1 miles, chances are you can’t run that entire distance the first time. Your first step may be downloading the “Couch to 5K” app on your phone.
Once you have the app loaded, your next step is to put on your sneakers and get out the door. Then start walking the 3.1 miles, then alternate between walking and running small distances until you slowly build up to running 3.1 miles.
Your strength and endurance don’t develop overnight. They grow over time.
This is the same with any goal, dream, or vision.
To start turning your dream into reality, the first step is to write your goal down. Next, turn it into a SMART goal. Make it Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Timely.
By creating a SMART goal, you are taking the first step in defining what you want and stepping out of your excuses.
For example, “I want to save money” is too open-ended. Let’s break it down. Make it more specific by writing down an exact amount you want to save.
Next, figure out how much you need to save each paycheck to make it measurable. In order for it to be action-oriented, determine what activity or energy needs to take place.
In addition, your goal needs to be realistic.
If you make $50,000 and barely get by, don’t make your goal to save $20,000.
Lastly, it needs to be timely, so have an end date.
Your new SMART goal would read, “I will save $1200 by Dec. 31 by putting $100 a month or $50 each paycheck into a savings account.”
After you have defined your goal, take the next small step. Open a savings account at your local bank. Your next small step would be to call your employer to see if you can have $50 taken out each paycheck and automatically deposited into your savings account.
You may want to create a chart to hang on the fridge and every time a deposit is made, color it in.
Eventually, your whole chart will be colored in and you will have reached your bigger goal. Yay, you!
Trust me, these small baby steps will propel you from where you are to where you want to be.
Your hopes and desires have been growing inside you for weeks, maybe years. They are not going anywhere. They are waiting. Waiting for you to take the first baby step.
You don’t need willpower. You don’t need courage. What you need is already inside you. Stop overthinking it. Overthinking is a trap that holds you back from living a fulfilling and purposeful life.
Take action today!
Sign up for the class. Book the trip. Open the bank account. Pay for the membership. Write the first chapter. Call the person who hurt you. Download the app. Buy the healthy produce. Upload your info to a dating service.
Take the first small step. Once you do it, it will lead you to the next step and the one after that. Before you know it, you will have reached your goal.
The hardest part is just getting started. Last time I checked, none of us are getting any younger. Stop procrastinating and as Nike says, JUST DO IT!
Amy Wagenknecht is a teacher in the Waterloo School District and a life coach specializing in helping women live bigger, braver lives. For more information and to find out about her monthly events, visit her website at amywagenknecht.com or contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.