Does Change Have to be Big?

How many times has there been something you wanted to achieve and blew it off because “I’ll never be able to do that”?

A friend of mine in grad school told me a short story that has stuck with me:

Before she enrolled, she was debating whether or not to she wanted to do it. She would be doing one or two classes per semester while she was working full-time, and it would take her years to finish the 60-credit degree.

In a conversation with her mom (I think), she said, “I don’t know if I want to do it. I’ll be 35 by the time I’m done with this degree.”

“You’re going to be 35 either way. Might as well have the degree.”

Baby steps.

We are sometimes so overwhelmed by the goal that we never even start. Get started. Do something. Make it stick.

If it’s something that you want to make a habit out of, you’re best to start small anyway. So often, people try to make (and maintain) huge changes all at once. Unless you’ve moved into a completely new environment with all new people, sustaining huge changes is extremely difficult. (Even in new environs, it is still pretty challenging.)

Pick something that you want to see change in your life. Make a small change to it. Hang on to that small change. Once that’s easy, make another small change.

My lifestyle looks very different than my lifestyle the first few years I was out of college. I made that leap with a series of small changes. The very first change was “ice cream not more than once per day.” At the time, it was really hard. It hasn’t been difficult in years.

If, at that time, you had asked me to reduce my sweets consumption to close to zero, be vegetarian, read labels, avoid HFCS and do all of the other myriad things I do now as far as food consumption is concerned, there is no way I could have done it. I probably wouldn’t have wanted to do it either, to be honest. But that’s where I am now, without too much struggle.

Once I got started, most additional baby steps haven’t been too difficult. Some easier than others.

What have you been thinking about doing but have avoided because it’s too big? Can you take one small step today?

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