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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Scarred of Difficult? Try Easy!

What is the connection between small details and great progress? You will see in a minute. You might have realized that whenever you really want to achieve something (=you are extremely motivated to get a certain thing) you can be very creative and are able to come up with several plans in order to realize your dream. Your goal can be either big or small; it does not really matter whether we are talking about losing weight, getting your dream-bag or dream-job. Due to your increased level of motivation, you are enthusiastic and pro-active: you are working on your little project whenever you can; you try to do everything to get what you want.

It is important to catch yourself as soon as you are the most motivated because then you can really work hard and you can save energy and willpower for times when you are not so enthusiastic or are a bit down. For this reason, it is ideal to separate your big aim into small steps. It is always better to start with small and easy because you are more likely to be successful if you have a realistic and achievable mini-project. For example, if I want to lose a significant amount of weight and decide to reach my dream-body in a month’s time with working out 5 times a week and being on a strict diet, I am very likely to give up the whole plan after two weeks because it is simply extremely hard. Especially, if I did not exercise for years and was eating junk food for a while, it is not possible to change my whole lifestyle in one month.

If you want to change something, you need to come up with a detailed plan. Either we talk about losing weight or getting a good job where you can feel useful and appreciated, it always helps if you sit down and think about the followings:
  • What do you don’t like in your life and why?
  • What do you want to change and why?
  • What do you want to achieve and why?
Take a nice notebook and your favourite pen and write down your answers to these questions. You will see, how much a little journaling and self-analysis can help in defining your aims. Break your big plan into small increments and list all the steps that are necessary to reach your goal. It is much easier to focus on small and easy tasks and you are more likely to repeat the steps every day. You are not going to give up exercising or studying after few weeks if you aim to fulfil small and easy challenges. The secret is to do regularly what you planned. If you repeat the steps often, they will become automatisms very quickly and you will not have to use your willpower for these as they are habits already. All the small steps will lead to a huge success in the end. You will be very happy whenever you manage to do what you planned. If you make an exercise-plan, for example, every Sunday, you can easily prioritize and organize your other responsibilities for the whole week. A useful hint: always start as soon as possible because early in the week you are less tired and you are more motivated. As you start using your willpower for duties that you have to do but do not really want to, your level of motivation will decrease and you are more likely to feel too exhausted to exercise or study, e.g.

picture: Garance Doré

So, take a moment to think about your life, decide in what areas you want to change and make a plan. Then separate your big goal into small and easy bits that you can repeat as often as possible. Also, reward yourself and practice self-appreciation! You can be really proud of yourself! You did that 15-min training, wrote the planned 10 pages or read those 5 chapters. Be objective and do not come up whit things that you should have done according to you. Every beginning is a new chance to succeed. It is as good to be a beginner as nice it feels when you achieve your goal. Do not feel ashamed of being a beginner or being fat, slow or unorganized. Guilt and other negative feelings will not help your progress. Be positive and do small and easy tasks regularly. Soon, you will be happy, satisfied and successful.

based on Maria Brilaki’s book: Surprisingly unstuck