The Power of Small Steps

As a therapist I see many clients who want to make big changes in their lives.

Our first conversations may cover huge goals such as overcoming lifelong anxiety, being more confident in social settings, resolving financial issues or tackling a cluttered and chaotic lifestyle.  One thing most have in common is a feeling of helplessness, as if the issues are insurmountable.  It can be almost impossible to believe that a change is possible.

And if we consider the task as a whole it can indeed seem overwhelming….which is why we don’t do this.

In our work together I encourage the client to picture the first small step towards their goal.  And I mean, small step.  Typical answers might be:

  • Empty a drawer – the first step in decluttering a room that has been a source of stress
  • Find the phone number for the leisure centre – the first step in getting fit and feeling more self-confident
  • Buy a shredder – the first step in taking control of household paperwork

Taking a positive action, no matter how small, makes us feel good.  It motivates us for the next step, and the next.  And before we know it, we’re on the way to achieving our preferred future.

So, if there’s something you want to achieve that seems daunting here are a few top tips:

  • Just start – anywhere, it doesn’t matter.  Just starting creates the spark needed to build momentum.
  • Break the task into small, do-able steps and focus only on the next step.
  • Plan a definite time to carry out that step.
  • Recognise each small achievement along the way – ticking a list or colouring in a chart can sometimes help with a feeling of progress.
  • Remind yourself how good you’ll feel when the whole task is complete

And remember, small steps can lead to big changes.