Change is a cloak sometimes worn with an abundance of ambivalence, irrespective of size (a chief irony considering the role it plays as one of life’s constants – in good company with taxes). Transformation is a whole other conversation.
As persons, we aspire - and at the very least - we dream. We dream of a better life, or an ideal situation, or typically, an ideal version of ourselves. Improvement isn’t a foreign language to the human tongue.
Unfortunately, for most, such transformative and life-changing dreams end up as wishes and miss the mark of becoming reality.
By far, the most common reason for missing the mark is fear.
A crippling kind of fear that stems from a place of being overwhelmed (not by the enormity of the dream of change itself, but) by the journey towards that dream - they see insurmountable hurdles.
Essentially, their road to meaningful transformation has so many obstructions that the motivation (and inspiration) to embark on such journey is drastically diminished.
Many of us are well acquainted with the S.M.A.R.T method of achieving our individual and professional goals. An acronym that means:
- Specific – Which focuses on what you want to achieve in your area of focus?
- Meaningful – Why is this goal important to you?
- Action Oriented – What steps will you take to achieve it?
- Realistic – How do you know that you can achieve this goal?
- Timely – By when do you want to achieve this goal?
While this approach has been championed as an excellent approach to dealing with accomplishments, tactically, it can still be daunting even when executed.
As a palatable alternative, I would like to suggest that you make a minor mental adjustment, by thinking of the your dream, goal, transformation in “SMALL” terms.
Let’s use a New Year resolution favourite – weight loss - to explain why:
- Small is way easier to start
When considering the notion of big change, which as we’ve established can be intimidating. Albeit, making the small change in your eating plates (from dinner size to salad size) for instance, can be a simpler place to start.
- Small equals lesser opposition
Anytime we are in the process of assuming a new habit, you’re abandoning an old one. This is acutely true if you’re assuming a big one. Going from the typical diet (meat and potatoes based) to a raw diet immediately, for instance, will be a weight-loss hurdle. Swapping your meat to fish and adding steamed vegetables might be a great place to start, and you would find less resistance to.
- Small increases momentum
The crucial bit about starting small is consistency. It’s a lot easier to walk for 15-minutes than to run for 30-minutes on the treadmill everyday. You’re more likely to notice the effect of the 15-minutes walk, and most importantly, build on the feeling of accomplishment.
- Small becomes big
The more you get into the rhythm of your new habit, you’ll build your stamina from a place of 15-minutes, to 30-minutes, and if you stick at it, an hour. All minute changes all add up and contribute to huge change.
As you can see, thinking SMALL is also SMART!
Approaching transformation of change of any kind, one incremental step at a time, can mean the difference between success and failure.
Remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.