Whenever I was looking to make a change or start a new project, I became overwhelmed when I thought about all that needed to be done to get to the end.
For months I was considering starting a podcast. With a podcast comes: picking a name, creating a logo, buying equipment, reaching out to guests, recording the intro, choosing music, recording episodes, editing, marketing, etc. The list goes on and on.
Seeing that list, that seems intimidating, right?
That’s why I put it off for months.
I made it my New Year’s goal to get the podcast going. I started telling people so I could be held accountable.
I took it one step at a time.
Soon enough, the intimidating aspects of the podcasts weren’t as scary. I completed them relatively seamlessly. I even enjoyed the process.
Had I kept focusing on the bigger picture of the completed podcast, I might have let fear rule my ability to create it.
That is why it’s important to focus on baby steps. Here’s the way that I found works for me.
Write down a game-plan
Knowing the end goal is still important; just don’t let it hold you back. You want to see what you’re working towards and how to get there.
An outline of that is excellent.
Let’s say you’re looking to change careers. An example of an outline is:
- Research certification courses needed for a new career
- Contact programs for information
- Plan when you’ll have free time to work on the course
- Start the course
- Complete your certification
- Begin looking for new jobs
- Quit your old job
Making a career change can be one of the most daunting, yet rewarding, events in your life. Quitting your job is frightening. The idea of researching some courses that could lead you to a new career path is not.
The end goal can seem unrealistic, but the baby steps are possible.
Reward Yourself for Each Completed Baby Step
If all you celebrate is when you reach the end goal, you could easily fall back into the trap of feeling overwhelmed. Your goal may take a bit of time to accomplish.
Baby steps are conducive to organization
Are you the type of person that tends to be all over the place? Hi! That’s me as well.
Before I put a solid game-plan into action, I was always jumping around different tasks for my podcast. I would find some people to contact, listen to songs for the intro, read some articles about podcasts — but I never saw any of those tasks to fruition.
Some baby steps can be taken at the same time or in no specific order. Once you create a plan of action, you become more deliberate with what needs to get done.
Searching for a new job is something you can do throughout the entire process of getting into a new field.
That will distract you from what needs to get done though. Also, in my experience, it can add to the pressure of feeling like you may never be able to break into the field. Nothing is more intimidating than seeing a job post requiring X amount of experience when you’re still learning about the field.
Celebrating along the way is a significant motivational factor.
Let’s take someone who is going through an Alcohol Anonymous course. They’re not out there trying to aim for this sober-forever life. They celebrate on-month, six-months, a year. AA participants focus on each step and cheer on each other because they know that one-month is just as big of a milestone as one-year.
I’m not saying you should plan a Vegas trip with your buddies just for signing up for a course. Going out for a great dinner or, giving yourself some self-care in the form of a bubble bath or manicure are great ways to show yourself you’re doing a great job.
Hold Yourself Accountable Through Others
I mentioned this in my podcast anecdote but telling people about my dreams was a game-changer. I no-longer secretly harbored my desires. Everyone that was close to me knew about my podcast dreams.
Whenever I would meet up with a friend, I would fill them in on the step I was in for creating my podcast. This way, when I saw them again or they would check-in with me, they would know the specific part of the podcast that I wanted to complete instead of asking “How’s the podcast going?”
That last part is key. You don’t need pressure from your friends and family because they’re only focused on the end goal too.
It’s also nice to have the people closest to you clued in on the process towards your goal. If you’re at the point where you’re deciding on a course to take, a friend may offer to help you make a pros and cons list.
Accomplishing goals with the people closest when they’re in support of your dreams can make them even easier to complete.
This strategy proved successful for me in various aspects throughout my life. I can be hard on myself and easily discouraged. By focusing on baby steps, real change doesn’t seem as daunting.
Baby steps are like mini-victories. Use those to motivate you all the way to the finish line.