What is it about adulthood that makes it shameful to take baby steps? Why do we feel the need to try to conquer things in leaps and bounds? I personally don't think trying to tackle an obstacle or reach a goal with giant-sized steps works.
Large tasks are daunting. Big obstacles are frightening. Making significant changes is difficult.
But breaking tasks and goals down into smaller steps can help us better reach them. It makes them more manageable, more attainable. And doesn't everyone want that?
It's easy to jump into something new and quickly get carried away with wanting to make dozens of changes right off the bat. But that type of change is hard to sustain. With so many plates spinning at once, we're likely to not be able to keep any of them going because our focus is too divided.
Instead, if we focus on tackling one area at a time, we can take smaller steps toward our larger goal.
I want to suggest some small steps you (and I) can take today toward becoming better versions of ourselves. In the post-New Year's season, many people give up on unrealistic resolutions, but these are far more attainable!
- Sleep more. Many of us don't get enough sleep. Some people need more than others, but chances are we all could use more. Try adding just an extra 30 minutes.
- Eat more veggies. Whatever else you fill your plate up with is up to you. Just add some veggies. Put some on top of your pizza, sandwich, or pasta. Have a side salad. Throw some in your scrambled eggs or omelet.
- Move more. Organized exercise and sports are great, but some people's schedules don't allow much time for them. If trying to rearrange everything on your calendar is too daunting, simply try to move more in your everyday life. Get up from your desk every hour for a little break (and come back more refreshed!), walk around during a TV commercial, take the stairs, or park farther away from the grocery store.
- Relax. I'm not talking about the sit-on-the-couch-all-day kind of laziness. I'm talking about taking a break from the helter-skelter chaos of everyday life just to breathe for a minute.
- Put the phone down. Talk to people face-to-face without interruptions. Take a screen break for an hour or two. Give the people and the world around you your full attention.
- Drink more water. Everything is especially dry in the winter-- the air, our hair, and our skin are just a few. Drink some water with every meal and throughout the day as you get thirsty. I find that having a water bottle on hand ensures that I keep hydrated throughout the day without having to worry about it.
- Watch your spending. Now, I'd love to tell you all to create a budget, get out of debt, and set yourselves up for a solid financial future, but we're talking baby steps here. Know where you tend to spend the most money and where you might be able to reign it in a little.
- Read more. Newspapers, magazine articles, biographies, novels, ebooks, audiobooks... Reading can be very relaxing, and since we're learning that the light from electronic devices can disrupt our sleep, it can be a good before-bed activity to help us wind down. Novels are good for immersing yourself in a story other than your own, and nonfiction books are good for learning new things.
- Smile. Find joy. Focus on the happy. Laugh. Be grateful. It's really hard to be grumpy when you're giving thanks for your blessings. And it has a positive impact on those around you, so it's a win-win!
- Declutter. Just a little bit. Start small. One closet. One room. One problem area.
- Use fewer disposable items. Swap out cloth napkins for paper ones or washable dish rags for paper towels. Pack lunches in reusable containers instead of sandwich baggies. Bring your own tote bags to the grocery store.
- Do something for someone else. Volunteer for a charity, donate to a non-profit, bring a meal to a family with a new baby or sick family member, shovel a neighbor's driveway, or even just hold a door open.
What do you think of my baby steps? Are there any you would add? Are there some you're going to try? Let me know what you think in the comments below.