Piece by Piece
Have you set any big goals for 2016? Over the holidays our family has been working on a 1500 piece puzzle. Looking at the pieces as we dumped them out of the box was daunting. We got started by turning all of the pieces over. Then we looked for the edges and put them to one side. Next I picked a small section with very distinct images and focused in on those pieces. We still have a long way to go, but we are making progress!
Often the biggest challenge we face when trying to achieve any difficult goal is just getting started. Taking action is critical. It gives you a feeling of control and a sense that you are making progress, however small it might be. Little actions that move you forward build confidence. Each small step creates momentum and brings you closer to your goal.
In The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney describes his experience saying, “You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to go home.”
Author Anne Lamott gives similar advice about writing. She suggests writing shitty first drafts because the pressure to write something really good can keep you from starting. The key is to start somewhere. She tells a story of her brother. He was ten years old and had to write a report on birds that was due the next day. Her father’s advice was, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
So whether it’s piece by piece, problem by problem, or bird by bird, tackle your new year’s goal one step at a time. And why wait until the new year? Think of one small thing you could do right now that will move you a little closer to your goal. Take that first step now!