‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Chinese Proverb

Getting started on a journey, especially a long one, seems daunting. Your attention is focused on the end of the journey instead of the beginning. How long it will take, as well as the obstacles which must be overcome, fill your thoughts.

Every journey begins with the first step. A step which appears too large is intimidating. Small steps are much more manageable. You are more likely to take a small step than a large one. Taking a small step gets you started. Since small steps aren’t overwhelming, you are more apt to continue moving ahead.

Taking your first small step is the most important one. It is the action which gets you started. Once you are moving forward, the momentum makes it easier to keep going. Each step leads to the next. Success breeds success.

Consistency is more important than speed. Taking step after step should become a routine habit. Big accomplishments are achieved one small step at a time. The tallest brick buildings are constructed one brick at a time. Marathon runners take one stride at a time. Successful weight loss occurs by losing one pound at a time.

Earning a college degree later in life while you are working, is another example. The concept of all the effort required in order to graduate is scary. How will you find the necessary time? But if you break it down to one course at a time it becomes manageable. For your first course, pick one which meets one night a week.

Now you have a small step strategy which is workable. You are ready to embark on the path towards you goal. By attending one class a week you are on your way. Although you will require more years than someone who is going to school full time, you will earn your degree.

Failure occurs only when you give up. If you don’t start, nothing will happen. Make your first step small enough so that you will get started. Any step, no matter how small, moves you forward.

After the first step, keep taking steps. Each day, take at least one step. The endless progression of steps is highly effective. Make no excuses, just keep taking steps. If you stumble, regain your balance and keep going. If you fall, get back up and keep going.

Keep track of your progress. It’s easy to overlook how much you have accomplished. If you’re saving money, write down your balance after each deposit. If you are going to school, make a list of the courses you have completed. If you are on a diet, keep a log of your weight. Each step you take is a goal accomplished.

Be patient. Achieving your goal is a process. You don’t arrive at the finish line after one step. You won’t reach your desired weight after cutting back for one meal. You won’t get in great physical shape after one visit to the gym. You won’t earn your college degree after one class.

Time goes by regardless of what you are doing. It really doesn’t matter how long it takes to achieve your objective. People who do nothing, accomplish nothing. Get started today so that tomorrow you are one step ahead.

Start from where you are right now. Don’t wait for your situation to change or improve. Today is the day you take your first small step. Don’t allow doubt, fear, worry, or uncertainty to become roadblocks.

Taking small steps is productive. You feel so much better when you are making progress towards your goals. Being in control of your life is always preferable to waiting to see what happens.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

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