“Wagons, ho!” This was a common phrase in the TV westerns of the 1950s and early 1960s. We can learn a lesson from it.
It’s important to make consistent, regular movement forward. You don’t have to take leaps and bounds; tiny baby steps are just fine. You don’t have to take a step daily, although it’s ideal to devote a little bit of time each day–even 5 minutes–to your goals and dreams. As long as you’ve earmarked part of your week or month to pursuing your goals and dreams–and you stick to this–you will succeed. Of course, it may take you longer to accomplish your goals and dreams than someone who devotes a few hours every day to theirs, but then, you aren’t in competition with anyone–not even yourself!
Wagon trains were capable of traveling 10 miles per day. Frequently, though, because of weather, terrain, attacks, and other factors, they moved much slower. But they still made it to their destinations in Oregon, California, New Mexico, and other western regions!
It’s the same for you. It doesn’t matter how big of a step you take or how often you take it. As long as you consistently and regularly take those steps, you will make it!
Your homework for today is to realistically look at your schedule for the next few days and assign time to work toward your dreams and goals. Search for those little pockets of time that we often overlook: while you’re waiting to pick up your children; instead of going out to lunch, brown-bag it and devote a few moments to a small step; rather than spending all evening in front of the TV or surfing the Internet, allocate 15 minutes or a half hour to working on your goals–you’ll still have time for other things.
So, in homage once again to the old TV westerns, head ’em up and move ’em out! Wagons, ho!
“Use Imagination!” This statement has genius in it, because it unlocks and unleashes your own special brand of genius in the form of unique and creative ideas and ingenuities. This then fuels you with energy, enthusiasm, and confidence.
“Use Imagination!” is also an anagram of sorts. You can use some of the letters in the phrase to spell the word genius!
And, it’s plain, old-fashioned fun to use your imagination and let it soar; to “give it its head” and let it run.
You may be saying that you’re too busy taking steps to waste time on imagining. Or, you may scoff at the idea, sure that nothing will come of it. That’s because using imagination has gotten a bad rap. Growing up, you probably heard that indulging in imagining was woolgathering, day-dreaming, or being in la-la land. Worse, you may have heard it called laziness, not paying attention, making up stories, or even lying.
It isn’t true!
It’s well-known and documented that great people throughout the ages scheduled time each day for quiet, contemplation in which they would let their imaginations go. Edison was famous for taking naps when he was wrestling with a problem. Often, he would wake with the solution, or a crucial step that would then lead to the solution. Nicola Tesla, upon whose work our wireless technology is based, always worked through his inventions in detail in his mind before building them. And, the daily training routine of Olympians and professional athletes includes imagination sessions where they go through their routines and perfect their movements.
Your homework for today is to schedule an imagination session. Give yourself enough time (5 – 30 minutes) and choose a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. As you’re getting comfortable gently think about some aspect of your dream or goal. Or, you can think about your dream or goal in general terms. Then go for it–let your imagination roam and soar where it will. And, no worries; you can’t do this homework incorrectly! It doesn’t matter if your mind worries or wanders–gently bring it back to your dream or goal. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t get any images or ideas. No effort is ever wasted. View this as a building block or a training session. Trust that you’ll get better at it because, with regularly doing this exercise, you will get better. Remember, too, that even the greatest thinkers didn’t have insights or eureka moments in every single session either; you’re in good company!
Naturally you want to do the best job you can. And of course you must be prudent and do sufficient research and planning before starting out. But don’t let these honorable traits turn into a straightjacket that prevents you from moving forward.
Planning and research are an important and a vital first step in any undertaking. Give yourself a deadline for completing these, though. Then take that one step, trusting in not only what you’ve found out but also in your native intelligence and common sense, in your life experience, and in the fact that you probably have other resources at your fingertips. Remember, you can always Google it or ask your friendly librarian or a friend or read a book on the subject or talk to someone who you know has more experience or knowledge in the area than you do. Don’t be afraid to “draw a line under it”, under the research and planning stage, and declare that good enough is good enough. Then go for it–take that first incremental step!
This is where the benefit and the power of breaking your steps into itty bitty fragments comes in. You’ll be able to take that little step by the deadline because you’ve broken them into teeny-tiny parts that you know for sure you can easily complete. And, because you’ve also categorized them into time chunks, you know that if you only have five minutes to devote to your dreams that deadline day, you can look under that category and choose a piece.
So, set that deadline for finishing your research and planning phase and select a little step that you’ll be able to do at that deadline. Now you have a plan. Isn’t this great? Don’t you feel proud of yourself? Don’t you feel a surge of energy as well?
WooHoo! This is awesome stuff! Now you can see the reality that you can actually do this–you can achieve your goals and dreams!
WooHoo! Go you!
Your homework for today is to revel in the positive, empowered feelings you’ve just created. DON’T SKIP THIS HOMEWORK!! All too often, we forget–or pooh-pooh–the small, often tiny, victories and achievements we have. You MUST honor yourself, your hard work, and the bravery and courage you’ve poured into every little bit of forward movement.
You can do it! Go you!
I am so very proud of you! I knew you could do it!
Honor yourself and your commitment of making this year different for yourself by putting you first.
You took the time yesterday to work with the steps you need to take and you made them into small increments that you are sure you can do. Honor this by scheduling time in your day to actually do one of the steps. I’ve found the best time of the day is first thing in the morning.
When the alarm first rings, get up. Don’t hit the snooze button. I know it’s tough to get out of a warm comfy bed, especially if it’s dark and cold. I know it’s tempting to say you’ll hit the snooze only this once…. Don’t do it–don’t hit that snooze button! Get up instead. You’ll be very glad you did, I promise. Remind yourself that you’re getting up because you are in the process of building something better for yourself this year.
You don’t have to get up hours and hours ahead. I’m sure you hit the snooze button several times in the morning. Snooze periods are from 4 – 9 minutes, depending upon which brand of clock you have. By getting up with the first buzz of the alarm, you’re gaining an extra 4 – 30 minutes (or more!) in the mornings. That’s perfect for completing a step!
Choose one that will take only a few minutes to complete (when you’re beginning a new routine, start small and simple. As your momentum gathers, you can increase your time). This is another one of the benefits of breaking your steps into teeny tiny increments. Not only does it create the belief that you can do that little piece, but the bits are small enough that they can be done in a few minutes.
When you put yourself first each morning, you’ll be surprised and amazed at how much better you’ll feel. Soon, you’ll have a spark of energy that you didn’t have before. You’ll also begin to feel more confident about yourself and more positive about the day ahead. And it won’t take months to feel this. With regularly putting yourself first in the day, you will quickly feel empowered.
For those of you who are unable to take an actual step, spend a few minutes first thing this morning imagining the little step that you could take if everything were lined up perfectly. Engage as many of your senses as possible. Don’t worry, though, if you have only a vague sense of things. That’s good enough for now.
Your homework for today, in case you haven’t already done so, is spending a little time going through your list of teeny tiny steps and categorizing them into ones that will take 5 minutes or less to complete, ones that will take 5 – 15 minutes to complete, ones that will take 15 – 30 minutes to complete, and so on. In the evening before you retire for the night, go through your list and select an increment you’ll complete first thing in the morning. Then go to sleep with the peace of knowing you’re all set for a terrific start to your day.
You did it! You got up when your alarm first rang and you also took a small step first thing this morning–whether you actually did something or if you spent time imagining it (PS: categorizing your steps counts as taking a step!)
Here we are at the beginning of a fresh, clean New Year. It’s sparkling, glittering with opportunity and promise. We can do anything we set our minds to! We’ll knock it out of the ballpark this year, for sure.
From this vantage point, we believe that this year will be different for us. Of course we’ll follow through on our plans, goals, and resolutions. We have vim, we have vigor, and we’re confident we’ll keep driving forward all the way through the end of December. But yet, there’s a niggling uncertainty in the back of our minds…how will we actually do this?
Though, for some of us at the leading edge of the New Year, we have a different vantage point. Instead of seeing the brightness of possibility and good fortune, we may be experiencing the bone-wearying lifelessness of the deepening rut we’ve been in for years. We have no goals, we have no plans, and we have no resolutions. Our hopes and dreams died years ago. We have no expectations because we promised ourselves that this year we would not set ourselves up for the disappointment of not following through and the resulting humiliation of being in the same place–or worse–this time next year. Furthermore, it’s exhausting to even think about getting up the nerve and wherewithal to try–yet again–to make something different for ourselves. But still, there’s a small whisper niggling at the back of our minds saying that we’re made for something more, something greater, than this…but how do we actually do this?
The answer is: by taking one step at a time.
It sounds simplistic, even ludicrous. Maybe it’s insulting to be told something we’ve heard countless times before. We’ve already tried it with varying degrees of success and yet we’ve stood by helplessly as our excitement and drive fizzled out. Or, perhaps we’re crushed by the despair of not being able to summon the tiniest scrap of energy to take so much as a feeble limp, much less a step.
All these objections are saying one thing: the steps you are taking, or are imagining you must take, are too large. Break them into smaller pieces. Make them microscopic if you have to. Break them down to the point where the first step is something you believe is reasonable and achievable; something you can do. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing or have done. It doesn’t matter that the step you are taking is so small that even the most powerful electron microscope would have trouble detecting it. The only thing that matters is that you are taking action–moving forward.
So that first step–either the one you will take or the one you are imagining taking–break it down into smaller pieces. Break those into baby pieces. Then break those into teeny tiny pieces. Keep breaking them into smaller and smaller increments until you get to a piece that you know you can commit to doing.
To help you, repeat to yourself often throughout the day, emphasizing the word in italics:
I can do it;
I can do it;
I can do it;
I can do it.
Also repeat to yourself often throughout the day, emphasizing the word in italics:
Yes I can;
Yes I can;
Yes I can.
If one of these strikes a chord within you, then repeat that one as often as you can. Write it down, carry it with you, paste it where you’ll see it often, and refer to it throughout the day.
Your homework for today is to break your step into small, easily doable increments and do only one of those increments today. Or, when you imagine a step you might take if the world were perfect and if you had a stiff wind at your back, break that down into a very small piece that causes you to say, “Huh. I think I can actually do that one.”
For those of you who can take the small incremental step, go ahead and do so. For those of you who can only imagine it, then do that–trying to imagine it using as many senses as you can. Don’t worry if you get only a little glimmer of it. That’s good enough for now.
Congratulations! Pat yourself on the back because you did it! You took the first step! That’s all you had to do today so you’re done! You’re free to do what ever else you’d like to do.