How often have you set a big goal for yourself, fallen short, and given up? The road to lasting change is usually one of small consistent steps in the direction of your desired destination. Many of the couples I see in marriage counseling come to me frustrated and discouraged. They think the challenges in their troubled relationships are gigantic, and their motivation feels insufficient. The message I try to get them to hear is that small consistent changes will produce significant lasting results.
Because we are creatures of habit, change doesn’t come easily. When we identify areas of life we want to change, it is usually best to be patient and break our long-term goals down into smaller steps. As we see ourselves making progress our motivation increases and we gain momentum. The opposite effect occurs when we try to bite off more than we can chew and fail. So when it comes to change: small is big, and slow gets to our destination quicker than jumping too far or too fast. Remember the children’s story The Tortoise and the Hare ? There is real wisdom in the moral of that story – “slow and steady wins the race.”
The important piece to take away from this is not only to start small, but also to not put off starting. The sooner we begin to make small steps the greater our likelihood of success. Don’t allow large goals to intimidate you into inactivity. Chop those big goals down to monthly or weekly (if possible even daily) steps and push forward. Often we are amazed looking back at how much progress we have made when we follow this basic principle!
So… if there is a big gorilla on your back, or a vision that seems out of reach, do not despair or give up. With God’s help and some consistency you can break free from negative habits and establish positive “addictions” which will take you into your dreams!
Ask any athlete how they achieved success, and their answer (if they are honest) will be “practice, practice, practice.” There is nothing wrong with big dreams, just start small and keep doing those things which will result in success until they become a part of your regular routine. Once you have established the right habits, success will come more easily and even ‘giants’ in your path will fall. How many times did David practice on smaller targets before he defeated Goliath with a single stone?
Small changes applied consistently really do make a big difference!
“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b-14)