I really like autumn and the moment when it happens that one day you wake up, look out the window, and there you are greeted by burning red leaves. When did that happen, when did summer turn to fall? It seems that yesterday you were surrounded by greenery and September cobwebs. Well, it didn’t happen overnight. The trees changed colours imperceptibly, day by day. How does this apply to our lives? We, too, should change things slowly.
Whenever it comes to life transformations people prefer big changes. They like to see big shifts fast and when they don’t see it they feel like they have failed. This applies to every type of goal we set, from tiny to those really big ones; losing weight, getting fit, getting rich or changing career patch – we want it all and we want it now. If we do not see a significant change now, it is more likely that we will quit.
Little actions lead to big things
Everything takes time. Just as we need time to grow, learn, and improve our skills, our goals need this time to be fulfilled. There is an incubation period for everything. Actions we are taking today lead to results in the future, and depending on what we’re talking about, that future may be distant. And here the patience of a Zen master would come in handy, but how to develop it in yourself?
I think it will be helpful to look at everything from a distance and realize that time is working in our favour. We have a certain number of hours to use every day – it might seem that it is not much, because in twelve hours you will not lose 10 kg, you will not write a book or graduate from university. But if you spend even a small fraction of these twelve hours doing something, and you repeat it regularly, you will see the result in a while.
Let me illustrate it with an example. Writing a book can seem tedious and overwhelming (and it often is;)). You won’t sit down and write the entire book at once, but writing 5 pages a day already seems more realistic to achieve. Now think – 5 pages a day for sixty days is 300 pages. This is how little actions taken every day lead to bigger things.
The problem is that we often don’t see the results right away, so we won’t stick to our decisions.
It is very difficult to change your eating habits overnight, but let’s say just giving up eating a chocolate bar every day will make a difference in weight after a while. Same, you won’t become Hendrix right away, but practising even half an hour a day can make you play the guitar at a decent level. The same goes for learning a language, improving in some field, mastering meditation techniques, yoga – you name it.
People underestimate how everyday small actions and choices can affect the bigger picture of their lives. The secret to success lies in being consistent in your daily activities. Because there’s no such thing as an overnight success.
Focusing on a small change will help you with this dreadful feeling of disappointment when you don’t see big results instantly. If you are losing your patience and self-confidence waiting for the big thing to happen, try to see things from a slightly different perspective. Look at it in a way that your goal is in a development state. Small changes added to each other come together in a big change.
Read more about making changes here.