Teeny, Tiny, Bitty, Baby Steps

Teeny, tiny, itty, bitty baby steps!

Teeny, tiny, itty, bitty baby steps!

Coaching clients in organizing and parenting, and trying to make changes in my own life, I have come to see that real and sustainable change comes from repeated, tiny, teeny, bitty little things. After I lead a parenting class, I see the "There's a NEW Sheriff in town" syndrome where parents want to go back home and implement everything. DIVING into the deep end of the pool takes so much energy, is so abrupt and jarring that we quickly swim to the side, heave ourselves out, and head right to the snack bar. Then we pack up our bag, leave and never get into the water again  because it was uncomfortable and non-productive.

INSTEAD, setting and fulfilling the teeniest of goals actually creates dopamine (the feel good drug) in your head. Once the dopamine is flowing we create a self-sustaining energy source for change. Let's see it in practice.

Parenting - Keep doing all the things you are doing and add in spending 20 minutes a week, scheduled, with each child, one on one, doing what they want (avoid screens). If you are a nagger,  keep nagging and write down when you nag to see if you are nagging to relieve stress, or to avoid your own problems, or to make someone do something they really don't want to do. Listen to your child without commenting after the listening (WHAT?! Yes we CAN!).

Workout - honestly, the number one thing that helps EVERYTHING is working out. It promotes healthy sleep, it creates creativity, it reduces blood pressure. If there was a drug that created as many benefits as working out we would pay SO MUCH MONEY for it. I am passionate about it. I understand you have a 1,000,000 excuses why you can't. Keep those excuses and do it anyway. I'm talking a 10 minute walk around the soccer field when your kids are at practice. Getting outside is awesome because nature and Vitamin D help everything too. If you can't get motivated,  just put on your workout clothes and see what happens. The Kaizen Way has some more awesome tips. Keep reminding your lazy brain that getting started takes 90% of the energy.

Organizing - There is no magical there there if you have been disorganized your whole life. There is no turn-key, there is no mystical book that has THE answer. Part of the trick I learned from David Allen of Getting Things Done, set the bar so low that you find success, not what you expected, huh? Here's the visual that came up in my head.

Imagine you want to play soccer (be organized), the barrier to get onto the soccer field is so, so low you can just lift your foot and swoop, there you are ON the field (open my mail every day, pitch the trash and put bills in 'action' and the rest in 'pending'). Then when you look around a few days later (and the mail has piled up, because it will) you think to yourself, "I'm a soccer player! Look, I'm on the field, not still sitting in the stands."  ("I'm an organized person"), and off you go to participate (re-boot your mail). Not, oh my gosh, I'm a loser, I'm never going to get off the bench (Oh my gosh, I'm a loser, I'll just do the mail tomorrow and have a coke and lie down right now.)

Teeny, tiny, itty, bitty, baby steps. We often discount them because they are "too easy". DO. NOT. OVERLOOK. THE. BABY. STEPS! (I am yelling, in a loving and nurturing way.)

Micro Goals is a quick article about the same thing.