One Step At A Time

From “Why Can’t I” To “How Can I”

It’s that time of week again and I’m going to be perfectly honest. I’m struggling. I don’t know about you, but sometimes what life throws at you just seems so overwhelming and unfair. It’s easy to get caught up in the “I can’t do this anymore” self-talk.

Trust me when I say – I KNOW WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE! Now! Present moment! I know what that feels like!

So, let’s talk about how to overcome some of those thoughts when it comes to our day-to-day. More importantly, let’s talk about how to overcome those thoughts as they relate to finding and experiencing our joy.

It’s a cliché and can seem tone-deaf to just say “shift your mindset” and all will be right with the world. NOT! It doesn’t work that way! It’s not that easy. I know that for sure! But with some small, heartfelt steps, we can get the boat turned just a little each and every day.

There are limiting beliefs that come up again and again and I’m still learning how to flip them on their head. Practicing these will help us gain perspective and continue to move forward. Here are a few mindset shifts I use:

Shift #1: Change the question

A “why” question can sometimes feel like a good excuse to berate ourselves. “Why can’t I ever get it together?” “Why do I always do that to myself?” These types of questions can sound like they need an answer akin to finding the “fault” within ourselves.

I’m not talking about the “why” questions of an inquisitive 3-year-old. I’m talking about when we question our own motives around what we are doing, thinking, or saying. The fix is to change the question. That alone can change the direction of the answer dramatically. Change “why can’t I” to “How can I?”

The question “Why can’t I ever seem to get my work done?” becomes “How can I get my work done more consistently?” Do you see how the answer becomes very different, and more importantly…Positive, Actionable, Possible? Your mind is automatically directed toward finding ways to accomplish something and offers a small sense of possibility.

Shift #2: Change the scope

In today’s world where it’s easy to be sucked into the “all or nothing, gotta have it yesterday” mindset, a grandiose goal can seem overwhelming, no longer possible. What you desire seems near impossible given the immensity of it, and ALL THE THINGS that need to be done to get it.

In this case, change the scope of what you’re attempting. NO, I am not saying lower the bar…at least not permanently. But when life gets hard and things get tough, find a small portion of the overall goal, and aim toward that. This is Productivity 101 at its core, but it bears repeating. The best way to accomplish anything big is to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.

This is even more important when the going gets tough. Give yourself grace and just tackle something small, easy, meaningful! Identify one small thing you can do today toward your big goal, and just do that. Consistently. Which brings us to…

Shift #3: Consistency leads to completion

You’ve heard it before. Take one small step every day! EVERY DAY. Are you listening? Every day! One small step. (I’m talking to you Virginia!) Note to self: Just do what you can. Every day do something, no matter how small, toward your goals.

Here’s the thing. Every step we take in the direction of our dream gets us closer. Forget the destination for now. Forget the overall goal other than its general direction out in front. Just make it to that little leaf on the sidewalk ahead of you. Then, make it to that crack with the tiny bug crawling along it. Then, make it to that interesting rock sitting on the edge of that flower bed.

Consistently taking even the smallest of steps forward toward your goal will get you there. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You climb a staircase one step at a time! And even better, you don’t have to focus on the whole staircase, just the ONE step that’s in front of you. That’s all. Just focus on the next right step, today. Worry about tomorrow’s step tomorrow.

Here’s another pro tip for you (and for me):

Grace and patience. You are human. Stuff happens. Cut yourself some slack! Even the tiniest step counts. And breathe!

Love to all of you. When the going gets tough, remember to be kind to yourself. Grace and patience!

Join me in my free Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/virginiasstudiocats for more support, encouragement, and community.

2 thoughts on “One Step at a Time”

  1. I’m having trouble with consistency leads to completion. I have to admit. I got photos of twisted wood but can’t seem to get going on to drawing it. My drawing is slacking. I’m intimidated to put that pencil on that paper but if I don’t there’s no way I’m going to get better. How do I overcome the intimidation mode?

    1. Recognize intimidation is simply fear…fear we won’t measure up, fear it won’t be good enough. Basically pressure you’re putting on yourself to be perfect on the paper. Perhaps you are “threatening” yourself that if it can’t be perfect, you are somehow not worthy. Knock that thought out by starting. Be willing to be a beginner. Be willing to suck at something you haven’t mastered yet. Try one of these: Use a paper that is not “precious” meaning–maybe it already has a scribble on it so you are not intimated about “ruining” the paper with a less than perfect drawing. Or try this; Tell yourself to do your best to make it less than perfect…make it bad ON PURPOSE and just see what arrives on the page; Draw it from a child’s perspective; Or draw with your non-dominant hand. All these techniques will most likely lead to a less than perfect representation of the subject, but there will be some beautifully perfect elements within. Focus on the process of learning, growing, improving….not the immediate outcome.

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