Ever heard of the snowball effect? Imagine a little push of a small snowball from the mountain top. The ball collects more snow as it rolls downhill and will eventually become a big snowball. A process of starting off small will transform into something larger, and may also be potentially dangerous, or beneficial.
Let’s talk about how we can apply this concept in our lives.
Specifically, how we can apply the lesson of getting that little push in whatever we are trying to achieve in life.
Why we procrastinate
If you have ever experienced procrastination, I am sure you will learn a lot from what I am going to tell you. I am no saint, and I still procrastinate from time to time. But I have learnt how to quickly get myself back on track after years of fighting distraction.
The little push of the snowball is the most important step in achieving your goals, no matter how big or small they are. It means taking a small step. It means taking action. It means starting.
Doesn’t sound significant or ground-breaking? Read the first paragraph again.
Most people procrastinate due to two main reasons:
They set the goal, then realise the gap between where they are and where they want to be is huge and seemingly impossible to cross, so they give up.
They see instant gratification over delayed gratification. Human brains seek immediate pleasure. Who remembers the goal of being a gym shark when a pack of chips is just right next to him?
We all have goals we want to achieve in life. It doesn’t matter if you put the deadline as next week, next year or “some day”. To tackle the problem of procrastination and using “I’m lazy/tired” as an excuse, you need to recognise the importance of just starting something small today. NOW.
What I have achieved by just taking small steps
Do not underestimate the small step you take today.
Putting on your sneakers and going out for a 10-minute walk don’t sound like the way to get you to run a marathon?
After the walk, you tell yourself you have done it. Your brain recognised your effort. You are ready for more. Tomorrow you will walk for 15, or even 30 minutes. Next week you will start jogging for 30 minutes. Before you know it, you are ready for that marathon you have been talking about for years.
Taking a small step, and making that 1% progress is the first step to success.
Within a year, I have 1) learnt a language, 2) pivoted my career, 3) became fit again, and 4) transformed from a mediocre student to a high achiever.
How did I do it?
I took baby steps.
I learnt French through an app for 5 minutes every day. I practised piano and guitar every day to get into the Master of Music Therapy (I was an accountant). I registered for boxing classes. I kept reading articles and asking questions throughout my studies.
When you feel like you “haven’t done much in the first step”, you need to zoom out and look at life through macro lens.
Small, consistent steps will get you further than jumping ahead once.
There is a compound effect of making that 1% progress every day.
You make incremental changes and improvements over time.
When you look back, you would be so glad that you just started by taking the first step.
Trees don’t grow in one day. You need to start from a seed and nurture it every day.
Once you set the goal, it would be better to just forget about it and focus on the process.
The process will get you there.
You will no longer feel stressed of the gap between where you are now and where you want to be.
Just start from where you are standing now.
One step at a time.