Updated: Mar 12
Remember MapQuest? Do you remember how amazing it seemed when it was first introduced? Move over Rand McNally!! (sorry to the millennials reading this who have no idea what that is) I mean, you could type in your current location and then your desired location, and your computer would download STEP-BY-STEP instructions on how to get to your destination. Mind blowing! The next step was to print these instructions out and bring them with you on your road trip. Nevermind if there was traffic, a detour, or an obstacle....all you needed was that list of steps and you were good to go.
When looking at that long list of turns, it would have been nearly impossible to memorize and know each and every step. All that was important was to follow the next step. You didn't need to know all of the details. You just needed to be able to see what the very next step would be.
It's the same way with life. You probably know where you want to go. What you want to accomplish. What the ultimate goal is. But you have no idea how to get there. It seems overwhelming to think about every twist and turn that will come along the way. But the truth of the matter is that you don't need to see every step from where you are at right now. You need only have visibility of what the very NEXT STEP is right in front of you.
You can apply this truth to so many areas of your life. Let's take parenting for example. I know how I want my kids to turn out. I want them to be honest, hard-working, God loving and compassionate, caring people. But there are a lot of years from birth to adulthood and that is a lot of decisions that need to be made along the way. So all I need to be concerned with, is the decisions being made TODAY. Whatever today brings, whatever decisions that I need to make in regards to those two kids today, I need to stay focused on our values as a family. I know one thing, I can't go wrong with just loving them. Loving them unconditionally and telling them how proud I am of them and how much God loves them.
You can apply this truth to your health and wellness journey. Many of you may desire to be healthier or to lose weight. Maybe you want to be 35 pounds lighter, exercise daily, and to eat more nutritional foods. Ok....start with the first step. Whatever that may look like for you. Drinking more water, going to the gym 3 times this week, taking a short walk every morning, cutting out sugar and flour--all of these are small steps you can take, one at a time, that will eventually lead you closer to your bigger goal. You don't have to know what each and every step is ahead of time. Just know the ONE, FIRST step to take. And get good at that first!
How do you determine what the first step is? Well if you know where you want to go, where you want to end up.....and you know what is important to you and what you value the most, then sit down and write out all of the small steps and changes that you need to make to get there. Write it all out. A long, and exhaustive list. Then, break it down. Small steps. And pick which ONE you are willing and feel ready to do FIRST. Which one do you feel confident that you can conquer. And if even that one step seems big, break it down even smaller. Drinking more water is a big, unspecific goal. But drinking 32 ounces of water per day is doable and specific for most people. Eating healthier is too broad and big of a step, but eating one serving of veggies everyday (especially if you aren't eating any) is a goal that some would find reasonable to do.
After you determine the first, small step you are willing to take...MASTER IT. Become proficient in that. As James Clear says in his book Atomic Habits, "Master the art of showing up." He actually gives a story of a man who was overweight and desired to make exercise a part of his routine. He decided to go to the gym everyday for FIVE MINUTES. That's it. FIVE!! He would go, get on a machine or grab some dumbbells or hop on the treadmill for 5 minutes, and then he'd stop and leave! Sounds crazy right?? Well, he MASTERED this. And after feeling that success of doing what he had set out to do, he started BELIEVING in himself. For so long, he and so many us, quit believing that we are capable of lasting change. We have no confidence in ourselves. By mastering and nailing even the smallest of steps for a period of time, we begin believing that we can change. It builds our "resume of success", as I call it. After that same man became successful at going to the gym for 5 minutes each day, he started to stay for longer. He gradually increased his time there until he was getting a full and complete workout in that he could handle. And that may have only been 20 or 30 minutes. But that's better than ZERO.
Be careful of comparing yourself to other people who are in the middle or towards the end of their journey. We all start somewhere. We tend to look at other people who have already been on their journey for quite awhile, and we get envious of their progress, or compare ourselves to where they are. Listen, this will do you NO good. If you are just starting off in your journey, give yourself some grace. Sometimes, I see other coaches who have successful online businesses and full clientele lists, and I get envious or question what I'm doing. But the fact of the matter is I JUST STARTED OFF IN THIS JOURNEY. I've got a ways to go. I'll get there! I can't compare my beginning with someone else's middle or end.
So, print out your life's MapQuest, and take a look at step one, and don't worry about the rest. You don't need to know all of those other steps. Just the first step. Master that one, and then move on to the next. And don't move on until you do....getting to step two, before you've completed step one won't do you any good.
If you need help figuring out what your step one should be and how you should go about mastering it, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I'd be glad to work with you and help you on your journey!