Thursday, 12 December 2013

"A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step"

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." 
Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu 
Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)
          Today I was speaking with a friend about motivation, road-blocks and walls. We are both musicians, and aspire to create. There is nothing like the feeling of cohesive music that just flows from your mind into your instrument and out into beautiful music. There is nothing like writing the perfect poem or story, or achieving your goals. But there are so many potential obstacles that can arise along the way. The thoughts of encountering these obstacles, or actually encountering them, is enough to stop most people's motivation dead in its tracks.

The same is true for coping with depression or anxiety. There are many walls and obstacles that can crop up - some may be physical, some may be emotional/mental. Sometimes the simplest task is overwhelming and the urge to shrink from it is strong. Getting out of bed some days can be very hard for some people. Facing a personal fear can be daunting. Finding the will inside to keep pressing forward, through the emotional fog and walls can be exhausting. Finding the motivation can sometimes seem impossible.

As people, we don't often give ourselves credit where it's due; we are our own hardest critics, our worst judges. It has been said before and it's true. But this mindset doesn't help to keep you motivated, and it definitely doesn't keep you feeling mentally well. We rarely look behind us to see where we have come, the challenges we have conquered, the goals we have achieved. We are constantly looking forward, berating ourselves for not being there yet, not being better yet, not being good enough.

When taking on a big battle like fighting depression and anxiety, or setting long-term goals, or starting a new routine or habit, people don't often acknowledge the little steps they take along the way in order to make it to the end goal. It's an all-or-nothing, black-and-white perspective that will leave them feeling defeated.

I didn't do all the tasks I had set out today. I'm a failure. 
I didn't run the whole 5km. I didn't succeed.
I didn't.... 

This list can go on.

But, chances are, you did do some of the tasks on your list. And chances are you at least put on your shoes, maybe took a few steps, maybe you ran half your 5k. Chances are, you did do something to help you achieve your goal. These are little steps.

They are the most important steps you will take.

Little steps are what set you in motion for sustaining habits; they are the power behind the inertia of routine. They will get you to where you are going.

Be happy with the little steps, as they are the biggest part of your journey.

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Other topics you may be interested in:

Overwhelmed? Carve a Staircase Out of a Wall!

Engine for Change - Motivation for self-relection and self-improvement.

Motivating and encouraging statements - Help yourself stay above the water!

Staying Motivated When Discouraged


  1. Thank you for the inspiration. Putting one foot in front of the other over here.