There’s something about staring down a big job that makes it seem impossible. So impossible that I would probably never even start if I had to tackle all of it in one go.
For me this week, and for what seems like the foreseeable future, that’s painting fences. You probably remember that I moved late last summer, and now the sun has come back it’s time to get the garden sorted.
There are a lot of fence panels. And they all need painting. And it’s my job to do it. When I look at the entirety of the job at hand, I feel disheartened with the progress I’ve made. But I am getting through it, a panel at a time. Sometimes a single plank at a time.
But that small and consistent action will get me there eventually.
If I expand that thought out – I am doing exactly the same with my degree. When I consider that the whole thing is going to take me 5 years, I wonder what the point is. But I’m tackling it one section at a time. Week by week I’m moving forward.
You can expand that out further to really big goals, whatever they are for you. It’s all about seeing what you want to achieve and making the choice, each day, to move towards it. Whether that’s a big weight loss goal, saving money, stopping drinking, a big physical challenge or anything else.
And it’s OK if you don’t manage to make that choice some days, you get to make the choice all over again tomorrow. Don’t allow a different choice one day to throw you off course.
You do need to know the end goal in order to start – otherwise how do you know what direction to head in? But you don’t need to do the whole thing at once. All you have to do right now, is focus on right now.
Decide that your next meal will be good for you.
Decide that, today, you will not have that first drink.
Decide to keep that tenner in the bank rather than buying another nice top.
Decide to paint one fence panel.
Don’t worry about tomorrow, next week, next month or a year from now today. Don’t concern yourself with how you’ll make progress through a holiday, on your birthday, over Christmas. Just focus on today.
A then do the same tomorrow.
Small, consistent, action. Just for today.