When I was a kid, my dad would often say “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”. The lesson I was meant to learn is that tiny savings add up quickly. Sadly, I’m still utterly careless with money and burn through it recklessly until there’s none left. Then I wait until some more comes along and do the same.
My dad didn’t waste his breath though. That lesson is equally valid elsewhere. Really it’s a system for setting smaller goals. It’s easy to be distracted or disheartened by the prospect of writing a book or running a marathon. It’s daunting, they’re huge tasks and the chance of failure looms so heavily that it often puts you off from even starting.
Instead decide you’re only going to write one chapter, maybe you’ll run one mile. That doesn’t seem so hard. We can all do that, right? You’ll find that after the first, the second won’t seem so hard. The third might, but you’ve already done two, so why not keep going. Break things down into smaller chunks.
In case you didn’t already know, I’m a magician. The thought of learning a difficult knuckle busting card manipulation routine seems like it might well be impossible, but learning to make one card vanish and reappear again… We can all do that, right? Once I’ve done that, the next part won’t seem so hard, the third might, but I already did two, so why not keep going. I just need to break it down into smaller chunks.
This example works anywhere and everywhere, and I’ve found it useful for gaining motivation in all corners of my life. Whether it’s writing, rehearsing or even weight loss, now I look after the pennies and the lbs look after themselves. (Keeping them off in between is another story)
Don’t worry about finishing, just focus on making a start. You WILL get there.
Then no matter what else happens, if you sat down and wrote one chapter, learned one new thing or ran one mile, you managed to find a small victory.
You can still win THIS day. Imagine what you’ll achieve tomorrow.