#001 – Forward Motion

smcastleberry Self-Leadership

I’ll never forget the lyrics to one of my favorite songs from my high school days: “I struggle with forward motion, we all struggle with forward motion, ’cause forward motion is harder than it sounds…” (Relient K, 2003)

Isn’t that true, though?

Don’t we all struggle to move forward in our lives on a consistent basis?

One of the main reasons we struggle to make meaningful, lasting changes to our lives is because we perceive the task as too large.

  • We want to be more healthy and lose 40 pounds, but after a few salads and trips to the gym we haven’t moved the scale much–so we console ourselves with Ben & Jerry.
  • We want to be more intentional with our marriage and cultivate a deep relationship with our spouse, but our changes are met with resistance–so we retreat back to Netflix.
  • We want to begin praying with our children each morning before school, but schedules are crazy, we didn’t get much sleep, and our boss is already emailing us before we get out the door–so we say a quick goodbye and head out.
  • We want to pay off $18,000 of debt and escape the paycheck-to-paycheck life, but the new model of car looks so good at the dealership, we can’t say no to going out, and our kid needs a new bat for baseball–so we put it on the credit card and say “next month will be better.”

We often give up because we don’t see results and hit our goals fast enough.

Here’s the secret successful people know: big goals are impossible, but many small goals are motivating.

Henry Ford, the man credited with inventing the assembly line, said it this way: “Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs”

In short, we take baby steps.

To explain, I’ll let fictional psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin, from the 1991 comedy What About Bob? explain:

It means setting small, reasonable goals for yourself one day at a time, one tiny step at a time. For instance, when you leave this office, don’t think about everything you have to do in order to get out of the building. Think about what you must do to get out of this room. When you get to the hall, deal with that hall and so forth. Baby steps.”

So, what does this mean for us?

  • Instead of thinking “I need to lose 40 pounds”, think “This week my goal is to lose 2.5 pounds.” Baby step.
  • Instead of thinking “I will change my husband’s heart this week”, think “Regardless of reciprocation, I will do __________ for him.” Baby step.
  • Instead of thinking, “I plan on praying with my kids each day this month”, think “I will set my alarm fifteen minutes earlier so I can have enough margin to compensate for morning craziness.” Baby step.
  • Instead of thinking, “I will pay off all my debt”, think “This month I will cut spending by $750 and apply that to my debt.” Baby step.

How do we establish forward motion in our lives?

We take a baby step.

Then another.

Then another.

Then another.

Before long, we make significant progress.

How? Baby steps.

What area of life do you know you need to make progress?

Got it? Good.

Now break it down into the smallest parts you can–then take a baby step.