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Baby Steps: A Simple Guide to Doing Something New

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb

Two years ago, after hearing Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project, talk about setting up one’s own blog, I went home and did just that. It had been something I had thought of doing, one day, when I would get over my “fear” of technology and decide I can do this.

Her talk made it sound so easy that I sat down and went for it. And I did it; I set up my own blog on blogpost. I was quite proud of myself. Within the next couple of weeks I wrote a couple of posts. And then I got stuck. I didn’t know where to go from there, what to focus on, what direction to take.

Month after month went by and I didn’t post. I had only done three postings in total. It actually felt burdensome having it up there but feeling paralyzed about continuing to post.

After about a year, I decided to get it taken down. I felt relieved that it was off. My leap into the blogging world had sent me springing backwards. I was not ready for this. It required a commitment of writing consistently and with a focus, neither of which I had at the time.

But it was definitely something I wanted to come back to again, one day. I didn’t feel like I was barking up the wrong tree but rather I needed to backtrack and take more preliminary steps towards this goal. So I started reading lots of other blogs and posting comments on them, Tiny Buddha being one of them.

I’d even get comments on my comments, which was exciting to me. That gave me a boost. I wrote a couple of online pieces for newsletters. That was a win for me. And then I noticed the submissions statement on Tiny Buddha and figured I’d give that a try.

Lo and behold, my first piece was accepted. Another win. I am now up to piece number four on Tiny Buddha (and putting it into wordpress form—another step for me and a win; I’m working up to eventually learning to Twitter.)

I am now working with a copy person and designer to redo my website and create a blog. This time I feel ready. My small steps and “wins” have given me the incentive, motivation and confidence to go for it. I revel each time my piece is accepted and see this all as stepping stones and building blocks toward my creation.

Achieving goals requires taking small steps. Success reinforces success.

These are the simple steps I’ve been taking to reach my goals:

1. Break big goals/tasks down into smaller, doable tasks.

2. Acknowledge and revel in your accomplishments, however small. Feel the pride and joy of the win.

3. Take baby steps.

4. Succeed.

5. Feel the pride.

6. Take more baby steps.

7. Keep moving.

8. Know that each small win is an accomplishment unto itself.

9. Keep moving.

10. Open up to bigger things as you keep moving.

It’s easier to make a comeback from a little tumble than from a steep fall. It’s a shorter road back up. So, baby steps, slow and steady. Now start with one foot and go for it.

Photo by Cameron Cassan

Avatar of Harriet Cabelly

About Harriet Cabelly

Harriet Cabelly is a social worker, certified positive psychology coach, and life coach emphasizing living life to its fullest and creating a good life out of (or despite) adversity. Read more about her at Rebuild Your Life Coach and read the latest from her blog.

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  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose AlannahRose

    I really appreciate this piece. Sometimes it’s really scary to start moving towards a personal goal or dream we’ve always had in the back of our minds… there can be so much pressure to get it right the first time. It was really touching to read how great you felt when you set up your blog but then how it became burdensome and you had to backtrack and start over.

    I really agree with your list… keep moving is definitely the most important thing. I apply a similar list to my current situation daily! “Baby steps” is almost a mantra for me these days. They’re all I can manage, but they add up, and one day I will be at my goal.

    Congrats on your fourth piece for Tiny Buddha!

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose AlannahRose

    I really appreciate this piece. Sometimes it’s really scary to start moving towards a personal goal or dream we’ve always had in the back of our minds… there can be so much pressure to get it right the first time. It was really touching to read how great you felt when you set up your blog but then how it became burdensome and you had to backtrack and start over.

    I really agree with your list… keep moving is definitely the most important thing. I apply a similar list to my current situation daily! “Baby steps” is almost a mantra for me these days. They’re all I can manage, but they add up, and one day I will be at my goal.

    Congrats on your fourth piece for Tiny Buddha!

  • Kate

    Thank you so much for this post!

    I have started, and subsequently stalled a number of my own writing projects and blogs and it always leaves me feeling like a failure. Akin to Harriet, I seem to get stuck after a few posts and lose my steam. This is exactly what I needed to read to get myself motivated to try again… smaller steps this time. :)

    xx

  • Psychrx

    The most important thing you said is to” revel in your accomplishments” I always say something like…”oh that was so easy anyone could do it.” Thus minimizing my wins. I need to stop that

  • Beavanwaes

    Love this post, thank you- so very true and so very wise.Very inspiring!!

  • Beth

    You made starting something new seem less scary… thank you for the encouragement. I also enjoy how you summarize your posts with simple to remember 1-10 steps.

  • http://www.harrietcabelly.com Harriet Cabelly

    AlannahRose,
    Thank you for your conrats!
    Yes, the small steps do add up and you need to take pride in each one; you are moving forward – learning and growing, and that is Big.

  • Fiona Lundy

    Thank you for this Harriet, you’ve inspired me to start commenting … this is my first! :o)

  • http://www.harrietcabelly.com Harriet Cabelly

    Good first baby step. Feel good about it and keep on going.

  • http://twitter.com/Rishi1123 Rishi

    Such an amazing article. So inspiring and as the author says, this article is going to be an incentive and motivation for me to take my initial baby steps towards writing a blog. Thanks for sharing

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  • masuba

    Oh, its me in your shoes right now. i also started a blog last month with one article. now just stuck. i wanted to put in more . But now i am inspired. thank uyou .

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  • Livingthequestions

    This gave me a little motivation, I’m trying to keep up a blog for social anxiety, but I’m finding it pretty difficult. I’m not the best writer, but what I do have is experience. So why not? I’d like more followers, but for now I suppose I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and take baby steps

  • http://www.rebuildyourlifecoach.com Harriet Cabelly

    Hi Living the questions,
    Absolutely keep it up.  If you love what you’re doing and believe in it, then keep at it.  Persevere! 
    Read my blog interview on starting up a blog at: http://mylifearchitects.com/what-has-harriet-cabelly-got-to-say-about-blogging-for-personal-development/
    Good luck and stick with it.  Patience and Time.  Enjoy the journey as you get better and evolve.

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  • Flaming_redd

    I always find myself wanting to be at the top of the stairway without taking the steps to get there. But when I do something that way, hmm..surprise surprise, I’m up there, looking around, wondering what comes next, usually feeling thoroughly overwhelmed and scared.

    Thank you, not just for the reminder that small steps are the most effective, but, perhaps most importantly, to celebrate the success achieved with those steps. Like Phychrx, I tend to make light of my accomplishments…”If I can do it, anyone can..” or, “Yes, but…there is [fill-in-the-blank] yet to do.” That may or may not be true, but what really matters is that you did it. Or, I guess I should say, I did it.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • kavin paker

    One of the things that I learned and you put it so eloquently is that
    jealousy is a way for you to know what you want, and to do something
    positive and productive about it.
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