With spring approaching, we often start reassessing our New Year’s resolutions and goals for the year. I am always looking for inspiration to make sure I achieve my goals and I came across a great quote: “good parents are the ones who learn more from their kids than they can teach them.” Can you think of something a child has taught you? As a mother of a 20 month old, one of the lessons I see every day is how lots of little accomplishments (like baby steps) can lead to a big accomplishment (like walking and running).
So how do baby steps apply to us as adults, whether or not you are a parent? Like so many parents, I mark my calendar for every milestone my baby makes - the day he first took a step on his own, the day he fed himself, the day he could crawl up and more importantly, down the stairs, the first day he said Dada (why did that have to come first?) and the first day he said Mama. At 20 months, he is now walking, running, babbling and eating with a spoon. But he didn’t start at that way, before he learned to walk he crawled, then he walked holding on to things, and when he first started walking he lurched one time and hit his head on the table requiring 12 stitches, but that did not stop him. His goal was to walk on his own and eventually run. He did not think he was a failure if he could not run right away. He did not judge his actions or his ability; he just focused on his goal.
His accomplishments made me start to wonder, why we as adults don’t congratulate ourselves on our “first steps”. Instead we judge ourselves and focus on our failures. Everything seems to be all or nothing. So many of my coaching clients are so hard on themselves and focus all their energy on the process instead of the end result. One client wants to lose five pounds a week and when she doesn’t, she feels like she has failed so she forgets about eating right altogether. I challenged her to think about her goal in another way. Instead of focusing on the pounds, focus on the ultimate goal (like my son wanting to walk – he didn’t care how it happened). So maybe if she concentrated on her ultimate goal of looking and feeling healthy and the lifestyle that would bring, the process would be easier and she would not beat herself up if she had a dessert one day. Every small step in the direction on your goal is an accomplishment. Another client wants to exercise every day, and when she does not, she gives up and does not exercise at all. She focuses on the process of exercising instead of the ultimate goal or being healthy so when she does not meet her expectations she has set herself up for failure.
My question is why can’t we approach our goals as little accomplishments? If you want to exercise every day to be healthy, congratulate yourself on every time you exercise and move towards your goal of being healthy. Any step in the direction of your goal is an accomplishment. It’s the baby step approach – you sit up, you crawl, you walk and then you run.
We all have our “to do” lists crammed with every conceivable task. What would happen if instead of focusing on the “to do” lists, we made “lists of accomplishments”? And if we started making lists of accomplishments, what would that tell us about ourselves? My bet is that we would feel better about ourselves; we would feel powerful and energized and feel closer to accomplishing our ultimate goal.
Turning your own baby steps into accomplishments
So I challenge you to make time to celebrate your accomplishments and put away the “to do” lists. You already know what you need to do. Every baby step you take towards something you value is an accomplishment and lots of baby steps can lead to an even bigger accomplishment. With time, you’ll see that your list of accomplishments will become longer than your “to do” list.
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Wayfinder Coach, Robin Schepper, leads Wise Walking Retreats and is a personal coach to individuals and groups.Contact htttp://www.wayfinderinc.com
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