One step forward towards reaching your dreams and goals.
This is the first edition of a new mini project I’ve started, adapting the morning pages pages model for writing as a way to collect learnings and publish content. The idea is to write a 750word post mostly as a stream of consciousness. This first topic is particularly relevant to this goal as blog writing is something I have put off as it seems big and complex to me. Happy reading!
Figuring out a new goal or a new project is really exciting. You have this grand vision in your head, you talk about it with all of your friends, you’re high on the hype and all the positive reinforcement to actually get it going.
But, then you get busy and you don’t do the thing. It’s been a few days, the idea is still burning a hole in the back of your mind but there’s just no time. Saturday arrives, you’ve purposefully put the whole day aside to work on the project.
So, where do you start? It seems so big. It’s a huge mountain that you’ve built up in your mind. What do you do? How do you move forward? Your perfectionism kicks in and you don’t feel good enough to even be doing this in the first place. Who are you to even do this?
This is the point where you probably walk away from your desk, casually pick up your phone, and open Netflix. You think to yourself, “this is stressful, so I’m just going to watch 20 minutes of this show and then I’ll come back to it. I’ve got a deadline at 10:00 am it’s all business and it’s work time”.
Fast forward three hours, and it’s now 2 pm. Now you’re racked with guilt. You feel all tense because you had promised yourself that you would be so productive and get so much done today! Because you feel so guilty, it feels almost impossible to get the project going? I mean, how could possibly ever fulfill that vision? It’s just so big, who are you to even think you’re able to do that? Your friend texts you to see what you’re doing! Ohh this is exactly what you need. You haven’t been able to work on the project because you’re feeling alone and isolated, so social contact is what you need. Plus, your friend is a really good ideas person, you’ll be able to brainstorm your actions with them. You’ll get back to the project tonight, you work well at night!
You hang out with your friend. “Let’s just get a quick wine” you both say! Well, one wine turns into 2, into 3, into 4. And then you find yourself out dancing and get home at 3 am. Lucky you’ve got Sunday to get that thing happening.
Sunday morning you wake up at midday and slightly hungover from the night before. You deserve fun! However, you’ve also got an emotional guilt hangover because you actually did nothing on the thing that you worked so hard on and the weekend is almost over.
Tomorrow it is time to go back to work and spend your day working on projects for someone else. It means you bring this small amount of resentment into your working week. You feel like you have no time for yourself.
This project you had planned goes from a positive side hustle to a black cloud which overhangs everything that you do!
This way of living and working creates stress and tension. It keeps you up at night and stops you from sleeping. It makes sitting down at work trying to concentrate almost impossible. It fills up your mental space and induces a feeling of shame and guilt.
Is there a way around this? A different way of doing things?
This is where the idea of ‘one step forward’ comes in. It’s not a new idea, but a big one that we often forget to put into practice. And that is, what is the smallest thing you can do to get your ideas happening?
I came to this realisation through a self-reflective art exercise with Alex from Wildflowers of the world (check out the project!). Whilst we have big picture ‘macro’ dreams, it’s actually a series of small ‘micro’ steps that allow us to get there.
You could also look at this from a yin yoga point of view. Taking the smallest action is ‘leaning in’ to the process of creating your dreams. It’s a way of dealing with fear. Trying to tackle something huge and head on induces a stressful fight or flight reaction. But, taking a small step can be done in a state of relaxation. And, the relaxation is the mental space that we need to actually start working on the things that matter to us.
We also learn what we need to do from experience, we don’t need to be ready to start working on the things we love, we just need to take one step forward. With each step, we take we’re learning about what we need to do next. And, then when you look back at all the small steps you realise that you’ve built your mountain up without even noticing.
I approach these blog articles using a model adapted from the ‘morning pages’ process. They are only lightly edited and are mostly a stream of consciousness writing exercise that pulls together my learnings from different talks, events, readings and from life.
They’re generally not referenced, and not all the thoughts have been fully realised. So, if you have a different point of view or something to add to the topic, I want to hear from you! Please give me your thoughts.
It’s been a goal of mine to publish blog content for a long time, but I never did it because it seemed like the process was too big and complex. So I decided to make it smaller and simpler an do it one step at a time.
Whilst you should dream big, the process to get there is small steps, one step forward at a time. Reaching our dreams and goals is the result of many small steps over a period of time.
Do morning pages yourself:
Morning Pages is a process for steam of consciousness writing which is intended to be done first thing in the morning. The process of writing is about promoting self-reflection to inspire personal self-awareness, clarity, and learning.
If you’d like to try it yourself you can find out more information here directly from the source: http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/