For Lasting Success, Forget the Big Moves and Focus on Baby Steps

keep resolutions incremental actions
By Yvonne Milosevic

It’s now February. How many of your new year’s resolutions have you managed to keep? Still hitting the gym five days a week? Waking up at 4:30 a.m. to reap the many benefits touted by early risers? And that vow to save more and spend less this year…how’s that one going? Research shows about 80% of us fail at our resolutions by six weeks into the new year. Why is that?

Often, the culprit is having a laundry list of life-altering changes we aspire to make. Setting lofty goals and attempting to accomplish every one of them simultaneously all but guarantees failure.

The better strategy is to stay realistic. Avoid “stressure” by paring down your aspirations to a few manageable objectives. Then, for lasting success, don’t get hung up on the outcome. Instead, put all your effort into making steady progress toward your goal.

So, how do I get started?

Jack Canfield, entrepreneur and co-author of the blockbuster series “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” swears by the Rule of 5. Every day, take five small steps that get you closer to achieving your goal. What that looks like will vary depending on what you want to achieve. But making those small steps a non-negotiable part of your daily schedule is key.

Protip: Don’t fall for the temptation of brushing them off some days because they seem insignificant. Incremental progress, however small, has a compound effect. Canfield also recommends you keep track and record your progress. Review it regularly, and be amazed at how far you’ve come.

Author Seth Godin lays it out this way:

“The thing is, incremental daily progress (negative or positive) is what actually causes transformation. A figurative drip, drip, drip. Showing up, every single day, gaining in strength, organizing for the long haul, building connection, laying track-this subtle but difficult work is how culture changes.”

We’re several weeks into the new year, but you can still fine-tune your approach to one of your floundering resolutions. Put into action a plan guided by incremental actions rather than dramatic changes. A small investment made daily will yield a degree of progress that will blow your mind in the waning days of 2019.