Editor’s Note: Big Daddy Kane lyrics aside, we’ve all heard the expression, “one step at a time.” But what if you feel like you don’t have the time/energy/motivation for even one step? What about a half-step? In the latest post on his website Zenhabits, Leo Babauta shares some wisdom on getting unstuck, a challenge so many of us face in our 40s. He reminds us that sometimes getting unstuck doesn’t require a huge leap. Sometimes all it takes is a tiny half step in the right direction…
You’d be surprised to know how many emails I get where people are stuck in their lives.
They’re broke, or unmotivated, or in a job they hate, or they can’t find their passion, or they can’t get motivated to get healthy.
And they don’t know where to start.
It hurts to read these emails. It brings back to life the pain I lived through not too many years ago, when I too was stuck.
I know the feeling of despair when you are unhappy with your life and don’t know how to change. When you’ve tried lots of changes, but couldn’t find the discipline to make them stick. When you feel crappy about yourself because you know you should get off your butt and start improving your life, but you’d rather put it off for another day.
Problems go away when you ignore them, right?
I also know that there is really only one way out of this mire of despair.
It’s to take an action, no matter how tiny.
You don’t need to fix everything in your life right now. You don’t even need to fix one thing.
You just need to do one little, miniscule, almost nothing thing.
Make a list. Go outside and take a walk. Get rid of some of your junk food. Clear off your kitchen table. Cancel something tomorrow so you can make time to create something, no matter how small.
Don’t do all of these. Do one. Or half of one, or one thousandth. It doesn’t matter how small — the smaller, the better.
Take that first step. Celebrate that first step. Love the step, not the destination. That step, even the motion of taking the first foot off the ground and moving it forward — that’s everything.
That’s the truth, and you’ll not read it in many self-help books: put every microparticle of your existence into that half step, and be nothing but that half step, and love it with all you have … and your life has changed.
With this half step, everything is different. You haven’t achieved any goals … but you’ve moved. You haven’t created something amazing … and yet, more than ever before, you have.
You’ve created beauty and joy and movement where none existed before, where previously only constriction and paralysis and confusion lived. You have changed the world.
The First Habit
Choose one little habit to add joy to your life. Just one, and tiny is miraculous.
It can be writing or painting or making music for 2 minutes a day. It can be a ridiculously easy walk or jog or enjoying a bowl of fruit. It can be 2 minutes of meditation or reflecting in a journal.
Enjoy the hell out of it.
Create this one habit, and you have a success. This is a foundation, a first step, to build on.
Then you can do a second, and a third, but you can’t do those without a first.
Don’t change your entire life. Just change this one little thing.
You’d be amazed how much that matters. I was.
What’s one little thing you can change in your life today? Will you take that half step?
Read Leo Babaut’s original post on half stepping here.