Sometimes it’s hard to make things happen.
My wife Shannon and I are in the process of moving this week.
We have been working on all the things connected to that this past month (finding a place, paperwork, packing, driving, etc.), along with many other big new things in life, as well as the regular daily responsibilities of life. It’s a lot of work!
All of these things combined have left me short on time, especially for writing.
Thankfully, it’s been a comfort to hear from readers that I’m not the only one who often feels that life is too busy to make time for the things that we love the most. Many of you feel the pressure of life and time.
I was struggling with myself this morning about being consistent and trying to pump out a post. I want to be consistently moving forward, but I also don’t want to compromise the quality of what I’m doing. I want to make sure that Frontrunners isn’t something that I’m just "getting done”, but that it’s something that always provides value to you who are reading.
It’s easy to feel disappointed with myself, and to feel like I’m letting people down.
But the reality is that part of the process of growing are the times of great challenge. And our growth is largely determined by how we respond to those trials.
We need to give ourselves grace to grow.
And that means embracing the fact that we aren’t perfect, and resisting the urge to present a perfect image to the world when we clearly aren’t.
Giving ourself grace to grow means being honest and transparent about our challenges. And rather than being shocked about our inadequacies and rejecting us, people tend to let out a sigh of relief and express gratitude to know that we aren’t perfect. Because if an imperfect person like me can still make progress, then an imperfect person like you can still make progress.
Giving myself grace to grow counters the guilt and shame I heap on from not being consistent toward my goals.
It’s super easy to get discouraged when I let down my own expectations – it slows me down even more. I’ll find myself sitting down to write and a heaviness settles on my mind, it almost feels like a sleepiness, where I feel so unmotivated to write or create or work that the only thing I want to do is go take a nap. I feel this way because everything seems so big that making any form of progress seems insurmountable.
Some of you would call this writer’s block, or a creative block, or resistance, or just “an off-day”… whatever you call it, you can do something about it.
When I get into these ruts, I do exactly what I’m doing right now:
I give myself a little win.
I do SOMETHING instead of nothing.
(This short blog post is literally me pulling myself out of a heavy rut right now.)
Little Wins are tiny victories you give yourself to build momentum.
Provide yourself with the smallest margin for success, the lowest criteria for feeling productive, and then do it. The mental boost is more important than the results.
If you can meet a tiny goal, you can meet a little one, then a small one, then a medium one, then a large one, then huge one, then a legendary one. - But you can’t get that far if you can’t first let yourself get a little win.
Some days, I have to give myself wins to be able to get anything done. I even write things down on my Action List that I’ve already completed and check them off, so that I can feel productive. (ex: eat breakfast, brush teeth, check email)
Little Wins are my antidote to the thought, “What did I even DO today?!”
It gives me confidence that I’m not wasting my time, that I am accomplishing things, even if they are small. It also helps me to have momentum when approaching the bigger things that I need to accomplish.
The little wins you give yourself should start out being so easy to accomplish that it’s ridiculous.
When my wife was battling depression, and feeling very down about not being her normal, fitness-focused, energetic self, I came up with a little win for her to rebuild her confidence and to show her that she was making progress:
I would ask her to do one pushup with me each day. And if we did that one pushup, then that would count as a “workout” for that day. – After we did our pushup, I would ask her, “Did you workout today?”, to which she would smile and sheepishly reply, “Yes."
Doing this consistently also helped motivate her to start us on a workout regimen, where she pushes herself to new levels. She even rediscovered a passion for personal training and will be starting school for her diploma in two months!
I can’t take credit for this, the credit goes to Shannon, for her willingness to accept the tiniest accomplishment as a victory and to keep going forward.
What is The little win that you need today?
If you feel stuck, heavy, depressed, lazy, unmotivated, discouraged, intimidated, insecure… here are some examples to help you get started:
Get dressed for the day. (Don’t spend the day in your pajamas)
Eat breakfast. (Even if it’s a piece of toast.)
Say one thing you are thankful for.
Do one pushup.
Write one sentence in your journal. (ex: “Good morning self, I feel crappy today.”)
Make a blog post draft. (Even if it’s completely blank)
Check one email in your inbox.
Create a blank document to start writing your book and title it “My Lame First Draft”, or something that gives you permission to just start.
Draw a crummy drawing in your sketchbook, or on a blank piece of paper, or on a post-it note.
Say “Hi" to one person today.
Don’t underestimate the power of little victories. – They are the stepping stones to progress when you feel paralyzed.
Give yourself a little win today.
Give yourself the grace to grow.