My mother gave me a piece of advice once when I was going through a tough time, one that her own mother had given her when she was struggling. Her advice was this:
Do just one thing every day that will get you closer to where you want to be.
I guess her advice falls in line with the concept that “a man is the sum of his actions.” My mom and Gandhi, wise people both.
I find my mom’s advice to be more practical, though (as she tends to be.) Too often, change seems overwhelming. It’s much easier to stand still than to move forward when you have worlds to cross. But when it seems like there’s a million miles between where you are and where you want to be, even one step forward brings you closer to your goal.
So what are my million-mile goals?
I want to write a book. But writing a 60,000-word novel sounds ridiculous. No matter how verbose I tend to be, there’s no way I can find enough words to fill a book. But people do it every day. The trick is they don’t do it in a day. They labour over it for months or years, writing what they can when they can. If I write just one word every day…well, it will take me, like, 165 years to finish the book. Ain’t nobody got time for that (and I wouldn’t want my adoring fans to suffer like we George RR Martin fans suffer between his books.)
But I could write a page a day. Or a few hundred words. Or a scene. A book, like a life, is the sum total of its parts. I don’t have to write a book. I just have to write its parts. And that makes the goal sound less silly.
The same goes for losing weight. I want to lose some weight. Like, a lot of weight. Like, 75 lbs. And I struggle with it. What kind of person loses that much weight? I mean, who does that? (Full disclosure: I know some incredible people who have lost way more than 75 lbs. My scumbag brain knows it can be done – he just doesn’t think I can do it. Yeah, my brain is a dude when he’s being a jerk.)
I can do it; I just can’t do it in a day. Or a week. Or even, probably, a year. But if I lose 1 lb a week, I’ll be where I want to be in a little over a year. And it’s crazy to think that, in a little over a year, I could be where I want to be if take it a day at a time, doing just one thing every day that will get me closer to that end goal.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
Right now, my million-mile goals may be out of reach, but every day that I move forward brings me closer to them. Even if I have to crawl.
Tell me, friends: what are your million-mile goals? What steps will you take today to get closer to them?