When we’re facing a big decision, challenge or goal, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Sometimes that might even lead us to freeze up or want to run the other way. This can be especially true when facing a serious illness, like cancer, or major life-altering decision, like a new job, relationship change or relocation. But I’ve learned that focusing on little pieces (decisions, tasks, etc.) at a time makes it easier. Remember that small steps lead to big goals.
In fact, one of the best lessons I’ve learned over the years is to focus on only the next hour, five minutes or even 10 seconds when you’re facing something that makes you feel overwhelmed, anxious, sad, frustrated, etc. These small increments are often so much easier, and less intimidating, to focus on and embrace.
Every goal can be broken into achievable steps
When I went through cancer treatment, I broke it down into one treatment day at a time. I created a countdown of chemo treatments. After those were checked off (and I of course celebrated!), I started a countdown for radiation visits, making a big X on the calendar each day I got home from the hospital. It helped me not get too overwhelmed at going through it all. And kept me motivated to see that the end was near. I reminded myself that small steps lead to big goals. In this case, the end of treatment!
I often focus on cycling, hiking or other physical goals in the same way. One mile, one workout, one set of reps, one more step.
A recent example of that lesson: I’ve been dealing with ongoing ache, sometimes pain, in my patella tendon and other tendons in my left leg that has titanium in place of my lower femur and knee after bone cancer. It’s been months of physical therapy, ultrasound therapy, pain meds, massage with random relief. Which makes biking, sometimes hiking, tough. And that makes me sad and frustrated because I love those activities. For my physical AND mental health (Read my ‘6 tips for mental health support’ post). My physical therapist and surgeon said it will take time to improve.
So I focus on one stretch, one step, one day at a time. And that’s helped me stay active. I recently got on my bike and took it one mile at a time. And I biked 25 miles with no issue (and so far no post-issues). I’m so grateful and happy!
I share this because I know many people are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, lonely, sad for many reasons. I see your posts, swap messages and calls with several of you. Remember that you are not alone, and that focusing on the next one minute, or one step, can help us push forward. Small steps lead to big goals!