This post was originally written by Leo Babauta for Zen Habits. Republished here with permission.
Most people get hung up because of a few reasons: 1. A task or project is too intimidating/overwhelming, so they put it off. 2. Sticking to new habits is hard, so they fail after a week or two. 3. Life becomes overwhelming, because there’s so much to do, so many choices. The problems with these common situations is that we take the big picture, the overwhelming nature of it all, and use it as a reason to not do anything. Here’s how small actions have a huge impact.
Small Actions Have a Huge Impact
Instead, I’ve found it useful to pick one tiny action. It can change everything.
1. I have too much to do right now, I’m overwhelmed — so I do one tiny thing. I just start a task. I just move a project along in the smallest way. I just make a list. Something that takes a minute or two — I can do that!
2. I’ve fallen off a habit I was trying to start, such as meditation or exercise … and it’s causing me to not want to even think about the habit. So I just do the smallest version of the habit — can I pause for a few moments and meditate right now? Can I do a few pushups? This gets the ball rolling, and now the habit doesn’t seem that difficult. I just keep starting again, in small ways.
3. I’ve been putting off a project, and I feel pretty bad about it — so I just do one small thing with the project, and now I feel a lot better. All of a sudden, I can get the project moving with small movements, small victories.
Each of these examples is so simple, so tiny — and yet their impact is bigger than most people realize. The action is small, but the impact is huge. The victory might seem trifling, but it’s actually a profound shift.
What are you stalling on? What are you overwhelmed by? What can you take a tiny action on right now?
Get an infinitessimal victory now, and see what it changes for you.