If there are things you’ve wanted to change about your life but haven’t gotten started because you think it will take forever, or because you don’t know where to start, or because you’ve been frustrated with failed attempts from the past, please don’t give up yet.
Consider a strategy I like to call just a little bit. It’s often dismissed as slow or lazy in the midst of overnight success stories and sexy 30-day transformations, but it’s more powerful than you might think. It’s especially helpful if you are already overwhelmed with your current situation. If you are tired, sick, crazy busy, or feeling lost, change may seem completely out of reach. It’s not.
While I do find value in experiments and challenges like The Whole 30 (I’ve done it 3+ times) and minimalist Fashion Project 333 (6 years and counting), I do think a far more powerful approach for long-lasting meaningful change is doing just a little bit.
Here’s why just a little bit is so powerful:
It’s easier to get started. When you know you will be spending 10 minutes on a new change and not 10 hours, you are more likely to get going instead of finding 50 reasons you don’t have time to start.
Burn-out is rare. Changing too quickly can result in more stress and burn-out. This may explain why 67% of people with gym memberships don’t use them. Just a little bit is gentle. It will lift you up instead of tearing you down.
Bits add up. If you do just a little bit to support a change every day, each little bit will not only motivate the next, but the bits will add up and change your life.
How to do just a little bit:
You can apply the just a little bit strategy to almost anything you want to change. Focus on small consistent action and let go of the big picture for a while. Find success in each tiny step instead of measuring your success by the end result or by how close or far away you are from where you want to be.
- If you want to declutter your home, set aside just a little bit of clutter each day. Even if that means only one item a day, within a year, you’ll be 365 things lighter.
- If you want to start running, try the C25K app and run for just a little bit; 60 seconds to start.
- If you want to eat less sugar but don’t want to cut back until after the holidays, start now but just a little bit. Make a small sugar rule for yourself, like no sugar before noon, after five, or on Wednesdays.
- If you want to end closet chaos, give just a little bit away. Drop off one of your extra coats or scarves to a local church or homeless shelter.
- If you want to save more, or pay down debt faster, contribute just a little bit more. That might be 5% or $5.00. It will all make a difference.
- If you want to meditate in the mornings, but sitting still drives you crazy. Try just a little bit with a 3-minute session with Calm.
So often we want to get it all done and get to the other side, but the all or nothing strategy is unapproachable or has let us down before and so we procrastinate another day. If you still don’t know where to start, make a list of the changes you’d like to make. Choose one, and do just a little bit each day, and then perhaps just a little bit more. Consider the next step and not all the steps.
Just a little bit will be enough for meaningful change.