Achieving Goals With Big Or Small Steps?

Take a look at the image below. What does it say to you?

The importance of smaller steps.

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer, but it’s worth taking a moment to just considering how you are achieving your goals? Or not as the case may be.

When I look at this, it is about the importance of taking smaller steps. Smaller steps are the key to achieving our goals.

You may already know, my specialism is preventing and managing stress and burnout and a part of that coaching is to really look at how you approach situations to be able to manage the emotions that each situation provokes.

It’s like maths. Did you ever look at a maths problem at school and wonder who had written an unfathomable language in the book in front of you. It just didn’t make sense. Until your teacher would say ‘maths is a combination of smaller problems. Break them down one by one, and you will find the answer’. YES YES YES!

If we tackle a problem or a situation without considering it, we are more likely to get stressed out as the outcome isn’t happening quick enough or people aren’t responding the way we would like them to. Avoid decision fatigue by thinking small and handling it in small bits.

S-M-A-L-L Steps. Break It Down In A Way That Will Serve You

We have a much greater head space to deal with lots of other thoughts, plans, and situations that arise if we manage our cognitive load.

Think of it this way. If you have a blender at home and put in a whole butternut squash to make a yummy soup. You then add potatoes, carrots, cabbage maybe. You put the lid on, turn it on and all you hear is the noise of the blade spinning at such a pace, but the ingredients aren’t moving. They are stuck. So, you turn off your blender. Then what do you do, you turn it on and try again. Well, nothing has changed. You haven’t done anything to change the situation, so the outcome is exactly the same.

Whereas if you stopped at first, took some out, added some stock, then blend a small amount first, then add little bits back in and blend. THAT would turn into the soup. The outcome will be as it was intended. It may have taken a little longer to achieve. But the outcome was completely different because you broke it down.

Small Steps Can Make A Big Impact When It Comes To Achieving Goals

They get us started without feeling overwhelmed. Like a ‘to do’ list that you write and get such satisfaction crossing off each bullet point. It feels good doesn’t it. Like you are achieving something. I do that all the time. I’m obsessed with lists. So much so, we have a whiteboard in our kitchen and both our offices where we write our lists. Saves the environment by not using paper and we get the same satisfying feeling when we wipe each one off.

This is a good one that most people would have faced at some point, in some context.

Have you signed up to a gym before and said ‘right, I’m going to do an hour of exercise at the gym, 3 times a week’? You sign up, and you’re motivated, but then after week one, the appeal of 3 hours a week at the gym becomes less achievable. It then starts to dwindle to 2 hours, then one. Then eventually, you’re paying £30 a month for the pleasure of not attending at all!

Whereas, if you had signed up and said, I’m going to go to the gym and do 30 minutes for 2 days a week, maybe even one. You would have created a sustainable new habit and can build on that. Then you are achieving goals as they are far more realistic and obtainable.

Studies Have Proven The 10 Minute Theory

A study from McMaster University found participants who cycled for 10 minutes, three times a week had similar gains as others who cycled for 50 minutes, three times a week. Impressive. It appears the popular “I don’t have time to exercise” excuse isn’t legitimate when you consider you can have an effective workout in 10 minutes. This goes for Yoga and Pilates too.

Success Breeds Success When Achieving Goals

As soon as you start to see the small steps turning into positive results, you are driven to move to the next and the next and so on. In turn, we are more likely to be achieving goals. Equally, small steps are an opportunity to take the step, evaluate, learn from it, tweak the approach if needed and then move on with a slightly different strategy. They then get repeated. If we were to take a huge step and jump straight in with the mindset that it’s quicker, then what happens if it isn’t quite right? You beat yourself up as all your energy and time have been wasted.

I’ve spoken to coaches that have written amazing courses. One spent a year developing it. When it came to publishing the course, no one signed up because they hadn’t asked their tribe what they wanted. An entire year’s work was wasted. Who wants or needs that stress in their life right?


Would you agree that small steps create momentum? As Teresa Amabile, author of The Progress Principle said ‘forward momentum in meaningful work creates the best inner work life. And this translates into higher creativity and productivity.’

Small steps are a comfortable way of tackling what may seem overwhelming. It’s a key part of the coaching that I give to my clients and has the most profound impact. In my own life, I couldn’t function in this chaotic world without small steps.

Have You Considered Having Coaching?

If you would like to discuss the coaching I offer, you are very welcome to contact me on email at and we can arrange a complimentary coaching call for you. Achieving goals can be challenging during stress and burnout. Coaching is a fantastic way to create strategies, have accountability and create a sustainable holistic health plan for the future.

Come And Find Me To Achieve Goals!

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Oh and before you go, don’t forget to schedule in that #10 Minute Theory