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  • Miriam Wilkinson

A Single Step

'A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step'. Lao Tzu


Sometimes the challenges we face in life seem enormous and overwhelming, either because of their size and scope or because of the amount of emotional energy needed to tackle them. The enormity of an issue can make us feel exhausted or even paralysed, and we’ll do anything to avoid facing it. It’s important to realise that these feelings of impossibility are an illusion – a trick of the mind that keeps us stuck in a place where we can’t act, wasting precious energy pretending the problem doesn’t exist, or isn’t really that bad.

Strangely enough, all that’s needed here is a subtle shift of perspective. Instead of focusing on everything that’s wrong and how bad that makes us feel, we need to simply shift our focus to the outcome or resolution we DO want, and how that might make us feel. Immediately, we stop thinking about the things we dislike in our current situation and start thinking about the things we’ll love about our new situation. This simple shift of focus is immensely powerful, as it opens our mind to possibilities and kicks it into problem-solving mode. Even at this early stage of the process, we begin to feel energised and hopeful, as we let ourselves imagine what it would feel like to have the problem resolved.

In this new state of mind, it’s suddenly much easier to move on to the next stage of the process – breaking the problem down into small, manageable pieces. By simply asking ourselves what we would like to change about our situation, and then clarifying what we want to achieve, we can set a specific goal or goals - small, achievable, positive steps that pave the way from the present to the future. The great thing about small steps is that you can put them into action straight away, so change seems to happen quickly. Small goals are also manageable and measurable, which means it’s easy to track your progress, make small adjustments if necessary, and celebrate your successes. One step follows another, and before you know it, you’re in a whole new place. This approach can be applied to all sorts of roadblocks and difficulties in life, and with a little practice, our minds learn to approach new challenges calmly and constructively.

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