The Happiness Connection  

Don't get engulfed by the enormity of a project

Small steps for success

As I sit down to write my column this week, I can’t help but sigh.

I love writing, but right now I’m struggling to find time. I’m in the middle of buying a new house and selling my existing one. If you’ve ever moved, you probably understand what I’m going through.

How did I accumulate so many things in the three and a half years since my last move? Lots of it is stuff I inherited when I was cleaning out my parents’ house and later my mom’s apartment. It’s hard to say goodbye to memories.

Moving from one house to another is hard enough, but in this case, I need to keep my current home in show condition. Add to that an impending visit to England for Christmas, and all the regular stuff that life throws at you, and you’ve got a recipe for overwhelm.

This situation started me thinking about something I term the “1% Philosophy.”

Some people are “all-or-nothing” believers. If they fall off their diet or exercise regime once, they give up. They set high standards for themselves and demand perfection. Any detour from the straightest path to their goal is considered failure.

But this isn’t always the best approach to take. One day of overindulgence doesn’t mean you can’t course correct. One deviation off your intended route isn’t too big to stop you from returning to your original path.

Rather than demanding 100% devotion and unerring discipline, I encourage people to focus on taking one small step in the right direction every day.

This philosophy encourages self-love, compassion, and forgiveness. It’s about tweaking your life rather than upending it. What can you do today that will move you one stride closer to your desired destination?

I may know about this philosophy, but that doesn’t mean it’s been top of mind. I’ve been far too busy feeling overwhelmed to search for words of wisdom. Fortunately, I was recently reminded of a well-known quote by Tao Te Ching. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

As the holidays approach, you too may find life speeding up. More demands may be taking their toll on your time and energy.

Rather than becoming overwhelmed by looking at the big picture, break things down. Create a list of small tasks and pledge to do at least one of them every day. If you manage to do more, great. If you don’t get anything crossed off your list, try to do better tomorrow, but don’t beat yourself up about it.

Every time you sense yourself being overwhelmed, zoom in. Avoid being engulfed by the enormity of an entire project, by focusing on a few smaller tasks. Filling a few boxes feels easier than packing up an entire two-bedroom house.

By moving forward, a little bit every day, you might be amazed at how far you can get.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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