The power of small steps

Last January, during my year of following the 52/52 e-guide‘s assignments every week, I wrote a Life List. Even though I started out with the list looking more like a to-do list in the beginning, I quickly switched to dream-mode and thought of the things I’d really really want to do in this lifetime.

Now, my boyfriend is very realistic. He doesn’t like to make plans too far ahead, if at all. And it sometimes drives me nuts because I believe that the things that we focus on are the things that will surround us.
If we only focus on today, then weekend plans might fail because we’re not making an effort to think about them and make time for some things. Or if we only focus on having bills to pay and not having enough money, then that will be our reality. And we won’t be able to shift that reality until we start looking beyond our present, and start believing that things will get better. (I am quite bad at this one, after years of being in debt!) Then, we need to decide what it is we want, and take small steps toward those things.
For this reason, the other day I wrote a list of things we need to fix in the apartment, or stuff we need to buy. I’m hoping that being on a list will keep them more in focus as opposed to just in the back of our mind and never getting around to even think of them.

There are quite a few things on the Life List that I still need to start taking steps toward. Like turning my year of photo challenges into an e-book – I still need to sit down and work on it. Little by little, even if it doesn’t have to be done in one day, I ended up avoiding this item. Not sure why. But I fully intend to finally sit down and start assembling the e-book.

However, as I read it the other day, I realized that I actually achieved several things off my Life List. Also, I achieved quite a few things off the My purpose for money list that I wrote four years ago, when I had a total of four jobs at the same time by the end of 2012. It’s interesting to me how many similar items there are on both lists.
I traveled more in Romania and saw places I’ve never been to, alone and with loved ones. I re-visited places I loved (both in my country and across the border), and wrote a few travel articles. I visited friends from Great Britain and tried a lot of new kinds of food while traveling. I made a couple of my home-decor ideas reality decorating our small apartment, learned a bit how to drive, and saw the fireworks in Budapest, Hungary this New Year.

My most important item on the Life List and also on the My purpose for money list was by far to “Earn a living being a full-time writer/Turn writing into a priority and a steady income”. And you know what? I made that come true!

With a lot of support from my boyfriend, and learning more, I am now a technical author and love love love it! I recall writing a letter to myself talking about this when I was only applying for the job. It leaves me creative enough to write on my blog, too, and is still about writing, and editing and re-writing, etc. which I love doing as a full-time job. It gives me the chance to sometimes take the afternoon for reading, research and learning even more about the field.
It also gave me the opportunity to travel to London. Twice.
It pays better than any job I ever had before and now I can actually set money aside for travel and vacationing even if it takes a couple of months to save up. But I am finally out of debt.

Sure Life still gets in the way of things many times, but it doesn’t bother me quite as much as before. Because I am doing something I love and it made everything else much easier. I am definitely happier and more enthusiastic.

So if you ever stop and think about something you’d like to do as it being “unattainable”, please don’t. Try to break it down to small, achievable steps. Take one small step after the other, and it will all work itself out.

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2 Comments to “The power of small steps”

  1. Your advice is solid. Taking baby steps to achieve my goals is better than putting my ideas into the back of my mind and never revisiting them. Today, I wrote a lengthy blog post to further my goal of becoming a paid writer. My goal, like yours, is to make money as a writer; however, someone stopped me in my tracks the other day when she asked me what kind of publications would I like to see my work in, and who would I like to work/write for? I don’t quite have that answer yet but am forming the reply bit-by-bit.

    I would love to have a job that made me travel to London a couple times per year. I loved London and cannot wait to get back there. Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later, and if it coincides with a trip of yours and we could finally meet in person, that would be even more perfect!

    • How wonderful that you liked my advice. It was such a nice realization, that I achieved quite a few things off my Life List, because I honestly didn’t read the list again until just recently when I wrote the blog post. It definitely helps to just have things in writing! Even if the stuff on the list seems unattainable.

      It’s a good thing that someone asked you those questions about your goal of becoming a paid writer. All are things that you do need to think about; even if your reply might be something unrealistic in the beginning for example, you can then drill down and find the right approach for You.

      I’d love to travel to London again, and that is another thing: I wouldn’t be able to do that out of my own pocket just yet. It’s an expensive city to travel to! Being able to travel there for work and have some fun on the side (stay the weekend with my friends) was the perfect combination for right now.

      PS: I will drop by to read your blog post right now!

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