What About Bob? is one of my favourite movies. It stars Bill Murray as the strange and troubled Bob Wiley; and Richard Dreyfuss as Dr. Leo Marvin, Bob’s therapist. Dr. Marvin is not just any therapist, however. He’s also the author of a new book called Baby Steps.
“It means setting small, reasonable goals for yourself,” Dr. Marvin says in the movie. And while What About Bob? is a comedy, and a parody; setting small, reasonable goals for yourself is actually a pretty good idea!
Many of us get stuck and overwhelmed when we think about big goals like saving for retirement, creating a business plan, or setting out to write a book. And the main problem is that we haven’t broken down these big goals into the aforementioned Baby Steps.
Prior to writing my second book, 18 Holes To Your Goals, I wondered how I could be so effective as a 12-year-old golfer (making it through 18 holes/goals in a row); yet could be so ineffective with goal setting as an adult off the golf course. In thinking this through, it became obvious that a golf course is pre-designed with baby steps. A 7200 yard course is broken down into 18 much smaller segments, wherein each target is either in view or just around the next corner. A golf course is designed to have small, reasonable goals.
If we think in terms of actual steps, we realize that one cannot take one giant leap into retirement. For most, this process will take decades, and so very tiny steps are in order. In fact, anything that cannot be done in one step (baby step) needs to be broken down into smaller segments.
Many of the issues we have (avoidance, procrastination etc) can be overcome by breaking the task down into smaller steps. Have a book idea? Start with an outline. If the outline still has you stuck, start with the outline for the first chapter. If the first chapter outline still has you stuck, simply start jotting down a few ideas for any chapter.
Telling yourself to baby step onto the elevator is taking baby steps to the extreme. But sometimes even that is necessary when one’s resistance is high. Try it with something you’ve been procrastinating on. What very, very small step could you take that would get you from inaction to action? What baby step could you take?
And speaking of baby steps; outlining the subject of my next blog post has been a simple step I’ve been taking to maintain momentum with my blog writing. And since Wednesday is Halloween, there will be a monster theme…