Repost - Tiny Next Steps

2020-06-23 This post is over 2 years old

This week’s step on the guided path is a tiny one. Well that’s the technique at least. Suppose you’ve prioritized your tasks or project, and are ready to start. The next thing to do is of course pick a way to start, right? But if that next prioritized item is a biggun, that can not only be intimidating, it can be down right hard to do!

Back in 2018, I received a doubly useful gift. The small notebook I was given certainly helped in the short-term by giving me a place to write down every commitment I made. But the lesson that little book taught me in it’s organization has really stuck. Every time I prep are longer term action-item I always include a TNS. Silly as it might seem, creating that discrete, achievable first step works wonders in building momentum to drive your work to completion. I hope you’ll enjoy Tiny Next Steps.

I was recently given a small notebook specifically for Commitments. In its small pages it has forms for Commitments. There are entries where you can list what the commitment is, who it is to, and when it is due. But the last line, whose initials are T.N.S., is the most impactful.

This line is for ‘Tiny Next Steps’. The idea being to build momentum. By taking a small, concrete, and meaningful next step, you get the commitment rolling. This one change in constructing a commitment revolutionized commitments for me. Especially those to myself!

As an example, I’ve been meaning to set-up some consistent time to spend with my Father. This time has been scarce since I left the house. I had vague notions of setting up a Saturday morning breakfast with him, but didn’t act on it at all last year. I kept telling myself I’d get to it.

Enter the Commitment Journal. I added this commitment with some others and then struck on the TNS line. I had to pause for a second to find something I could do. And I realized that I should schedule a block of time to call my Dad and plan this with him. So I wrote that as the TNS: Block off time to call Dad.

What was more fun is that, about an hour later, I had 15min to wait on something. I was able to setup 30min chat with my Father that day, and I had a reminder on my phone so I’d remember to call. I must admit, getting to check-off that TNS was most satisfying. I know the moment I took to think on a concrete step made the difference between motion and action.

My Dad and I now have a time on the calendar and even a plan for where we shall dine. I am looking forward to building better commitments in the coming year, especially starting with this success. I heartily recommend the Tiny Next Step formula! May it serve you well in the coming New Year! Make SMART resolutions with Tiny Next Steps :D

P.S. For anyone interested, Intelligent Change created this journal.

P.S.S. As a follow-up to the last item in the original post, My Father and I have met numerous times for breakfast since. It’s even grown to include my sons on a normal basis. I am very pleased to get the time just to talk with my dad, and to allow my son’s to enjoy time with their grandfather. Truly that Tiny Next Step made all the difference between intent, and action, and it has yielded very good fruit!