The Mindset of Small Steps: How Simplicity Fuels Progress

As a coach and digital course creator, time is my most treasured asset. Yet, earlier in my journey, I wasted much of it. Instead of focusing on the small steps that would help me make steady progress toward my goals, I worried about how I would achieve the big end results.

This leads to procrastination through busy work or another form of avoidance. Or I’d overthink the project or overcomplicate the process which led to daily failure and self-doubt.

Then there were projects I didn’t even start — especially if I didn’t know how to achieve them.

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The problem was I held two beliefs that prevented my progress.

First, I believed I needed to take big steps and make quick, massive progress. If the work didn’t accomplish that, it wasn’t worth doing.

Second, I thought small little steps weren’t going to help me make any significant progress. So, why bother?

As a result, I either didn’t achieve the big goals I’d set or I’d set insignificant goals that I could reach, but didn’t help me grow my business.

If any of this resonates with you, then stick around. Today, I’m going to breakdown the mindset of small steps and simplicity.

Adopting this new mindset changed the way I approached my business, which:

  • Helped me achieve bigger goals
  • Fostered personal and professional growth
  • Increased revenue
  • Significantly reduced my stress and overwhelm
  • Helped me identify essential tasks and let go of the unnecessary
  • Improved my work-life harmony

All of these things made business easier and more joyful. And this spilled out into my life, which is happier and more fulfilling.

You can have these results as well. It simply takes small steps.

Why Mindset Matters in Goal Achievement

Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

I love this quote. It perfectly embodies the truth about mindset. Your mindset is the foundation upon which your success — or failure — is built. It’s the lens through which you view everything — challenges, successes, setbacks, growth, and opportunities.

The right mindset can turn obstacles into stepping stones and convert overwhelming tasks into manageable pieces.

On the other hand, a limiting mindset will view the same obstacles as impassable barriers and complicate even the simplest of tasks. This makes everything you attempt to do stressful and overwhelming.

Overwhelm: The Barrier to Progress

It likely won’t come as a surprise when I say that feeling overwhelmed is a common occurrence, especially for female entrepreneurs.

You already juggle multiple roles, such as CEO, marketer, copywriter, content creator, project manager, guide, administrator, etc. And then, there’s life stuff!

These alone can bring about overwhelm. But add in an ambitious goal and “all the things” altogether can feel paralyzing.

Overwhelm can be an unfortunate barrier to goal achievement. It may lead you to think things like:

  • “There’s no way I’ll achieve this goal.”
  • “I don’t know where to start.”
  • “This is just too big.”
  • “I don’t know what to do.”
  • “What happens if I get stuck?”
  • “Do I really have the time?”

All these thoughts can lead to more feelings of overwhelm which prevent you from making progress on your goal or even starting.

Tackling a big goal is a lot like staring at a mountain you’re unsure how to climb. When you keep your focus on the entire mountain or focus on reaching the top, the climb can seem daunting.

This can cause you to delay, procrastinate, over plan, or even quit and go home.

Small Steps: The Solution to Overwhelm

However, if you focus on just tackling just the first 50 feet of that mountain, then the next 50 feet, and so on, you’ll discover that you’ve made better, faster progress than you thought possible.

That's the beauty of small steps.

Instead of agonizing over the entire mountain, you focus on the trail right in front of you.
The same applies to reaching goals or tackling projects.

Taking small steps allows you to break down complex tasks into manageable pieces, making your goals appear less scary and more achievable.

By prioritizing incremental progress, you enable yourself to bypass overwhelm, reclaim your focus, and achieve more while doing less.

The Overwhelm of Complexity

So, you get it, right? Small steps are the way forward. But let’s talk about a common pitfall that often hinders you from making those small steps — complexity.

Complexity can sneak into your plans, inflate your ambitions, and make everything more complicated than it needs to be. Before you know it, you're paralyzed.

When Complexity Paralyzes Action

Let me give you a couple of examples.

Have you ever tried designing a comprehensive course curriculum, only to find yourself entangled in a never-ending web of modules, lessons, supplemental resources, and tools?

Or how about setting long-term coaching goals? Perhaps you begain with a single, clear aim but quickly got weighed down in an avalanche of micro-objectives, KPIs, and performance metrics.

In both these cases, what begins as a well-intended endeavor turns into an overwhelming maze. Complexity doesn't just add layers; it adds weight—emotional, physical, and mental.

As a result, you feel bogged down, less agile, and, yes, utterly paralyzed.

The Anatomy of Analysis Paralysis

What's actually happening is you're falling victim to analysis paralysis. This is the mental or emotional roadblock that occurs when you overthink your options.

Instead of making decisions, you analyze and over-analyze every possibility trying to account for every potential outcome. You may think you're being thorough. However, you're actually sabotaging your progress.

Complexity feeds into this analysis paralysis. The more elaborate the plan or project, the harder it becomes to make straightforward decisions. What was supposed to be an exercise in reaching your goals becomes an exercise in endless contemplation and delay.

So the question is, how do you solve this problem? It’s through the simplicity of small steps.

The Beauty of Small Steps

Small steps serve as the perfect antidote. They allow you to simplify complexity, making the seemingly impossible not just possible but easily achievable.

Why Small Steps Make a Big Difference

The power of small steps is rooted in its simplicity. Instead of trying to figure out the entire roadmap to achieving your goal, you instead just need to identify the next actionable item.

The next small step could be as simple as brainstorming topics for your upcoming course or drafting an email to a potential coaching client.

These small steps add up. Over time, they build momentum and lead to significant progress.

The Psychology of Breaking Down Tasks

From a psychological standpoint, breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable pieces is liberating. It minimizes your mental load, making it easier to both start and continue your work. This is particularly important for tasks that are either too complex or too vague to tackle in one go.

For example, instead of worrying about how to create an entire curriculum, you can focus on designing just one module. This makes the task less intimidating and allows you to concentrate on quality rather than being overwhelmed by quantity.

Tangible Benefits of Small Steps

Taking small steps isn't just psychologically effective, though. It also offers a host of awesome benefits that can accelerate your progress and enhance your quality of life.

Here are some of them:

  • Increased Focus: Concentrating on smaller steps frees your mind from the clutter of the bigger picture, allowing you to execute each step with precision.
  • Flexibility: Small steps make it easier to adapt when circumstances change. You can more easily adjust a small part of your plan without having to rethink your entire strategy.
  • Quick Wins: Each small step completed is a win. These quick wins contribute to maintaining your momentum and provide tangible proof that you're making progress, even when it doesn't feel that way.
  • Reduced Procrastination: Knowing that you only have to complete a small step increases the likelihood of initiating the task.
  • Resource Efficiency: With a focus on small steps, you're likely to use your time, energy, and other resources more efficiently. This can lead to cost savings and faster completion times.

While these are great, there’s one more big benefit to keeping things simple.

Emotional Rewards: Why Small Steps Feel Good

And that thing is how taking small steps makes you feel. Each small accomplishment serves as a positive reinforcement, boosting your confidence and motivation.

In the short term, it feels good to check something off your to-do list. You know, that beloved endorphin hit. However, in the long term, these emotional rewards create a positive feedback loop that makes it easier to tackle bigger challenges.

You start to believe in your own capabilities. That belief acts as fuel, propelling you forward in your journey as a coach or digital course creator.

Finally, adopting a small-steps mindset isn’t only a practice of simplicity in action, but it’s also a form of self-care. Because when you make your work more sustainable and enjoyable your overall happiness also increases.

Unlock Simplicity with the One Focused Hour System

If the concept of small steps is the theory of simplicity in action, then the One Focused Hour System is its practical application. This system aligns perfectly with the essence of taking small, meaningful strides toward your goals.

It's structured in a way that encourages you to narrow your focus, simplify your tasks, and gain traction through meaningful work.

So, how does this system connect with the beauty of small steps? It does it in an easy three-part process.

Step 1: Creating Your Game Plan: Simplicity in Planning

The first step of the One Focused Hour System is to create a game plan. This is all about planning out your tasks before you sit down to work. While planning is critical, simplicity here is the key.

In line with our earlier discussion on small steps, this involves breaking down larger, seemingly overwhelming tasks into smaller, manageable components.

Just as you’d write down the chapters for a course curriculum, you'll list specific, focused tasks you plan to tackle.

Creating a game plan reflects the principle of taking small steps because knowing what you want to accomplish upfront eliminates unnecessary complexity. And it allows you to focus solely on your selected tasks.

Step 2: Building Your Fortress: Simplicity in Environment

The second step of the One Focused Hour System is to Build Your Fortress. This step is all about your environment, which impacts your productivity. The One Focused Hour System highlights this by encouraging you to build a Distraction-Free Zone.

I’ve written about how to create a Distraction-Free Zone in another post, but the concept is this:

The simpler your environment, the easier it will be to stay focused.

Just as you take small steps to achieve your goals, take incremental measures to create an effective workspace. Turn off notifications, keep only essential tools nearby, and designate a specific area for focused work.

Your workspace becomes a physical embodiment of simplicity. This environmental clarity enables you to channel your energy effectively.

Step 3: Diving into Action: Simplicity in Execution

The third step of the One Focused Hour System is to Dive into Action. This step is all about focus.

Combining the first two steps with a modified Pomodoro Technique, gets you into the groove of working in focused sprints. These sprints are like the small steps you take towards your larger goals. You work for 25 minutes, break for 5, then dive back in.

This approach turns complex tasks into simpler, time-bound actions. Just as each small step adds up to something more significant, each 25-minute work session culminates in an incredibly productive hour.

Mastering the Art of Focused Simplicity

The One Focused Hour System is a time-management strategy and simplification tool rolled into one. It transforms the maze of your daily to-dos into a streamlined pathway.

It also allows you to experience the psychological, emotional, and tangible benefits that come with embedding small steps into your daily routine.

Remember, you're a productivity ninja, not an octopus juggling multiple tasks. So keep it simple and stay focused, one small step—and one focused hour—at a time.

Start Small, But Start Now

Taking the first step is often the hardest part of any journey, especially when the road ahead appears overwhelming. But as you've read today, complexity and overwhelm aren't barriers, but rather challenges that can be overcome—one small step at a time.

So, what's the smallest step you can take right now that will move you closer to your goal? Is it jotting down some ideas for your next digital course? Is it sending that email you've been putting off? Or perhaps it's as simple as taking ten minutes to declutter your workspace. No step is too small, as long as it sets you in the right direction.

If you're looking for a structured approach to taking small, effective steps in your professional (or personal) journey, consider downloading the One Focused Hour System. This system is designed to bring the theory of simplicity into your daily action plan, making it easier than ever to take meaningful strides toward your goals.

By focusing on the next achievable step, you make your tasks less daunting and your goals more reachable. Small steps aren't just about making progress. They're about making your work—and life—more sustainable and joyful.

And remember, there’s no such thing as the ‘right moment' or the ‘perfect plan.' The best thing to do is just start with a single, achievable action.

Your journey to simplicity, efficiency, and fulfillment starts with that one small step. Are you ready to take it?

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