Aim low, but often.
A recent blogger on My Fitness Pal wrote the following (excerpted):
When I was a young a Marine Corps Officer Candidate…the Master Sergeant would ask us one question about the rest of our day. “What are you going to do to make your life better today?” The Master Sergeant didn’t ask us what we did yesterday, or so far that day—that was the past and didn’t matter anymore. And he didn’t want us to make promises or predictions about distant days in the future, either. He cared about how we were going to use that day –today—to reach our goals.
I found the story to be a good reminder that we don’t change in huge leaps. We change in small steps, repeated daily or at least increasing in frequency until we overcome the inertia that binds us to our old patterns. Self-defeating thoughts keep us from our goals in many ways:
- They whisper in our ears that if we make one slip we might as well give up trying.
- They tell us it takes too long to do it the new way and we’re under so much pressure we’d better just do it the old way for now.
- They tell us we’re too old to change.
- They tell us we’ve tried before and failed so might as well not try.
Taking the approach of changing just for today is the antidote to self-defeatism. Programs like AA have demonstrated since the thirties that “one day at a time” works miracles. We can do anything for 24 hours unless we psyche ourselves out by moaning that we will have to do it every single day from now on and for the rest of our lives and thereby invite inertia to once again pin us to the mat.
So ask yourself:
- Just for today can you make three prospecting calls before noon?
- Just for today can you ask a customer for a referral?
- Just for today can you re-examine your diagnosis questions to see if you can make them more about the customer and not whether there is a big opportunity?
- Just for today can you refine your favorite statements about your products and services and see if you can turn them into questions that stress how they are used and paint a picture in the customer’s mind?
Change is hard, but rewarding, and it is the only thing that gets us to the satisfaction of achieving our goals. So as this wise blogger also said in his post, “Have the courage to aim low, but often.”