“Is this it? Is this all that there is to life? There has to be more.”
These are the thoughts that would drift into my mind as my head hit the pillow after an exhausting day of wake-up, work, tv, sleep. It was usually followed by a lingering thought of “One day. Maybe one day it’ll all change.” Maybe one day I wouldn’t have to numb my potential with chocolate cake and re-runs of NCIS.
But I had no idea how to get to that “one day.”
So I waited.
I waited for someone to give me my dream job. I waited for a teacher to tell me I was special. I waited to be discovered by someone I admired. I waited for a blog post to go viral.
And as I waited I got more and more tired.
My life felt like a treadmill. Sweaty. Exhausted. Achey. And waiting for someone else to press the stop button.
So many of us feel like that- like we’re on the treadmill of life.
Burnt out from constantly moving but not actually going anywhere.
But how can we get somewhere? How can we get off the treadmill and actually do meaningful work? Work that nourishes and fuels us?
It turns out that science has the answer-
According to research out of Harvard, the key to fulfilling work is to take small steps towards our most important dreams and goals.
It’s called the Progress Principle and it’s written by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.
They looked at over 12,000 pieces of data and they found that “of all the positive events that influences work life, the single most powerful is progress in meaningful work. Even when progress happens in small steps, a person’s sense of steady forward movement towards an important goal can make all the difference between a great day and a terrible one.”
Small wins are shown to have a surprisingly strong effect in long-term productivity.
Which means that lasting success isn’t about a one time breakthrough. Lasting success is based on small but consistent steps towards a goal that matter to us.
I know from my own experience how much impact these small steps have. My life today looks completely than it did just two years ago. And I owe it all to setting aside 30 minutes to an hour every day and giving that time to one goal that truly matters to me.
What matters most to you? Writing a book? Exercising? Starting a side hustle? Having better relationships?
Is it worth 30 minutes of your day?
I created a free “Monthly Maintenance” journal template for you.
It’s something I do at the beginning of every month to keep me focused on my goals, grounded in my purpose and grateful for my progress.
Download it now if you’d like a free tool to commit to your goals.
If you’d like a more expansive process to stick to your goals, get my most popular free download, the Beyond Motivation Guide, here.