I am the host of a podcast called The One You Feed, which features weekly conversations with thought leaders about how to create lives worth living.
I’ve been helping people make behavioral changes for years — whether it's breaking addictions to drugs and alcohol or smaller tasks like building exercise habits or finishing creative work. I've learned that the key to making lasting change is to break things down into really small steps. Most people want to start at point A and jump to Point Z. Jimi Hendrix didn’t go from strumming to shredding overnight and, sorry to say, neither will you.
Take the piece of work you have in front of you — be it a chapter outline, a workout or a meditation practice — and break it down into the smallest possible increments you can. Small. Chewable. As Leo Babuta of Zen Habits says, "Make it so easy you can't say no."
Let's say you really want to take up a meditation practice, and you’re just not making any progress with it. By taking your meditation goals one step at a time instead, you'll be able to slowly accomplish them.
The first tiny step could be to identify what type of meditation you'd like to practice. Once you do that, proceed to step two and decide when and where you'll meditate. The final step might then be to meditate every day for the rest of the week in that spot, at that time, for as little as one minute a day. The length of time doesn't matter — the important thing is that you build the muscle of doing something on a regular basis.
Bottom line: It's far better to start really small than to start larger and fail. When you do something small consistently, it creates momentum that you can build upon over time. This type of consistency allows you to take small changes and eventually turn them into larger ones.