Welcome back mama! This is the forth and final episode in our December series Why You Shouldn’t Wait for January to Create Change and we’re talking about the power of starting small. Is it possible to radically transform your life by taking baby steps? And if so, why don’t we believe it’s worth it to start where we can and with what we have? I hope today’s episode reminds you that baby steps are better than no steps.
In today’s episode we’ll discuss things like perfectionism, which has a lot to do with why we don’t believe in the power of starting small. I’ll share with you why you absolutely must take baby steps when working toward any new goal or creating new habits in your life. I’ll also share how to practically assess your expectations and ditch the “all or nothing” mentality.
So grab some hot tea, reheat your coffee, and put in some headphones, mama. This episode is FIRE!!!
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I’ll talk to you in the NEW YEAR, friend! Happy New Year from me to you♡
FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION:
What is up friend? I hope that your Christmas was not too crazy, but welcome back to part four. We’ve got one more part in this series. We’ve got one more week of December. Let’s finish strong, finish 2021 strong. Today, we’re going to be talking about the power of starting small. It is the fourth and final episode of this series.
I’ve been praying for you and for your life that you’re starting to correct any wrong beliefs, which we talked about in *part one that you’re starting to understand the power of now, that you have a practical outline for creating habits that you can actually maintain in your life. And today we’re going to be talking about the power of starting small. Baby steps!
And I love starting small because it takes a pressure off of me to feel like I have to reach the finish line by like day two, or else I’m a total failure. So grab some hot tea, reheat your coffee, put in your headphones. Let’s get started.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to set the bar high. Very high. I am a recovering perfectionist, and I didn’t even know it. And maybe that’s you, like, you don’t even recognize or realize that you’re setting the bar so high in your life. Like, every single area of your life has to be perfect, but maybe you always feel let down or deal with unmet expectations.
That might be a clue. Like you might be a perfectionist, or maybe you already know that yes, you’re a perfectionist. Either way, I’m going to have an episode coming out in January. So a couple of weeks it’s going to get more into the topic of perfectionism, but I’m mentioning it here because that’s partly why we don’t believe in the power of starting small.
So we want to do it perfectly the first time. Right? Who has ever said, I have to do or thought maybe didn’t say it. Maybe you just thought it, “I have to do this exactly right. It has to be exactly right. The very first try or else I feel like a failure. I feel like I didn’t do it good enough. I felt like I didn’t do it right.
It’s not a success unless it’s perfect the first time.” What about reaching the end result quickly? Like it has to be fast. “I need to do it now. Like, I need to feel this transformation and reach this end result very quickly, or else I feel like a failure.” I have certainly done both of those things.
And I have always thought that it, whatever your “it” is, it has to look a certain way. So the morning routine has to look a certain way. The reading the Bible has to look a certain way. The doing the cookies with the kids has to look a certain way, the, whatever it is, the date night, the game night, the anything in your life.
It has to look a certain way or else it doesn’t count, or I didn’t do it good enough. Or it was really just a failure. The expectations just, they weren’t met. I want you to think about your life for a second. Think about one area where you tend to want for it to be right. Like you just want everything to just be perfect and you have really high expectations.
Okay. Were you able to pick something? Because I, I literally have like a list of things in my mind that I want to be perfect. So just pick one thing. We’re just going to, we’re going to think about one thing. And I want you to ask yourself once you have this one thing in your mind that you tend to have really high expectations for. Whether there is a person or thing or situation in your life, ask yourself, is your expectation for the person, or that thing, are the expectations realistic?
What is it that you keep trying to do in your life? What’s the one thing that you want to do, and how are you measuring success? So let’s just take an example here. So morning routine, what are you measuring the success of your morning routine by? What you think someone else is doing and her morning routine? Is that success?
A picture that you see on Pinterest that looks like, oh, she’s having a really good morning routine. I wish I could do that. Looks like her kids are probably being quiet and well behaved somewhere, and my house feels like a zoo. Maybe it’s like a boomerang from somebody’s Instagram stories. Like, oh, it looks like she’s having the perfect quiet time with her Bible and her coffee.
That’s what my morning routine should look like. That’s what it should feel like. This feeling that I have when I’m looking at her picture. I want to give you a very gentle reminder that this, what you’re seeing a picture on Pinterest, or a picture in her story, or her post on her Instagram feed, whatever it is, it is a second in time.
There’s no sound. We have no idea what’s happening behind the scenes. We don’t know what’s happening all around her, but regardless of what her reality is, your success should never, ever be measured by someone else’s results. When I began to realize and understand and believe it in my own life, whew. It changes things because her results, that, she’s running her own race.
My life doesn’t look like hers. My husband is not like hers. My house is not like hers. My kids are not like hers. I don’t think the same way. We’re not the same. I am me. And so I have to reframe success. You have to reframe your success to be based on something that makes sense for your life. Oh my goodness.
Is anybody else having a light bulb moment right now? If your schedule is super busy. If your kid still doesn’t sleep through the night, then you probably shouldn’t be striving for an hour long morning routine before everybody else gets up. Don’t do it. It doesn’t make sense. Don’t do it. Don’t do it to yourself.
That’s what I was doing. And not even in the sense of the morning routine, but everything else in my life. I was like trying to live somebody else’s life and I just had to live my life. I can only live my life and my success can only look a certain way for me. It’s not going to look like hers. My morning routine doesn’t look like hers.
My time in the Word doesn’t look like hers. Getting my kids up and dressed and ready doesn’t look like hers does. We don’t cook the same thing for breakfast. We don’t do date night the same way. My life is not her life. Your life is not her life. Your life is yours, and we have to learn to reframe your success. Your version of success.
And we have to base it on something that makes sense for you. Okay. That is like a huge light bulb moment. So I hope that everything like the angel chorus is singing and I won’t do it right now, but you know what it sounds like, and I hope that all the light bulbs are going off and you’re like, “okay. Yeah.
Like, maybe I have been trying to live my life based on what her life seems to be like on Instagram, but I don’t even know her or what’s happening for the rest of the 24 hours in her day. I just know I saw that picture, so she must be perfect and things must be perfect for her morning routine.” I can promise you that, more than likely, it’s not. Like her kids, her life is just like your life.
Okay. The kids act crazy and wild just like yours do. She’s she’s pressed for time just like you are. She’s reactive just like you can be. Okay. So reframe your success, make it make sense for you. It doesn’t have to make sense to anybody else or for anybody else. Okay. So continue with the whole example of a morning routine.
Like why not just start with two minutes? Who says two minutes doesn’t count? Like who gets to say that your two minutes don’t matter of whatever it is you want to do reading the Bible, or praying, or reading a book for two minutes. Two intentional minutes is a long time. And I thought about proving that to you by sitting here and being silent for two minutes, right now in this episode.
But that would be really awkward. And two minutes is so long. I’m not even going to do that, but I hope that at some point today you will set a timer for two minutes and just sit. And be quiet and do nothing and see how long two minutes really is, because there’s a lot that you could think about. There’s a lot you could plan for.
There’s a lot you could do in two minutes, but as I’ve shared with you before the enemy doesn’t want you to believe it. He doesn’t want you to see the power of two minutes. He doesn’t want you to believe that there’s value in doing what you can with what you have. And friend, God says, “just bring me what you have and I’ll do the rest.
Just bring it to me. Just give me what you got.” So come for two minutes and see what He will do. If getting in the Word, if reading your Bible, if studying and quiet time or prayer is part of what you want to do and what you’re working toward and starting small… Just bring Him what you have. Wouldn’t two minutes be better than nothing?
But we tend to have this all or nothing attitude that says, “if I can’t do it all or do it right (in my air quotes) then I’m just not going to do, I’m not going to do anything.” And that’s a lie. It’s an excuse. And like I say, if I have to let go of my excuses, then you can’t hang onto yours either. Okay. We either want to be different.
Or we don’t. We want to change things or we don’t. And there’s no longer room for excuses here, no longer room for excuses in your mind and your vocabulary. We do not do excuses here. I’m going to give you an example of this in my own life and how I’ve had to reframe success and what that looked like and how I learned to lower the bar.
I was going to say a little, but really a lot. And so one thing that we typically do around the holidays is baking cookies. Now I’m recording this episode in early November. So when we actually do this tradition in December, I don’t know how it’s going to go yet. But in past years, I can tell you that I have been a nervous wreck because I want for things to be a certain way.
Feel a certain way. And the kids participate in a certain way, and things to go a certain way. And if you let your kids bake or cook in the kitchen with you, then God bless you. I don’t know how. Some of you are so great at this. This is not a strength of mine. I can’t stand it. Like my shoulders are getting tense, just thinking about it.
But my kids in the kitchen with me is an absolute nightmare because it is such a mess and I’m trying to just let go and let them be little and let them make messes. But I’m like on the inside cringing and I have to close my eyes and just not look and just clean it up afterward. But in this particular situation, I wanted for the Christmas cookies to be a certain way, look a certain way.
I wanted the experience to feel a certain way, but you know how things go. If you’re anything like me, you have this image in your mind. And it’s usually like something off of a Hallmark movie, like a Hallmark Christmas movie where this family is just happy and they’re all getting along and laughing and nobody’s making a mess.
And if they do, it’s like, oh, it’s just like a little cute mess. It’s not everywhere. And like sisters arguing and fighting. Flowers everywhere, like actual reality, you know? And so when in my head the expectation didn’t meet the reality… That’s when I start to feel frustration, I feel anxiety, like in other areas of life, and all of these negative emotions start to build.
And I feel like it’s a failure. I feel like it failed. I feel like I’m a failure because I couldn’t create the outcome that I wanted, that I expected. So I learned from a very good friend of mine, how to reframe what success looks like for you and every single situation. And so she asked me.
She said, “Cason what would it look like if you baked cookies? What, what is success for you in that? What is the end? Like, what is the goal? What is the result that you want, the desired outcome?” And I said, “well really, I guess it would be a success if we got the cookies baked and decorated. And maybe we had like a laugh or two.
Like we enjoyed it a little bit.” And you know, but that’s kind of just like a bonus because sometimes I don’t know about your kids… My girls tend to argue over every single thing. So then I tend to get annoyed and we know how that goes, okay. I don’t have to, I don’t have to keep you play by play. But reframing that.
Okay. If we can just get these cookies baked and we can ice them together and just enjoy it a little bit, then that is success. It’s not that it looked a certain way, or felt a certain way or needed to be presented a certain way on social media. That’s not the success. The success is that we did this thing.
And so when we can lower that bar and reframe success, I want you to think about in your own life, that thing in the beginning where you said, “okay, this is an area, this is something that I know I hold very high expectations for. And I usually feel disappointed because the actual outcome, actual reality doesn’t equal what I thought it would be.”
So I want you to ask yourself, are you expecting realistic outcomes? And how this applies to taking baby steps and starting small, is that you have to lower the bar of what you expect yourself to be able to do for the first time ever maybe. You’ve you’ve maybe never done this before. You’ve maybe never tried to start implementing a morning routine.
You’ve maybe never tried to start eating a certain type of way, or taking something out of your diet or adding something in. You’ve never done this habit before and so you have to start small because you’re expecting too much out of yourself. And when you can’t meet those expectations and when it can’t look and feel like you thought it would in your mind, then you feel like a failure and then you just quit and you give up and you don’t keep going.
That is the whole point of what I want to share with you today is starting small. Starting small and practical, because there’s power in that. There’s power and starting small. There’s power in doing what you can with where you are and what you have. So instead of saying, “well, I’ll wait to do this when this happens.” Say, “I’m going to do what I can with what I have, and this is what that looks like.”
So you have to know yourself a little bit. You have to know where you are. You have to know what you’re capable of, and sometimes more than likely, most times you are capable of so much more than you realize. You really are. You are strong. You are smart. You are intelligent, and you are so much better at doing these things then you give yourself credit for. So start with where you can, and figure out what that looks like.
What does the success look like? If you want to implement the morning routine for your life. I have an episode coming up beginning of January, “Simplified Morning Routine,” because we overcomplicate everything and all that’s doing is keeping you stuck. And like I said, a minute ago, you either want to stay stuck or you want to create change.
You either want it, or you don’t. Because there are people… We all could list out excuses as to why we can’t do this thing or that thing. We all are busy. We are all moms. We all have things that vie for our attention and our time, and that can consume us if we’re not careful. So. I’m going to be talking to you more next week, about simplified morning routine, but there’s power and starting small.
And I hope that you are starting to believe that. I will say it over and over until it starts to sink in. And I hope that you’ll say it to yourself. In fact, this is what I want you to do. I want you to take a post-it note or a note card and write, “start small.” “Start small,” and put it up on your bathroom mirror or put it up on the dashboard in your car, your cabinets in your kitchen.
Put that up as a reminder for yourself throughout the rest of the week and keep it up. Keep it up for the next few weeks, for the next few months… However long you need to, until you realize it’s okay to start small. It is okay. If you do that, I would actually love to see it. So if you would take a picture, you can send it to me in a DM on Instagram or tag me in a story @heyitscason.
That would be awesome because I want to see your reminders that it’s okay to start small. It’s okay. So write it down, start small, and then actually start doing it. Okay. None of this matters, none of it moves the needle. None of it changes your life if it just stays here in your ears, in your mind, on the episode and on this podcast. You have to actually live it out and walk it out.
Okay. So I hope that this has been helpful. I hope it’s been encouraging. If you enjoyed it, please leave a rating and review for the podcast. It will take like two minutes and this helps more moms just like you find episodes like this, to help them, to encourage them, to build them up, to help them to live these things out practically in their life.
And so when you rate your review, the podcast, you actually have a hand in spreading this message and supporting the mission of what I’m trying to do here in reaching more moms everywhere. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you for listening. Happy holidays. Happy New Year! I’ll be back next week in a new year. It’s going to be 2022!