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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Kyllingstad

How to Accomplish Anything

Most people are good accomplishing things they find to be small, short, easy tasks. But often, bigger tasks seem overwhelming and unattainable. We don’t see how we can do it. We stress and worry about how in the world are we going to do it. It becomes larger than life and then often a self-fulfilling prophecy when we don’t accomplish the thing and say “See?! I told you I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

In order to tackle anything, we need to break it down into smaller more manageable tasks. Then make a schedule for yourself but also give yourself grace. The grace part is often missing for people. Then when they fall off schedule or get side-tracked or behind, they get angry and frustrated with themselves and throw in the towel. There are all kinds of dichotomies in famous quotes. The old proverb made famous by President Theodore Roosevelt says, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Muhammad Ali said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” These phrases show that there can be room for two seemingly contrasting things in a single thought. It doesn’t have to be “Make a schedule and stick to it or else you are a failure and then you should quit.” There is room for “Make a schedule but give yourself grace.”

I am very visual, and it is easier for me to see the tasks all laid out. I don’t look at all of steps at once, feel overwhelmed, and quit. Instead, I try to just look at the first few. And then I love crossing things off the list! I can see my accomplishment and see that list get smaller and smaller. Knocking things out one at a time really works. Often if I have a specific deadline, I will grab an old school calendar and write the task on the specific days I need to accomplish them in order to finish the task by my goal date. I take a longer time in the beginning to do the planning. Then all I have to do is look at my calendar for the day, see what task I need to do, and then take care of it. No building was ever made without a blueprint. And breaking things into smaller chunks is fine! Chip away at it a little at a time. Slowly but surely, you will be successful. A Chinese Proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Don’t let yourself get distracted by the thought of the entire journey. Just start with a single step.

So, what happens if you miss a day? You forget or don’t feel like doing it. Maybe you had a bad day. People can sometimes feel even worse when they then don’t also accomplish their small daily task, get frustrated and quit. But I’m saying you should allow yourself to also be human. Sometimes we have a bad day. Sometimes work is hard and stressful, and we are exhausted by the time we get home. It happens. Life happens. We aren’t robots. Take the day and then start fresh the next day. As long as you keep chipping away at the goal it should be considered a success. You got this!

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