Take Small Actions

When are you due for another dentist visit? Do you dread the day till it’s over? If you do, I feel for you.

In my case, I was almost 6 months overdue for the next dental check-up. I let it slip my mind for a long time. But hey I had good excuses. I led a busy life. I didn’t have time blah blah blah.

One morning out of blue, I decided it’s time to get off my back side and act, so I called my dentist.

It took less than two minutes to make the appointment and as soon as it was booked, the anxious feeling went away.

What’s easier, the day I had it done, it wasn’t as painful as I’d anticipated. In fact, the whole experience was so relaxing that I almost dozed off on the dental chair!

Now looking back, I’ve come up with two questions.

Question One: Why did I put it off for months and months?

Not surprisingly, my procrastination was largely to do with fears:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of what if’s
  • Fear of all the ridiculous, unfounded worst scenarios playing in my head.

The next question: What prompted me to make that phone call at last? The quick answer is: Pressure.

I was not self-motivated enough till the pressure started to mount. Where did the pressure come from? The deadline! As they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

This experience has left me wondering if there’re any useful tools that can help reduce the likelihood of inaction or even better increase the chances of action.

In the process, I’ve found one technique to be effective:

  • Breaking down large things into small things and small increments.

As the year draws to a close, most of us will probably think of making new year’s resolutions. The intention is good but sometimes our yearly goals can be too big, too overwhelming and too scary. The challenge for me has always been how to make them stick.

Knowing what I’m like, what I’m good at and not good at, I’ll be trialing something new this time, I call it my new day’s resolutions as opposed to new year’s resolutions. It means taking small steps towards small goals in relatively shorter time frames. It’s about creating many small wins. After all, a small win is still a win…

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