Baby Steps

23 05 2012

“I’m sailing!”

One of the most hilarious movies I ever seen—and a favorite of our family—is the film What About Bob?  The picture portrays the comical interactions of a successful and slightly neurotic psychotherapist, Leo Marvin  (Richard Dreyfuss) with his nerdy, phobic new client, Bob (Bill Murray).

The story features newly-published Dr. Marvin counseling his patients, especially the new and irritating Bob who is afraid of everything, that goals and growth can be accomplished by taking small actions toward their fulfillment.

Baby steps!

Bob succeeds in driving Leo Marvin to the brink and over.  In the process, Bob grows and Leo regresses.  Watch the film.

I’ve been thinking about goals and how to reach them lately.  If you’re like me and many other humanoids, you may find the goals you pursue like a giant mountains or obstacle courses.  If you focus on the size of them, you’re likely to become discouraged and either suspend them or give them up altogether.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The Chinese philosopher Lao-Tze once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”  My wife often reminds me of the moral of Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.”   Slow and steady wins the race.  Plodding.  Keeping on keeping on.

What to do:

  • Write down your goals.  This is the very first step. The success literature seems to be united on this point.  Why? Committing goals to paper makes them more real.  Tangible.  The human mind is conditioned when a goal in made specific to come up with strategies toward its fulfillment.  Make short term, medium and long range goals. What are 100 things you want to do and become before you die?  Write them down today.
  • Begin thinking of a baby steps process to meet them.  One of my colleagues at work just ran her first half marathon in the beautiful Adirondacks in our state.  She won a medal.  I asked her how she did it?  She did so through a gradual process of working up to 12-13 miles.  She’s planning on running a full marathon and I bet she’ll do it.  Lay out specific, easily digestible steps toward finishing the meal.  Little bites.  Baby steps.
  • Dream big.  Often we fail to reach goals because we make them too easy.  If you’re meant to ski Olympic size courses, you’ll not be happy staying on the bunny hill.  Set the bar high.

You were meant to win at life, not lose or drown in boredom.  Do it!

Image Credit




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