Just. Keep. Going.

Alternate title: One Step at a Time

This topic is one near and dear to my heart, especially over the past year. For many years (5+) after college, I wondered when and what I would go back to school for. I have always known I would either continue down the marketing path, focus on health and wellness, or dive into something more creative like photography or graphic design.

After several years of hemming and hawing without any attempt at any of my other areas of strengths/interests, I was simply fed up with my own indecision. Jess Lively, a blogger and entrepreneur I have followed for several years has always promoted the idea of living intentionally and focusing on your strengths and interests. In fact, I'm highly certain I adopted the term 'Just Keep Going' from her.

There have been many times where I questioned "Is this REALLY what I want to be doing?" or "Can I hack three years of this plus an internship?" or "Will I be succeed?" There has been fear, excitement, breakdowns, and confusion.  

But amidst the fear and confusion, the thing that I've held tight to is that I just have to keep going. When I start to look at the big picture and what it takes to reach the end goal, I get overwhelmed. It seems like a mountain I won't be able to summit. But shockingly, when I think about things one baby step at a time, it doesn't seem so bad. 

So while the long term is the goal, the short term focus is what gives me strength and reassurance that reaching a big goal is just a matter of taking a lot of little steps.

This idea can be applied to a lot of other areas of life (forming new friendships, saving for a house/car/trip, learning a new skill, etc.).

How do you tackle a big goal? 

I hope you're surviving the arctic blast wherever you are. It's been pretty cold (for Eugene) getting into the 20s at night. Yesterday, I waited until it warmed up around 3 p.m. to a balmy 42 degrees to go running. But I won't complain too much because I know it could be worse. Plus, it's kind of fun to have to bundle up a bit more for our morning dog walks. 


Vanessa said…
Baby steps keep me going. It's easy to get scared and want to quit when I think too much about the big picture, but smaller goals seem manageable and make me feel like I'm making progress as I tackle them.
missris said…
When I was contemplating going back to school but simultaneously wringing my hands over how long it would take a wise friend said to me "That time is going to pass anyway. Two years from now you could still be stressing about it, or you could be done." I'm so, so glad I bit the bullet and just did it. The time did pass, so quickly, and now I have something to show for it other than more wrinkles!
I saw this humans of New York post this last week where someone commented and said this, "I'll never forget a response to a Dear Abby letter years ago. A lady wrote in and said she wanted to go back to school but she was 48 and it would take 8 years to get her degree.
Abby's answer: "How old will you be in 8 years if you don't go back to school?"
Never let age deter you from anything!"

I know it's daunting to take this all on and there are a lot of uncertainties and the road is long, but when you think about the fact that 5 years from now, if you would have let inertia take over, you'd still be doing the same thing - but instead you'll hopefully be doing something rewarding and fulfilling that utilizes your gifts and talents!

I think the biggest goal I worked towards was passing the CFA. It was very overwhelming and most of time it sort of sucked the life out of me and left me pretty depressed since it was so much work, but I broke it out level by level, and week by week. And 2.5 years later (with some breaks from studying), it was done, thank God.
Amber said…
Yes! Totally! It's been 4 years since Eric went back to school and at the time he was worried about going back to school at 24. Now at 28 he's done and we're both SO glad he got it done then. In some ways the last four years flew by but in other ways it did drag by, and it was definitely a lot slower than my 4 years in university. But the thing with education is no one can ever take it away from you - you will always have it so it's always worth the effort. I think breaking huge big goals into smaller more manageable ones is the way to go -- just like race training!
Jessica Jarrell said…
I have a tendency to get overwhelmed. A lot. It happens almost every day, and the only thing that calms me down is taking a deep breathe, closing my eyes, and just saying, "one step at a time". I definitely identify with that mantra!
You totally have the right attitude. Any time something is too big for me to comprehend or handle, I just break it into smaller pieces. Really, right now, all you have to do is get to the end of THIS semester. Then you can focus on the next semester.

It doesn't really help to worry about everything right now; it's best to just take it one thing at a time.

In the last three years, I have changed jobs twice. The first one I took because I had to have a job. It was okay, not horrible, but not what I wanted to do for the next twenty years. So six months ago, I switched jobs again. It's been hard (1) getting paid less (2) being the low man on the totem and (3) having to be that person that doesn't know anything/has to ask questions all the time. However, it has been totally worth it, and in a year or two I will forget that I ever didn't know all of these things!
Heather @Dietitian on the Run said…
I love the "time is going to pass anyway" note, as that's something I think about a lot. you're going to spend days, weeks, months and years doing SOMETHING, and either way, you'll look back and think "wow, that went quickly." I also like to think "Tomorrow you'll wish you had started today". Small steps with a plan in mind will take you pretty far.

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