Why Taking Baby Steps is the Key to Success (Mug-spiration Monday)

Monday, January 9, 2017

Welcome back, friends! And Happy Monday! We really haven't had a Mug-spiration Monday in about a month, so I am very excited to get back into the swing of things! So to get us back on track, today is all about goal setting and how to set ourselves up for success!

Have you ever set a goal or resolution that you immediately jumped headfirst into? You went full-force for a few days (maybe even weeks) before finding yourself worn out and over-done. At that point, all you wanted to do was quit, because the progress wasn't worth the burnout. Have you ever been there before? Well I sure have!

Many people tend to think that if they go hard for days/weeks at the time, they will win the race quicker than those who take baby steps towards their goals. I know people who haven't exercised in months who suddenly decide that they are going to go to the gym and lift weights at the highest weight they can, for as long as they can.

At that point, they are not only treating their poor muscles horribly, but they will also wake up the next morning so sore that they never want to lift weights again.

Trust me when I say that, for most people, taking baby steps is much more effective when it comes to achieving our goals.

Baby Steps Help Create Sustainable Habits

The thing about our goals is that we don't need to just reach them and leave them. It's one thing to lose 20 pounds. It's another thing to lose 20 pounds and keep it off!
Baby steps, because they are slow and consistent in nature, help us create lasting habits. 

You've probably heard the old addage that says "it takes 21 days to form a new habit". That's probably true. But sometimes people assume that as long as they can make it to day 21, they'll be set.

I have had friends go on diets that were really just ridiculous. They may have been sustainable in the short-term, but long-term they weren't feasible- nor were they even healthy. Instead of taking baby steps towards health and weight-loss, these friends wanted quick results. They knew what researchers said about the healthy way to lose weight, but they felt that those tips were just too slow for them.

But guess what... after reaching their goal weight, these friends steadily went right back to their original weight (or heavier). Why? Because their plan wasn't sustainable. They took far too many gigantic strides, and not nearly enough habit-forming baby steps.

Baby Steps See Results

I realize that I am not a health guru, spiritual adviser, or any sort of professional that has deep insight to your goals. I have steadily gained weight and slacked off in many areas of my life. I may not have achieved my goals yet, but I do know what DOESN'T work.

And I really do believe that for each of us, if we would take small, achievable baby steps, we would really start to see results.

But be aware, baby steps still require movement. I am totally guilty of saying I am taking "baby steps", when really I am standing still. Instead, I am not taking any real action towards improvement. And maybe you think of baby steps that way sometimes too. But even though a baby takes much smaller steps, they are still moving.

And in order to see results, we have to get moving too. We can't just stand still in our health goals, spiritual goals, financial goals, or whatever! We have to keep moving forward at a pace we can handle. Then we will begin to see results that stick.

Ideas for Sustainable Goals

- If you are trying to lose weight, why not make your first step something to the tune of "No eating after 8pm", or "Walk 90 minutes/week". Both of these ideas are very small, and yet would still be an improvement (and challenge) for many people.

- For financial goals, come up with a dollar amount you'd like to save during your first month of this goal. But if you are barely able to make ends meet each month, don't over-do it. Maybe start with $25 dollars. You can save $25/month by just cutting out a few lattes or fast food stops.

- Regarding spiritual goals, it's so easy to try to go from barely ever reading the bible to a "read the bible in a year" plan. If you can do that, more power to ya, but most of us need to start smaller than that. Maybe try reading one chapter a day, or even just a passage or a verse a day for the first month. Then bump it up from there. One passage is better than nothing. One verse is better than no verses.

Begin thinking through how you can make improvements that are going to remain sustainable throughout the years to come. Making a goal that you can only feasibly keep for a few months is pointless, but making goals that will transform your life are invaluable! So be content with baby steps and expect results!

What are your goals and how can you take baby steps towards them? Comment below!


  1. This is great! My blog post today had a similar theme :) I completely agree that you have to start small - no crazy diet plans or too outlandish of goals! Right now, I have 2 goals (personal & blog related!) - lose 10lbs & gain 1000 followers on Instagram. Starting small on both of these!! Love your advice!

  2. This is so important. I started a blog in June, and when initially I spent so much time trying to do everything! But I quickly learned the best way to manage my blog goals is to focus on quarterly goals.

  3. My goals are to get to 1,000 followers on all my social media platforms. While it can feel like a slow process I am just going to chip away at it day-by-day.

  4. I love small goals! I recently watched a couple of videos by "tiny habits" expert BJ Fogg. Tiny habits don't trigger the FEAR response in the brain, making them easy to integrate into our life, then they can grow into bigger habits. Great stuff.

  5. YES to the sustainable thing. I started Weight Watchers a few months ago and I was a little discouraged that I wasn't making jumps and gains. But then I thought back and reflected on what was going on and the reason I was losing half a pound each week was because I WASN'T restricting myself. I was allowing myself to live my life. And the fact that I was still losing it little by little meant that it was a sustainable weight loss. It wasn't like I had restricted myself for months and months to shed the weight. It was that I could do it while also living my life!

  6. I think my favorite concept is that "Baby steps help create sustainable habits." That's crucial to actually succeeding -- developing habits and not just working off of a random whim or when you "feel" inspired. Thanks for this reminder today. With so many big projects up in the air, I definitely needed it!

  7. Great points! Baby steps are so important because they are small and achievable! Thank you!

  8. What a great reminder for my goals for 2017! In the fall I stopped drinking coke (like I went from 3 a day to 0) and then I stopped eating more than once a week. Now I have begun a workout routine. Baby steps to a healthier me.

  9. This post is so spot on! My goals for the year are to make small changes that have a huge effect on my life and take my puppy for more runs/walks! Thanks for the great advice.

  10. Baby steps (in setting goals) are so important! Because they so reachable and we aren´t so scared to start achieving them! Very well written!

  11. This is so true!! Breaking any goal down into baby steps makes it far more attainable plus you can feel like you are making progress!

  12. This is so interesting! I am definitely a jump in head first kind of a gal, but this makes a lot of sense for long term success!

  13. Agreed! It's better to progress slowly towards your goal and actually reach it than to start off at a sprint, only to quit!

  14. I love your solution to goals and gaining their successful completions. It's so simple, yet not always obvious.

  15. This really resonated with me! I get so overwhelmed feeling like I'm not doing enough and I need to remember to slow down...that's what creates lasting success anyway!

    -Clarissa @ The View From Here

  16. I am always for baby steps -- I just know I won't follow through if I feel overwhelmed and intimidated.

  17. I love your points here, Kristin and I totally agree with you!

  18. Great post! Baby steps are so important, I live by this rule. I've noticed that I get demotivated and barely do any work when I set a big goal - however when I break it down in little tasks it looks so much easier to achieve and I'm motivated to just get things done.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  19. I love all the points you make. They really are things you never think about!

  20. I agree completely. A little a day makes a habit.

  21. Little baby steps! There are several areas where I really need to do this. Thanks for the reminder.