Quick Tip: One way to reach goals without needing to “believe in yourself” more

Many folks have just made a new year’s resolution to do something that’s a stretch for them. Maybe it’s something they’ve tried in the past without much success, like losing weight. Perhaps it’s sticking to a writing schedule. Whatever their challenge is, they might be thinking that believing in themselves just a little bit more is the way to success. Are you in this group of folks?

The biggest problem with that strategy is that it’s the same thing as relying on willpower to see you through all the ups and downs in your level of motivation. And that’s a BIG ask to believe that. Believing you can do something isn’t really necessary for goal achievement, despite what you may have heard. Now, don’t get me wrong, it helps. But it’s not essential.

What is essential to conquering a big goal that has been out of your reach is believing in your ability to persist with small actions. You don’t need to rely on willpower to perfectly execute a weight loss plan or a writing schedule. You just need to commit to the idea of taking imperfect action every day and believe that the small actions will get you there. It is much easier to believe you can do one small thing a day than to believe you will lose twenty-five pounds or finish your dissertation.

When you take the pressure off needing to believe in something that is too big or too challenging for you, and you commit to the easier and more sustainable belief that small efforts will get you there, you can embrace the changes you are seeking. Start with the small belief in your ability to keep going no matter what. Then move forward from there to precisely define your goal and create a plan to reach it. Cultivating a persistence mindset enables you to execute your plans without getting caught up in the daily drama.