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12th April 2017

A Single Step: How To Achieve Your Goals

A journey of a thousand miles….

It’s a famous proverb that it used time and time again.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

The more I connect with it, the more meaning and value I find in it.

Let’s have a look at this quote from all angles, explore why it’s so impactful and see how we can apply its lessons to our lives.


Sometimes the enormity of a journey can be too overwhelming. When this happens we often think, “I’ll never be able to get there so why bother trying?”

The destination is too far away.

I’ll never make it.

I’ll stay right here.

This could be taking up a hobby – such as playing the piano. It could be taking on a challenge – such as running a marathon. Or maybe a career change or promotion?

Fear can sometimes be masked by procrastination. “I did tell myself I’d start writing my first novel today but there’s only 9 episodes left of this Netflix series… I’ll watch them first!”

Often, it’s getting started that seems the scariest.

A perfect way to combat this it to create smaller bitesize chunks or ‘the single step.’ If your new goal is to do 100 push ups every morning – start with 1!

Often, you’ll find once you’ve started you can do a bit more.

It’s all about getting started!


You can learn things on the journey that can help you get to the end.

To get to the top of the mountain you may have to cross rivers, battle through harsh winds and climb rocks. However, you develop these skills at the base of the mountain where the terrain is flat and this gives you the skills to conquer the challenges at the top.

Sometimes we don’t know what we need to learn until we’ve started something. And to start something – we need the first step.

Commit to something and stake your claim! “I am going to achieve _________ by ________”

You’ll be surprised how much support will appear.

People will offer their support.

“I did that last year – you should try ______”

“This app worked great for me.”

“Have you read this book/blog/ted talk, it will really help.”

The learning comes in the doing. And with every step – you’ll realise you are getting closer to the goal.


Your view can change throughout the journey and you can see things in a different light.

Your journey of a thousand miles may be to reach the metaphorical church on top of the metaphorical hill in the distance.

Halfway through the journey you can see the goal a little more clearly. It’s actually a metaphorical castle. Does this change things?

How does this translate to real life?

For example, you may have a dream of opening your own café that specialises in delicious cupcakes.

Once you’ve started your journey and experiment with baking you may discover you much prefer baking brownies.

Are you allowed to change the path slightly? Yes.

Can your new dream be to own a café that specialises in delicious brownies? Yes.

However, you never would have got there without your initial dream. Move in the right direction and have the flexibility to change course with your intuition.


There may be more paths than you first think.

Once you’ve started your journey you may see there’s more than one way to get to your destination. The scenic route? The fastest path? The smoothest route?

Often these are not visible until we’ve reached a certain point in the journey.

You may have an idea that the only way to generate the income to start your new company is to spend the next five years saving and saving and saving.

Look for a few other routes…. Business loans? Crowdfunding? Grants? Investment?

New paths can appear where we least expect them.

Often paths are hidden and appear out of nowhere. Sometimes they are not marked on the map and can only be found through exploring.

And remember…

Once you’ve made the bold decision to take your single step, it’s important to remember that sometimes more magic can be found in the journey than in reaching the destination.

Enjoy the view at every point. Celebrate every milestone along the way. Be grateful for the sunshine and for the rain. This creates your memories and will help you realise how far you’ve come.

Begin your journey of a thousand miles today.

Take a single step.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.

Written by Patrick Steed for Inspire Me.

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