If You Want Big Things, Pay Attention to the Little Things

If You Want Big Things Pay Attention to the Little Things

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes 

That Sherlock Holmes quote is one of my favorites, and not just because I’m 5 feet tall.

I’ve always been detail-oriented, and I prefer looking at the nitty gritty aspects of life rather than the big picture. True, you do have to understand the big goals you’re working towards, but the tiny steps along the way are what really get you there.

This microscopic viewpoint influences how I run my life coaching programs. First, my clients talk about their enormous hopes and dreams (Start my own business! Lose 50 pounds! Leave this soul-sucking job! Move somewhere exotic!).

Once a client has a specific goal in mind, we go about breaking it down into smaller and smaller action steps. What needs to be done this month, this week, or today? What itsy bitsy task can you do to move yourself closer to that dream?

Honestly, most people don’t find pleasure in looking at all the little things that need to be checked off before a goal is reached, and I’ve had numerous clients fight me when I try to get them to think smaller.

Fantasizing about wearing your skinny jeans is fun—yay! Waking up at 6:00 in the morning to haul yourself to the gym every day for 3 months is not—boo!

I get it. It’s hard to keep plowing along when you feel like you have so far to go. Working on the little things does get easier over time, usually after the third day or so.

But it’s those people who put in the effort and pay attention to the little things who actually achieve the big things in life.

Want to work on the little things in your life? Download my free printable worksheet, The Ultimate To-Do List.

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  1. Sarah @ This Is What I Eat on August 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I definitely agree that paying attention to the little things is the way to achieve your bigger goal! I’ve been trying to organize my smaller milestones and this worksheet will definitely help me gather my thoughts!

    • Sage Grayson on August 6, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Make sure you celebrate your milestones when you reach them! A little reward now and then can help keep you motivated in the long run.

  2. Gillian on August 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

    I was *just* writing a post over the weekend about how it’s hard for me to make the leap from doing the small things that make the big things happen. I get caught up in making sure I know *exactly* how to do the small steps that I hardly ever get them done! It’s that deadly combo of perfectionist + fear or failure. Anyway, love the printable and five footers represent!

    • Sage Grayson on August 6, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Shorties unite! 🙂 I’m a perfectionist too, and sometimes I get too hung up on the little things. There definitely needs to be a balance.

  3. Molly on August 6, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I do pay attention to the little things because everything you say about this is true. It took me a long time to get to this point, though, and I sometimes have to remind myself to “start small”. It makes such a difference!

    • Sage Grayson on August 6, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Thanks, Molly! Baby steps are the only way I get things done, and narrowing my focus really does make me more productive.