The Impact of the Small Step
By Angel Santiago
“Slow and steady wins the race” is a well-known proverb that offers an important piece of advice that, if acted on, should improve one’s life. Persistent, consistent, and diligent progress, even if it is somewhat slow, will produce better results than speeding your way through things, as this can lead to mistakes and, ultimately, be an unreliable approach.
In the summer of 2017, I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime. I was hired as the Leadership and Mindset Coach at Freedom Practice Coaching. As you know, we are not just a wellness and lifestyle company; we actually walk the talk. But for me at that time, not so much.
I was weighing 225 pounds, eating fast food daily, and drinking a Dr. Pepper with every meal and then found myself working for a company where the break room was stocked with nothing but water, fruit, and gluten-free snacks. What was I to do? I was already working on myself; spiritually, emotionally, and financially, but I hadn’t put any real effort into my physical wellness. I had made several attempts, but it wasn’t consistent. And this was the perfect opportunity to commit fully.
Like with any worthwhile journey, I knew patience was required. Change doesn’t happen overnight, so I took my time and made small changes one by one.
I started by replacing my Dr. Peppers with water for every meal. I allowed myself to get used to this small change before I moved on to the next. I didn’t completely stop my fast-food habit at first, but I did successfully ditch the fries. After that, I moved on to portion control and worked on that for a while. Eventually, I started eating much healthier, and later in my journey, I heard about intermittent fasting. I decided to give it a try, and that’s when I really started seeing progress.
I knew where I wanted to end up. I knew what I wanted my results to look like, but there is no way I could have started by changing everything all at once in an attempt to fast-track my progress. If I hadn’t taken all those smaller steps first, I would have definitely failed.
When it comes to lasting success and growth, you have to play the long game. If you are in a hurry to see the results and find yourself speeding through the process, you are not going to develop the discipline that is needed to stick with it in the long haul.
Also – and this is important – what is the reason you want to make a change? What is your WHY? If your reason is superficial or if you are doing it for someone other than yourself, it’s not going to stick. It must be grounded and rooted in something significant and meaningful, something with purpose.
You will also need the right motivation and accountability, which could come in the form of a friend, a coach, a trainer, or a mentor. Heck, maybe even a bully. It took me four years to get in the best shape of my life, and it took all the above. Yes, even the bully.
It takes patience, dedication, and commitment to create the life you desire. You must remember that becoming a better version of yourself is a process that requires a lot of patience to see it through. Your challenges and failures are your comrades; they are there to support and aid your growth. “Fast” puts the reward at risk. You must honor and respect your timeline, for it is precisely what will create the foundation for success. All you have to do is believe and invest in yourself.