Accomplishing Big Things One Step at a Time

You may have heard the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” That’s typically used as a metaphor for achieving goals. Looking at the journey to the end result (a huge elephant in this case) can be overwhelming and cause us to quit before we even start. It’s the baby steps we take along that way that eventually get us where we’re trying to go. I have finally accomplished a goal I’ve been working on for 28 years. Granted, I took some breaks along the way, but I finally finished. I began going to college at eighteen, and after some stops and starts to have kids, change majors (several times), build my career, start a business, and start over again, I have finally earned my degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies. The past seventeen months, in particular, have been grueling at times, but I did it. There have been some key steps along that way that I’d like to share with you:

  • It has to be YOUR goal – One of the most important components to a goal, is that in order to truly enjoy achieving it, it has to be YOUR goal. I was asked so many times why I decided to return to school. My answer was because I wanted to finish something I started so long ago. Obtaining the degree, in and of itself, wouldn’t change anything significantly in my life, accept the personal pride I felt in achieving a goal that was personally important to me.
  • The struggles make you stronger – The beauty of accomplishing such a long-term goal is the sense of pride you feel for sticking it out. The trials and struggles become so worth it. Of course, it’s only after you’ve pushed through the tough times that you realize you’re stronger for it, but you WILL be stronger for it and likely thankful for the challenge.
  • Focus on one step at a time – I knew if I focused too intently on all I would need to accomplish and sacrifice over this time, I likely would have quit or taken a break again, prolonging my time to the finish line. By focusing on one step at a time helped me to stay the course. I focused on each daily step – each homework assignment, project, and test became my focus. Each class became my goal post.
  • Build a support team – Only my inner circle of people knew about this at first. But I couldn’t have achieved the goal without their support and encouragement.
  • Be proud of your journey – I shared this goal of mine with very few people actually.  It was only as I got closer to my goal, or needed to explain why I couldn’t go out, meet for drinks, or take on an additional project, that I began sharing the goal with others. Initially, I think I felt a bit ashamed that it had taken me this long to achieve my goal. A goal most of my peers had accomplished over 20 years ago. But as time went on and I built my confidence, I became proud of this personal journey I was on and how each day brought me closer to achieving my goal.

Maybe obtaining a degree is not your goal, and that’s fine. But you HAVE a goal. You have something you’ve desired that may seem just outside your reach. It’s just like the old Alcoholics Anonymous adage, “one day at a time.” Whether you are striving for a particular level of profitability for your business, a high-ranking position in your career, impacting a certain number of people in your volunteer work, or running a marathon, I want you to know you can do it. Maybe not quickly, in fact, probably not quickly, but you can get there. Focus on the baby steps, the small “bites” you need to take. Keep the goal in site, but focus on the now. I guarantee you will underestimate what you’re capable of, which will only make it feel sweeter when you accomplish your goal.

Whatever that goal is for you, no matter how much dust it’s collected in your mind, I want to encourage you to pursue it. Today. Do one small thing today that will get you closer to achieving that goal. For me, it was researching degree programs. That was my first small step. It was getting excited about committing to taking a step. Just one. It was getting excited about becoming the version I wanted to be. You deserve that, too.

Your turn! What is something you did that took many, many baby steps to accomplish? Share in the comments section.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for your goal, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)



  1. April, you sure do practice what you teach. … Congratulations on your graduation. … you are phenomenal!!!

  2. I absolutely love that April. Baby Steps, you are so right! I tend to focus on too much at once and then I don’t get anything done. I’m trying to change that, but like you said…baby steps. You posted this just when I needed a reminder! Thanks for that!

    • I’m so glad it was a timely post for you, Angela! Keep baby-steppin’ it!! You’ll get there!! 🙂

  3. Love your thoughts on one steps at a time. We cannot do everything in a day and it can be overwhelming if we expect that happen. I try taking small steps with my business as well and I have achieved a lot for the past year. I would probably quit if I expected to do it all in a short space.

    • Erin, there are almost no areas this applies to more than business!! Thanks for sharing your perspective!!

Add Your Comment