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Nibble, don't scoff!

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

I'm busy making plans for 2023. Write a book! Book keynote speaking gigs! Reach out to all my contacts!

But they won't be achieved with heroic, grand gestures. They will be a series of mundane little actions, repeated regularly. Sitting alone to write, sending emails, making calls. "Nibbles".

Particularly as we tick over to a new year, full of hope, plans and good intentions, we feel our conditioning for instant gratification. 'I want it all and I would really, really like it right now'. I'm not sure anyone is immune.

But the truth is, things don't happen overnight.

Even with the best will in the world, it's usually "little by little, then all at once". So it's useful to plan accordingly.

It's not to say we can't have those grand plans and big ideas, but my 'nibble' approach works particularly well in our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world. You never know what's round the corner, so baby steps keep things simple and feel more controllable (oh, how we love the feeling of control!).

It also helps us not get too attached to the outcome. Often we set out on a path, but find half way through that we things have changed, or we *actually* want something else or the initial vision won't work but something else definitely will.

In 'Getting things done' by David Allen, he touches on the importance of knowing the next action. Being specific and clear on the next step to get things moving. For example, "do tax" is a typical item, but for me, it's actually 'figure out my password to the ATO online portal', prerequisite to starting the process!

By all means, nibble fast. Take those little actions in quick succession if it's going well.

But you'll get much further by taking consistent, small actions that big bursts of energy then flatlining. And that very first step will be easier to take and the momentum easier to build.

How can we help ourselves do this?

  1. Find the true motivation - whether it's putting your "big why?" front and centre, or finding that fire within you of wanting to prove a point or win a bet, find a motivation that works for you. It can come from the most unlikely places!

  2. Create accountability - I like to use as a habit app, but also having a buddy, a reward, a coach or someone to check in with is a great way to put some accountability around your 'nibbles'.

  3. Create the physical, mental, chronological space to make it work. If you know where, when and how the next action will take place, you are much more likely to follow through. I like to "pre-cide" - make the decision in advance, so when the time comes it's a no brainer.

  4. Frame your nibbles as experiments - I'm not committing to writing a book. I'm committing to writing every day for the first week of January, with the view to continue for the month if it's working. Clear system, flexible approach, gain feedback, tweak as necessary.

  5. Look forward and back and track your progress. When the road ahead feels overwhelming, breaking it down helps it's feel do-able. Looking back gives us confidence as we can see what we've already achieved.

What will you be nibbling at in 2023? Writing it down is your very first nibble - get to it :)

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