The Secret of Turtle Steps
How are you getting on with your ‘beating procrastination challenge ‘ ?
Are you celebrating success or feeling stuck and beating yourself up that you have failed to complete or even start tackling your goal ?
Can I share with you the secret of turtle steps and how they can play a vital role in getting you where you want to be – finishing a project, losing weight, learning a new skill or whatever else your goal might be.
As you know my challenge was my desk. I was really enthusiastic about taking on ‘eating my elephant in small bites’ and chunking the task. As the desk has eight drawers I decided I would tackle a drawer a day and be done in eight days. Ha ha ! The first few were easy but then I had a busy day and didn’t manage one and I could feel my crazy inner perfectionist’s internal resistance to doing more, as I had now failed to keep to my original plan.
Luckily I remembered the powerful concept of taking turtle steps that I was introduced to a few years ago by the american life coach Martha Beck during a workshop she held at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.
This centre is well worth a visit if you are in London. Originally a medieval church which, against all the odds, managed to survive the Great Fire of London, the Blitz and then in 1993 the IRA Bishopsgate bomb that exploded right outside. It is now facilitating great work in conflict resolution, peace and reconciliation and also provides a wonderful peaceful and inspiring venue for various workshops.
So what is this about Turtle Steps ?!!
Well you know that turtles swim along beautifully under water but on land they have to take teeny weeny steps to get anywhere. Watching a turtle walk can be almost painful if you are intent on it getting to its destination but if you look away for a while and then come back you can really appreciate the progress it has made. The same with the turtle steps towards whatever goal you want to achieve !
Martha Beck emphasises the crucial thing about a turtle step is that it has to feel do-able, really ridiculously easy. The more ridiculously easy the better as it will cut through your self limiting thought processes and the more successful you will be. Remember any step can feel ridiculously easy as long as you make it small enough.
If you have a very strong inner perfectionist like I do you might be feeling some inner resistance to accepting the idea of turtle steps. Why oh why do our minds hold onto the idea that taking giant steps forward that exist only in our imagination is somehow better than the smaller steps that we can actually achieve in real life ?!
So how can you decide on your turtle steps, so that you are soon swimming along ?
Remember any step can feel ridiculously easy as long as you make it small enough. Why not start looking at your goal and chunking it down into the steps you would have to take to get there. Be aware that your inner perfectionist could be making these decisions so bypass this immediately by cutting each step in half. Then keep cutting them in half till they are so easy you almost feel you could do them in your sleep ! Just start with the first easy step, then the next and you now have the pathway to successfully reaching your goal.
If your inner perfectionist is very strong it may really resist the idea of turtle steps. Could you at some level be holding onto the idea that if you take on more than is necessary and excel at it, you will finally be worthy, and therefore, loved. The irony is that you don’t get more accomplished when you take on more — you actually accomplish less that way.
Often our minds won’t allow us to embrace ridiculously easy. If it feels easy we don’t trust it. Hypnotherapy can help you change a self limiting belief from ‘it has to be hard’ to ‘I can allow it to be easier’ which can then have profound effects in your everyday life.
Putting the timer on my phone and tackling just 5 minutes tidying became my turtle step and the only requirement was I did just one turtle step a day ( although without the pressure I found sometimes I would do more ) Ridiculously easy ! Now I am really enjoying the benefits of a clear and organised desk.
What turtle steps could you choose ?