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How Starting Small Can Lead to Positive Changes in Your Life

By Margaret Manning May 04, 2016 Mindset

When you hear about people who have “reinvented their lives” in their 50s and 60s, you usually hear about people who have done big things – become professional weight-lifters, started successful companies or travelled the world in a VW bus.

The problem with many of these stories is that they focus on the result, not the transformation. As a result, watching from the sidelines, it’s easy to say to ourselves, “I could never do that.”

Talking with hundreds of people over 50 who have achieved their dreams, I can tell you that they all share a simple secret – they started small. Then, they gradually increased their commitment over time, until their small steps led them to big results.

Always remember that most people fail because they never start. So, set yourself a simple repeatable goal and get on the road to productivity and happiness. Let me give you a few examples.

If you want to run a marathon, don’t lace your shoes up and go for a 2-mile run in the park. If you’re out of shape, you’re almost certain to regret it the next day – and you may even quit.

Instead, go for a 5-minute walk. The next day, go for a 6-minute walk at the same time. Continue to add one minute a day, until you are walking for 30 minutes. Now, start running for the first minute and walking for the remaining 29. Within 2 months, you will be running 3 miles and you can continue to increase your time and speed until you reach your long-term goals.

Likewise, if you want to write a book, one of the best ways to fail is to turn on your computer and expect the words to flow. Stop stressing yourself out and break the process into parts. Start by spending 5 minutes writing down notes. Don’t worry about structure or grammar. Just type.

The next day, spend 6 minutes until… well, you get the idea. After a month of note-taking, apply the same process to organizing and structuring your notes. Then work on writing. Then try your hand at editing. Sure, this process is far less exciting than “diving in,” but, it is also much more effective!

Ironically, the bigger your goals for your life after 50, the smaller the activities you should start with. Take 5 minutes to do something simple today to move yourself closer to your potential.

No-one is going to judge you for starting slow. On the contrary, they won’t even notice – that is, until you are standing on the podium, accepting your big reward!

What do you want to accomplish this year? What small step are you going to take to move yourself one step closer to your goals? Please join the discussion.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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