Think Small to Achieve Big

 Posted by on 01/08/2014
Jan 082014
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kailua sunrise

Tomorrow always brings a new day.

One of my biggest visions you’ll find on my Impossible List, is to open a training facility based on Hawaiian values.  Not only will the facility work with developing athletes but also help individuals in need of guidance and a positive outlet, especially amongst the youth in Hawaii.  It’s much more than just a place where people train, it’s a learning center where you build a Kū body.

That’s the DREAM.

Iʻm always dreaming up of what my gym would look like.  I visualize what a typical training session would be – before entering the facility the group will do an entry chant to show preparedness, respect, and to increase their mana.  Then at the end of the training session the group comes together for a closing chant to show honor and gratitude.

Thatʻs the DREAM.

It’s better to take small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward. – Old Chinese Proverb

I’ve wrote about how you have to think BIG, live to the fullest, and make a difference.  I mean that’s what all of the successful people say right?

When I start daydreaming and thinking big, I get inspired and motivated. I feel like King Kong on the Empire State Building yelling, “Whaddup?”

But then as I’m pounding on my chest, all this BIG thinking and inspiration just leaves me feeling overwhelmed.

Have you ever experienced that?

You have all these big ideas, dreams, things you want to achieve, and you feel excited when you talk about it but when you come back to reality, you realize it’s going to take some time and a good amount of effort.

Some times what we need is to stop dreaming and start living.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t think big or dream.


Maybe you have this big goal you want to achieve and are finding that it’s difficult no matter how hard you work.  I see this with a lot of the athletes I coach.  They focus so much on the end result rather than thinking on a smaller scale which will lead to the end result. Remember the Chinese Proverb, “it’s better to take small steps in the right direction.”

How to Think Small to Achieve Big

Allow me to share what I learned through experience.  As an entrepreneur, coach, writer, and self-proclaimed ‘cool dude’, I’m always in that mindset of “Think big. Go big or go home.”

Many times I’d get on a wave of emotions.  I hope that I’d get a gym open and have athletes wanting to train with me, be a published writer (wait, I am published *cough* check out my book, Aloha to You), be featured in a fitness magazine, and on and on.

BAM! I get kicked in the nuts because as big as you can think, you still have to do the small steps to get to the destination.  I’m a firm believer in that the journey is way more important than the destination.

For all the big thinking I’ve done and still do, I find myself taking on more than I should with the thought of ‘the more I do, the quicker it’ll come.’

When you overload yourself with so much tasks and goals, you are only setting up yourself up for failure and frustration.

Create Small Steps

I still dream and use my crazy imagination, but now I’m making small treks.  It really helps to break down the journey into smaller steps rather than constantly keeping my focus in the distant future.

This sort of thinking goes against that RAH RAH and all-out-or-nothing mentality.  Focusing on the small steps rather than the dream can be difficult at first.

It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. -Miyamoto Musashi

What steps are needed to achieve the big goal? What can I do this week to make sure I’m headed in the right direction? What can I do today? Who should I contact? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself.  Doing this will help break down the large task into smaller detailed steps.

Set daily/weekly tasks and mini targets: My wife loves making tasks lists with little boxes next to each one.  After she’s done with each tasks she checks it off.  She’ll even go as far as writing down things she already did just to put a check next to them.  I’m sure she hears cheering and fireworks with every box she checks off.

With the New Year here and the biggest resolution being weight loss, there are many people who have an idea of how much weight they want to lose.  Rather than focusing on the big number, break it down to mini targets.  In this case, losing 1-2 lbs per week is advised for healthy weight loss.

Focusing on the big task will only make you want to the results faster.

Celebrate the mini victories. Having smaller steps to take sets you up for many little successes.  What do you want to accomplish within one month? Six months? Maybe, Today?  Setting milestones leading up to the destination is a great way to boost your motivation and gain more confidence in your abilities.  Celebrate reaching a milestone by rewarding yourself – a weekend stay-cation, spa day, new shoes – what ever makes your feel awesome.

Remember your purpose.  We all have a dream, we all want to make some sort of difference in our community, family, or the world.  It is human nature to want results fast.  I wanted to open up a training facility years ago and I still wanted one yesterday.  When you feel like you are rushing things and want to give up.

Be Ahonuimy friend.

Think about your purpose, concentrate on where you are now and not on what needs to be done next.  Look back at what you’ve achieved.  You will be surprised at how far you’ve actually come.  Every so often, I need to do this myself.  I grab my notebook and write down all that I’ve achieved, everything down to graduating from high school and reading in front the elementary school during the time I was going through speech therapy.

You’d be amazed and proud of what you accomplished.

Does this work for everyone?

I’m learning life is not absolute.

In Hawaii we have this simple saying, Ho’onalu - go with the flow.   It’s a mentality that others find as sign of weakness to be slow and ‘with the flow’.  It doesn’t work for everyone.  We are constantly told that in order to grow we much overstretch and get out of our comfort zone.  I believe that.  But there must be a balance.

If you are feeling frustrated or unsure on the big task or New Year resolution you made, thinking small may help you.

Continue dreaming BIG, but don’t be afraid to think small in order to achieve the dream.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu

Be Kū!

  • AnitaClarissa

    I really enjoyed this article because it seems to tune in with me in a holistic way. Thanks for posting.

  • Daniel Aipa

    Aloha Anita! Thank you for reading and Iʻm glad you found it helpful. A hui hou