One Step At The Time

When the world-renowned ultramarathon champion Scott Jurek ran the Appalachian Trail, a trail that passes through 14 states in the United States and covers 2189 miles, in 46 days 8 hours and 7 minutes he set a new record.

He was asked how he accomplished the goal, and he said that he did it by putting one foot in front of the other at a time. There is no shortcut to running 2189 miles other than to run one step at a time.

“A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With One Step.” Lao Tzu

“A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With  One Step.” Lao Tzu

We often hear people quote one of the most famous dialogues from Creed, the Sylvester Stallon / Rocky movie, – One step at a time, One punch at a time, One round at a time. In the movie, this mantra helps Adonis Johnson win his boxing title. He practices the moves over and over again, repeating this dialogue in his head.

We can hear this simple yet powerful statement repeated by so many great achievers. Each of them gets through their struggles and difficulties by tackling one thing at a time.

Reading one word at a time, one paragraph at a time, one page at a time, one chapter at a time, we can read a whole book. The exact same philosophy can help us read 10 books, 50 books, and 100 books.

All of us love the sweaters that our loved ones have knit for us. How does a yarn of thread become that beautiful, cozy and comfortable sweater that keeps us warm? The answer is simple – One stitch at a time!

One Step At A Time Meaning

Literally, one step is all we can take at a time. The length of our stride and the pace of our steps may vary. These steps eventually lead us to the place that we want to reach. No matter how near or far our destination is, we can only take one step at one time.

All of us want to lead a life of accomplishments. We have purposes in life to be met, and goals to be achieved. The big plans and long list of things to be done can sometimes get overwhelming.

The distance to be covered and the total steps to be taken has dissuaded so many people from starting the journey and from dreaming big.

The only way to calm our nerves and stay focused is to look at one step at a time. Like Martin Luther King said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take one step.” This can help us achieve our goals.

Management gurus have time and again told us about how they cannot stress enough the importance of short-term goals.

An organization may have a fantastic vision, a unique mission statement, and a smart team in place. But unless they have their short-term goals and daily targets chalked out, the vision will remain only in papers.

They will never become a reality. It is the sum total of the daily efforts of every member of an organization that leads to the fulfillment of its objectives.

The meaning being, the synergy of every person’s every step is what leads to the success of a team and an organization.

Action Steps

The specific effort taken to achieve a certain goal is an action step. There will be multiple action steps that have to be taken in order to achieve a bigger task.

Each of these action steps has to be carefully planned by working backward from the final goal.

These are called action steps because they call for action, one step at a time.

It is well understood that taking big tasks, complex ideas, or big concepts, breaking them down into much more manageable tasks or steps, and along the way making marginal improvement to the process, ups the odds of success in our favor.

Let us think about the big ambitious goals that we put aside thinking it is unachievable. People who have achieved these goals say that we can achieve them by making marginal adjustments to our daily routine.

Every tiny step that we take is a tiny little decision that we make corrections along the way in order to achieve the ambitious goal or ultimate outcome. The decision can be as simple as turning off the social media notification or putting on the running shoes.

What follows is the next logical action step and that can change the course of our action.

The criteria for action steps is that they have to finally lead to the bigger goal or objective. By taking each of the action steps, we reach the final objective. The line of sight to the bigger goal is necessary for each of these action steps.

Plan Of Action

When we set out on a journey, we mark the route on a map. We follow the directions and decide the pit stops. With each landmark that we cross on a map, we get one step closer to our destination. Similarly, we get closer to our goal with each action step on our plan of action.

A systematic proven method of making action plans sets aside those who are successful in achieving goals and those who are not.

The success of a plan and achievement of a goal depends on the quality of the actionable steps that we list down. Once the steps are listed, the next most important step is to get started.

Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

How do we start? We always start with one step at a time.

Bridging the gap between where we are and where we want to be is important and that is taken care of by the plan of action.

Knowing what we want is very important. How do we decide the route if we do not know where we want to go?

Fear of failure sometimes prevents us from setting clear goals.

Writing down the goals is considered the first step towards the achievement of the goals.

How simple is that! Write down in clear, exact words what we want to achieve. Having a target time within which we want to achieve the goal is also helpful.

Each minute spent on planning is supposed to save us ten minutes on the actual execution of the plan.

How To Focus On One Thing At A Time

When we focus the lens of the camera on a particular object, the photograph of that object turns out to be clear and candid. The foreground or the background doesn’t take away the beauty of the picture.

When we try to capture everything at once, we cannot do justice to the intricate details of any particular object in the photograph.

Similarly, in our lives, nothing much happens without focus. When we try to do everything at once, we fail. Taking one step at a time and focusing on that one step is a much better habit to develop.

When there are a lot of things on our plate if we try to give attention to each of those things we may end up not doing anything well. The end result is often mediocre and below average.

By focusing on one thing at a time, we make progress on that one thing and according to research, the progress made on one thing every single day makes a person feel in control, happy and successful.

Every seed that has been planted needs to be watered, nurtured, and taken care of. That is what gives us good yielding plants in return.

The magic of persistent, determined, committed, passionate practice, hard work, and focus gets manifested over a period of time.

A great player is born by the player focusing on one game at a time, one practice session at a time. A player cannot be playing in the National Basketball League, International Cricket, and the FIFA World Cup. He has to choose one sport and focus on that for his entire life. That is what makes him a world-class player.

Doing One Thing At A Time

Our human brain can only concentrate or focus on only one thing at a time. It can either listen or think, read or write, understand or talk. By trying to do more than one thing, we end up not doing either of them well.

Multitasking soon becomes nothing more than a distraction and a recipe for disaster.

A lot of new year resolutions fail because people make so many resolutions and try to start everything on the first of January. Going to the gym, starting a new hobby lesson, spending more time with the family, cooking more healthy meals at home, we try to change every aspect of our life in a single day.

We soon burn out and lose focus. The failure to accomplish one of the goals disheartens us and soon every resolution is dropped and deemed as unachievable.

If only the focus was on doing one thing at a time and seeing the improvement in that one thing, the entire plan could have been met.

The success of achieving one thing would have motivated the person to work harder on the next activity.

Success leads to more success.

The belief that by doing one thing at a time, every goal can be achieved, results in the person taking bigger and better goals and achieving them too. How else can we explain the fact there are very few super successful people in the world.

Just like Scott Jurek and every other person who ran thousands of miles by putting just one step in front of the other, we can all achieve whatever we want by focusing on and doing just one thing at a time.

One Day At A Time Sweet Jesus

Yes, there is a Christian song one day. It is ‘One Day At A Time Sweet Jesus’!

It is a Christian song written by Kris Kristofferson and Marijohn Wilkin. And it was composed in the style of Country and Western. And it was first recorded in 1974.

Most notably, over 200 artists have recorded this song. Also, it has been a number 1 hit in many musical regions.

One Day At A Time Sweet Jesus Lyrics

I’m only human
I’m just a woman
Help me believe in what I could be
And all that I am


Oh, show me the stairway
I have to climb
Lord, for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time


One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking of You
Just give me the strength to do every day
What I have to do


Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord help me today
Show me the way
One day at a time


Do you remember
When You walked among men
Well, Jesus, You know
If You’re looking below
That it’s worse now than then


Oh, there’s pushing and shoving
And it’s crowding my mind
So, Lord, for my sake
Teach me to take
One day at a time


One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking of You
Just give me the strength to do every day
What I have to do


Oh, yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord help me today
Show me the way
One day at a time

One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m asking of You
Just give me the strength to do every day
What I have to do


Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord help me today
Show me the way
One day at a time


Lord, help me today
Show me the way
One day at a time
One day at a time

Contributors: Kazim Abasali & Deepa Kadavakat