“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Confucius (Chinese philosopher)
Zorro is a popular fictional character, known for fighting villains and making a signature “Z” with his sword. Yet, Zorro didn’t start out as the smooth and confident hero we know him to be. A wise training master taught Zorro to develop his skills by drawing a circle in the sand around himself, and practice his sword fighting only within that circle until he was proficient. In the same way, we can make small circles with our mind and pen, to successfully accomplish goals by breaking them into small steps. Small successes can add up to major achievements—and it starts with drawing that first circle in the sand.
Often we set big goals, like New Year’s resolutions, which are very hard to meet, like “I will lose 5 pounds in one month” or “I will read all of the great novels this year.” The vastness of these goals can feel paralyzing. By breaking big goals down into smaller, realistic steps, it becomes easier to succeed. This helps us build our confidence, celebrate forward progress and keeps us committed to the task at hand.
Here are some examples of starting small and working to large accomplishments:
Goal: I want to clean and update my living room.
Goal: I want to be happier and have more fun.
- Begin with the bookshelf, sorting and clearing one shelf each day.
- Clear and clean the cabinet, sorting and clearing one drawer each day.
- Choose which furniture I no longer want, and call Goodwill for donation pick up.
- Pick out accessible, comfortable furniture that fits my budget and have it delivered.
- Write down fun activities you’ve done or would like to try - adapting to current needs.
- Talk the list through with a friend.
- Select 15 minute daily activities you can do alone or with a friend or loved one; make a plan and schedule the activities.
- Pick one or two larger activities/outings, and make a plan to do them weekly or monthly.
Use this worksheet
to apply the Zorro Circle concept and increase success.