At a recent talk for high school girls hosted by Girls Write Now, I heard a senior editor at Seventeen magazine speak about her struggles with writing early in her career. Faced with a boss who was not supportive of her writing, shaking her confidence, her personal mantra became: Do one thing a day toward your goal or dream, particularly when you’re feeling stuck. By the end of the year you’ll have moved yourself so far along, you won’t even have realized it.

I like this idea because it alleviates the overwhelming sense of having to do everything at once and reminds us that it’s often the small, patient steps that get us closer to our dreams.

I recommend brainstorming a list of “one thing a day” actions and then using this list as a guide when you are thinking about that one action you will take on any given day. Here are some ideas for those looking to advance their dream careers:

  • Contact someone you’ve been meaning to be in touch with.
  • Sign up for a job website and have postings emailed to you daily.
  • Update your Linked In profile and add one or two people.
  • Research a professional association in your field of interest and join.
  • Email one of your mentors and schedule coffee together.
  • Clear a pile of papers on your desk related to career/job searching.
  • Attend a networking meeting.
  • Journal about your dream job.
  • Do that one thing you’ve been meaning to do!

I’ve recently begun to test this out and have found it helps me move forward on things that I’ve been thinking about but never seem to get around to doing. When I decide to do just one thing a day (and sometimes more than one thing) related to my career, it usually takes very little time and the results are fairly immediate.

It’s the small steps that open the door to our future.

I’d be glad to have suggestions for other “one thing a day” actions that you recommend.