The Thousand Mile Journey

Reflections on Chapter 64 of the Tao Te Ching:

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

Things at rest are easy to maintain.
Problems not yet visible are easy to prevent.

Brittle things are easily broken.
Small things are easily lost.

Manage issues before they come into being.
Set things in order before the chaos begins.

Trees held in both arms begin as a seedling.
A nine story building begins as a heap of dirt.
A thousand mile journey begins with a step.

A woman of action spoils the moment.
A woman who grasps, loses.

Therefore, the sage takes no action and nothing is ruined.
The sage does not grasp and nothing is lost.

People nearing completion often fail.
Practice caution at the end as much as the beginning,
and there will be success.

The sage does not desire to collect rare treasures.
Nor does she desire to collect understanding,
thus she returns what has been lost.

The Ten Thousand things are gently guided
back to their true treasure,
while the sage remains still.

Everything starts small.

When you start small, you can accomplish anything. You just break it down into the smallest steps and you just get it done. That’s how it works. It is perfect for right now because everyone has their new year’s resolutions that they are working on.

Tiny Habits.

I found this website called, where BJ Fogg, the Director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University is offering a free five day email program to help you learn three tiny habits. He defines a tiny habit as something that fits the following criteria:

  • You can do it in 30 seconds or less
  • You do it at least once a day
  • It requires little effort

This means something very small.

I think that BJ Fogg is on the right track. He should know, he has made it his commitment to help people to learn to create tiny habits to move forward in their lives just like Lao Tzu is suggesting here. If you can make those little steps consistently, gradually you will find improvements in the big stuff.  You just have to keep working the little stuff. You can’t deal with things as they come up as an emergency. Of course, you have to deal with it but what you want to be doing is spending time on things that aren’t emergencies because if you can deal with them before they are emergencies, then they don’t end up being emergencies.

You just deal with it.

People get so hung up when they make a mistake. When you make a mistake, you just have to ride the mistake and keep going. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to just keep moving forward. That’s courage. If you get stopped along the way, don’t worry about it. You’re human. Humans get stopped along the way. That is what we do! We get stopped on every turn!

I love this tiny habit thing. It is 30 seconds. Some little thing that you can create in 30 seconds. What I did is I created a tiny thing that is attached to a bigger thing. A 30 second win. He also talks about celebrating your wins. If you are creating tiny habits, you have to celebrate your wins. You really just have to check it out… It’s just five days and it is free.

You can accomplish really big things.

You can accomplish really big things if you just take a tiny step toward it and consistently take tiny steps toward it. If you consistently do steps towards something that is big, you will get there. You don’t focus on getting the big thing done. Just focus on getting the little tiny things done, every day. Build habits on habits. If you have some good habits, what little things can you tack on after that which will help you develop a new habit?

Something to consider as we head into a new year.

I always feel like new years are like wiping the slate clean somehow. It’s all in the mind, of course, but it feels good. What is going to happen this year? I just bought the 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Calendar & Planner from Goddess Leonie. I was pleased to find that there was a Facebook group for other people who are using the calendar. If you want to buy yourself one and join us, here is an affiliate link I have for it… (I get paid if you buy it, but I am not recommending it because of that.)  I only like to recommend things I personally would enjoy and I have purchased this calendar and I think it is really beautiful and fun. My only negative is that it is online so you have to find a way to print it out yourself. But if you have a color printer, you can type your answers on the pretty pages and then fill it out so I guess it is fun to do that if you have access to a color printer, which I don’t. Still worth it though! She is an artist so the pages are beautiful and it is only ten bucks.  Check out the Create Your Incredible Year calendar here.



  1. I like the idea of small steps, plus the acceptance of mistakes and setbacks as just part of the process rather than the end of the process.

    Great post!

  2. didn’t know there was an FB group but I do have her planner but I didn’t print it because I don’t have a printer. I just resorted to typing my answers on the page. I love Taoism and eastern philosophy in general. And Lao Tzu’s famous one liner- A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.
    janet recently posted…Tips For Powerful ManifestingMy Profile

  3. Lovely post Amy. Thank you for sharing the website. I had not heard of them. So true every little step can make a huge difference in our lives. Thanks for sharing. xo
    Suzanne McRae recently posted…Remembering… Ice Storm of 1998My Profile

    • Yes, the guy who does it, BJ Fogg is very responsive. The great thing about it is how impactful it is for such a tiny thing. The project takes no time at all to do, but can change your life.

  4. Amy, I’m going to check out the tiny habits. I have a question on the Goddess Leonie’s planner. I’ll email you on that. Happy New Year and thank you for sharing. It’s only through sharing that we can really help others..both with our resources and our thoughts and ideas!
    Karen Stout recently posted…Actions Speak Louder than WordsMy Profile

  5. Amy, I’ve worked with the concept of tiny changes, i.e., committing to 5 minutes of looking at a new way of eating. 5 minutes is manageable, and it often leads to more minutes and understanding how to build the support into my environment and life. I am making changes, including–wow! Universe supports!–a sudden opportunity to have my kitchen cupboards painted. Thank you for another thoughtful, practical post.
    Janet recently posted…GratitudeMy Profile

  6. Breaking down anything is so powerful and really makes a difference. I’ll have to check out the site you mentioned here. Sounds like a good one!
    Michele Bergh recently posted…The Eight Irresistible Principles of FunMy Profile

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