We all have those one or two things we’ve been putting off for some time. I’m not talking about some small to-do list items; I mean those few things which would have a positive influence on our lives. So why do we never seem to be able to get started?
I was reading through my old articles recently and came across the very first one I ever wrote back on my first blog. There was some good stuff in there, so I decided to re-purpose it into the article you’re reading right now.
Back then, I’d just quit my job and was preparing to go backpacking through South-East Asia – right after launching the blog! It went against everything I had read about starting a blog and creating an audience online. I set everything up, ready to start writing and then hopped on a plane to the other side of the world sans articles.
And you know what? I don’t regret it for a second. Yes I could have timed things better, but the important thing is I got started. I had an idea, sat down and turned that idea into reality.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
I learned an important lesson in the process:
There will never be a perfect time in your life to start something.
Whether it’s quitting that job you hate, asking that girl out or getting serious about your health, sometimes you just have to suck it up, take a deep breath and get started.
How often do we hear those around us saying “I’ll start tomorrow”, “from Monday” or “in the new year”. While I appreciate people’s plans to change, the truth is those future start dates may never arrive. All we have is now, and nothing else.
THE F-WORD: WHY WE STRUGGLE TO GET STARTED
I’m fascinated by the psychology behind why different people think and act in a certain way, or in this case, fail to act. If we know we’re not where we want to be, why do we remain in the same place?
One of the biggest reasons is fear: fear of the unknown, failure, success or what those around us will say or think. We do whatever we can to avoid this and in the process become conditioned to stick to our comfort zones, never taking any risks.
We would rather get drunk every weekend than tell our friends that we want to get up early to work on a passion project. We would rather stick to a job we hate than lower our living expenses to pursue a dream job. We’d rather stay unhappy in our own bodies than be called “that healthy person” (seriously, how backwards is that).
The bottom line is this: no one is going to make the big decisions for you.
If you have a bigger vision for your life, it’s up to you to make it happen. Yes, you will make mistakes. That’s part of the deal. But what’s important is that get started, stay focused on that vision and get back up when you fall.
“The road to success is not a straight line. It is a clearly defined start and end point with a horrible squiggle in the middle.”
THE ANATOMY OF A DECISION
When it comes down to it, a decision is simply choosing one option over another. Everything we do in our daily lives is a decision. Write a chapter of your book or watch TV. Make a meal at home or go through the drive-through. Browse your news feed or read.
It’s not always going to be easy. Telling your boss you’re resigning without a plan B is intimidating. But this is simply fear trying to keep you in your comfort zone.
Then there’s the concern of making the ‘wrong’ decision. However, the only real ‘wrong’ decision is not making a decision at all. You will never know the outcome of a decision until you’ve made it. And even then, you have the ability to evaluate and course correct if necessary. The one certainty is that you will be closer to your goals than you were before.
SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
I want to challenge you to look at where you are in your life. Are you happy with your current situation? Are you on the path to becoming who you want to be? Are you stepping forward into growth or back into comfort? We are capable of so much more.
Just get started.
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