The first steps are the hardest
I achieved my first goal, which was to start this blog.
It seems like such a simple thing, an easy thing, but it wasn't. Starting a blog had been something i'd thought about for a while, but i never felt like I had anything of value to say, or that people would want to read. My insecurity kept me from contributing. The hardest part of it wasn't writing the piece, or even publishing it; the hardest part was committing to it. Just building the tab on my website and saying "This is my blog" was 10 times harder than actually writing the post. Putting myself out there was a risk, because it invited failure.
This is really the essence behind why it is so hard to create new habits in the first place. To be an active participant in your life and make changes requires commitment. To commit means to risk failing. And failure, is scary.
But like most things that we are afraid of, the anticipation is worse than the reality. Whatever your goal is, it's infinitely more difficult in your mind because rather than experiencing a setback or obstacle, you see all of them at once. You become deflated and lose steam before you even begin.
We're just a couple of months out from the new year now, and many of us made and then broken promises to ourselves. We had some idea, a longing to change something about ourselves, and may have even had a plan (no sugar; start exercising; read more; etc) but we never really took that real and tangible first step. We never bought the gym membership, or we didn't throw out the cookies in the cupboard. We didn't actually move forward. We just thought about it.
This is what this blog is, for me, a first step.
What is a first step? Definitively it is creating motion where there wasn't any. When you are standing, and you move your leg forward to step down, your body doesn't stay where it is; it follows that first foot. As your weight shifts it makes bringing the second foot along easier. As your steps increase, your inertia keeps you moving forward and (hopefully) it gets easier and easier.
So think about the one thing that you really want to do; that singular thing that has been on your mind that you keep putting off. Whatever that thing is, think about what the first thing is you need to do to start it. Not what the perfect circumstance would be, or all the things that "everyone else has", but what do you need, right now, this very minute, to start.?
Exercise is a good illustration because for so many people the idea of "working out" becomes this concept that seems so daunting. We picture having to find a gym, and then we have to pay the membership, and buy the right shoes and pants and shirts and we have to schedule an hour everyday to do it and then another 30 minutes or so to take a shower and that's not even considering what we have to do at the gym! We have to find a routine. What's right? What's wrong? And even all of this isn't even considering our own insecurity about doing it in the first place!
This thing we want to do becomes a huge beast that we can't even fathom, much less accomplish.
But the reality is...we don't need any of that stuff. Sure, eventually you may want to get better shoes or clothes or find a gym. But right now, in this moment, all you need to do is go take a walk. 5 minutes. Just walk. Outside, down the hall at work, up the stairs; anything as long as you're moving. Do some push-ups. Or squats or jumping jacks! If even that seems like too much... stand in place and swing your arms about for a few minutes.
None of these things require equipment. You can wear shoes if you want or you can do them barefoot. You can do almost all of them RIGHT NOW if you have 5 minutes. Or 3 minutes or 1 minute. It really isn't about what you do at this point, it's just about doing something.
No matter what your goal is, if you've been putting it off because of ______________, then you can approach it in the same way as the exercise goal. Just figure out what the simplest thing about _______ is, that you can do right now, and start in whatever way you can. The rest will follow. Once you've taken that first step and begun the process, the rest doesn't even matter. It's just that first step. It's putting yourself out there. It's stretching yourself. It is giving yourself purpose.
It is moving forward...