In order to get anywhere in life we have to act. We have to put one foot in front of the other to walk down the street and we are ultimately incurring risk each time we act. So why is it that so many people have issues getting started at anything? And even when they do get started why does it peter out only a few months in? I have definitely been one of those people, and I am by no means cured of these issues but I have started to become aware enough of why and when it happens to me to share. Like most things in this blog I was so smart I got to learn the experiential way (ie. I fell flat on my face a whole bunch of times, failed miserably, wallowed for a bit and then decided finally to get up and do something myself about my situation) how to get over my own bullshit.
That is the real conversation here, it is not so much how to move to action, but how to wade through our brain full of muck trying to slow us down. What is it that brings us to decide we have to do something about a situation to then with all the fervor of a sloth sit back down on the couch and say we will start tomorrow, or Monday. I cannot think of a sentence that has killed more dreams in less time than “I will start (insert moment that never comes here)”.
For me one of the main reasons I struggled to start anything was the fear of rejection, of how others would perceive me because I knew inherently that I wouldn’t be good at said thing I was going to start. I am the best example here as I literally am typing a blog post for a blog that I paid for the domain over a year ago. So if you have listened to anything in the personal development realm, especially of the fiery get off your ass type that we all love so much when we are actually procrastinating what we should be doing, you have probably heard someone say in so many words “You need to take MASSIVE IMMEDIATE action”. Yes I capitalized those on purpose because that is usually the point where said motivational talking head starts yelling and may or may not spit a little they are so fired up. Now this sentence is something I believe in whole heartedly but is also the sentence that has caused me the most anxiety in my life.
I do not know of a more overwhelming thing to think of when you want to start with than massive and immediate. Like basically if you want to start a business it feels like you should quit your job, never mind quit just don’t show up tomorrow, take out a loan, hit the registries to start a corporation and announce to the world that your IPO will be in 3 months. Just writing that stressed me out. I am sure at this point you aren’t really feeling like I was honest when I said I whole heartedly agreed with the statement.
So let me explain to you how I finally internalized this after having it beaten into my brain by every book, podcast host and speaker I listened to. And this is where I think the industry as a whole does a disservice to people. They spend a lot of time spitting incredible audio bites, fiery quotes and awesome speeches but for the majority of them in some way shape or form they are working to sell you something as well. Whether it be courses, coaching or masterminds they all have an offer. Now don’t get me wrong I believe that most of these people truly care, want to make a difference and do. They just adjust their free content to push you to their paid content and they don’t always explain it as well as they could. That being said I can also appreciate that “take small, incremental steps everyday while forgetting about the outcome” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue or work for clickbait quite as well as massive immediate action.
Ok lets get off of my diatribe here and back onto hopefully why you are reading this. How the hell do I start and stay in it long enough to reap the rewards. Well I did allude to it at the end of the last paragraph. It sounds a lot less sexy but this is how I have adjusted it in my tiny brain. I do what has worked for me which is to follow a model laid out in Atomic Habits by James Clear. You have to start smaller, much smaller than you actually realize. The massive part is getting over the hurdle of starting. We have all heard the phrase a journey of 1000 miles starts with just one step, what we don’t discuss is that not every step is of equal difficulty, usually the first one is next to impossible because you have no inertia. So create some inertia. If you want to be or do anything what is the smallest possible thing you could do right now to start said thing? Stop reading this and go do it. Go! Right fucking now! Want to be a runner, tie your shoes and just take one step out the door. That is all I interpret it as and honestly it is more than anyone who has ever talked about doing anything but never done anything about it has ever done, which makes it massive by association.
The part that I think doesn’t get discussed because it is even less sexy is the do it everyday part. I know there are people out there with great habits they do 3 times a week, but I guarantee if you talked with them for a few minutes they weren’t making the progress they would like or it is something they have done since they were children when habits are much easier to engrain. This is why I believe it has to be so much smaller than most peoples ego’s are willing to let them go, because you need to be able to do it every single day no matter what gets in the way. You have to be willing to play the long game, while abstracting yourself from the results and getting truly into the process. The process must become your results. Checking the box of being the type of person who does the shit you want to do is much more important than trying to get to your end game faster.