Updated: Oct 16, 2022
That first step can be the hardest, especially if it's beyond our comfort zone. Procrastination, indecision, fear and over thinking can zap our energy before we even get started.
Faith is taking that first step even if you don't see the whole staircase. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Think of the projects, goals, or items on your bucket list that have been languishing in the back of your mind for years and even decades. How much time and energy do we give to THINKING about getting started? How much time and energy do we give to IGNORING our bucket list? (The act of ignoring does take energy, subconscious energy.)
What are the reasons for not taking that first step? Do we even know? Can we identify what they are? Below are the frequent fliers that usually are the culprits.
Negative self-talk - Our mind tells us we are not smart enough, talented enough or worthy enough to accomplish our dreams or goals. It tells us we're too old, too young, too shy, too ugly, too slow or too lazy. It tells us it's too late, too soon, too big, too hard, or too overwhelming. The negative self-talk is endless and ruthless. Our mind judges us before we even get started. The belief in ourselves can be dismal.
"Lack of time" - We tell ourselves we don't have time to work on our goal(s). Lack of time, most often, is all about perception and denial. We "perceive" we have no time in our daily/weekly routine but in actuality we probably do. We feel 'busy' from dawn to dusk. But is that busyness productive, an exaggeration or just avoidance?
Blame game - We feel that our dream depends upon X happening (or not happening). X could be a person, a thing, an event or experience. We can wait most of our lives for X to happen. And if it does happen we find another reason to procrastinate.
Fear - This is the #1 cause for not fulfilling our dreams, our bucket list. We are fearful of failure. We are fearful of going outside our comfort zone. What will people think? How will I show my face again if I fail? What if I lose money, what if I can't finish what I started, what if, what if, what if..... Our mind creates a multitude of worse case scenarios, supporting our decision to delay once again our goals and dreams.
Intuition is important here. There may be instances where your intuition is telling you not to proceed with that first step. It's important to know the difference between your intuition and the fake stories your mind manufactures. Listen to your body for signs that it should be a no-go. Butterflies are good but anything more than that is your intuition. Intuition is what keeps us safe from danger or away from something that won't serve us.
Let's say you've always wanted to run a marathon. The thought of running 26 miles is very overwhelming but it is something that you've always wanted to do. You justify your delay on the reasons below.
Negative self-talk - Your mind/ego tells you that you are lazy and you don't have the discipline, dedication and stamina to train and complete the marathon. And you have bad knees.
"Lack of Time" - Your schedule is so busy with raising kids, working and taking care of your house that you tell yourself that there is no way you have the time to train.
Blame Game - If your spouse didn't work so many hours you would have some free time to train. Your too busy holding down the fort. Who would take care of the kids, do the laundry, clean the house, get the kids to soccer practice, etc... etc...
Fear - What if I hurt myself? What if I can't be a success at it? What if I have to drop out halfway through the marathon? What if I puke or pass out during or after the race. I'll be a laughing stock to my friends and family.
These are good reasons, right? Not!
When there's a will there's way.
You are not expected to run all 26 miles your first week or even 1 mile if you've never jogged before. The solution for reaching any goal is BABY STEPS.
If we take ONE baby step at a time, then all of those reasons or excuses no longer exist. If we are looking at only each step in the process, we CAN believe in ourselves, we DO have time, we DON'T have anyone to blame, and we DON'T have anything to fear.
In this example, the first step can be a short 5 minute walk with maybe 1 minute of jogging. Or you can google 'How To Train for a Marathon' and get some information. What about joining a Facebook private group for joggers or following a marathon influencer on Instagram? How hard, scary, and time consuming is that? Not! And there is no chance of failure. No worries, right?
I talk a lot about mindfulness, i.e. being in the moment. Being mindful in the moment is like taking baby steps. You are so focused on that one small moment or thing that you can't help but feel happy, positive, accomplished and at peace.
Every goal can be broken down into baby steps. We don't have to MAP out the whole trip at first but at least figure out what that first step should be. When you have accomplished or mastered that first step, move onto the second step and so on. Olympic swimmers, gymnasts, and skiers were not born experts. They all took that first step and then the next and then the next. When you reach the finish line you'll be amazed at how much easier it was then you imagined.
So the next time you go into your tail spin of procrastination, indecision, overthinking and fear, remind yourself that you just need to take that first baby step and then another and then another. If it's really what you WANT to accomplish and it's meant to be, you will get to where you're
going with consistency and dedication.