Just get started…

In previous posts I’ve written about a burning desire to achieve ( link here – ‘the importance of trying to maintain a positive outlook ) and thinking about what I want from life and how to achieve my objectives ( link here – ‘taking ownership’ ) and these are themes which I find myself considering more and more with each passing day.

My ‘to-do’ list is huge. Some are small-scale tasks which will be quick to complete whilst some are quite lofty ambitions which will take a considerable amount of time to address. I clearly need to prioritise, and I do feel I am getting better at that, though I’ve always found that for some reason, be it fear, anxiousness or just plan laziness, getting started on those more significant tasks is far more difficult than getting stuck into the smaller entries on that list.

The one lofty ambition I have certainly addressed this year is starting this blog. Thinking back, and when consdiering the excuses noted above, I’m pretty sure it was fear which caused me to put it off for so long (I had the idea in my mind for around 12-18 months before actually starting this…), primarily the fear of sharing such personal detail and especially the fear of how people would react. I can distinctly remember that the hardest parts were beginning to write the first post and actually publishing it.

That, for me, is the biggest obstacle in getting things done – simply getting started. I’m sure most, if not all of us, find this in everyday life? We know there’s a need to get a little fitter but pulling on a pair of trainers and going for the first run, even if it’s only down the road and back, isn’t easy to do. We know there’s a need to eat a little healthier but sourcing new recipes, buying new ingredients and taking the time to learn new cooking methods isn’t easy to do, especially when we can revert back to the meals we’ve cooked on autopilot for years. We know there’s a need to cut down our time glued to phones and tablets but that is really difficult to do, especially when it’s so easy to just collapse on the couch after a tiring day at work and scroll through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, especially when everyone else in the house is doing the same and there seems little point in upsetting the apple cart by suggesting we do something different.

But what if it were different? What if we all stopped, just for a couple of minutes, and considered what might be possible if we take that first step (which often seems more like a gigantic leap)? I’m not necessarily thinking about ‘doing a Greta Thunberg’ here and trying to change the world. It could be the smallest of goals that we aim to achieve – what might happen if we just take an initial 10-15 minutes to get going and see where it leads.

You want to run? Start by simply pulling on some appropriate running clothes and trainers to remember how it feels to prepare for exercise. Perhaps take a brief walk down the street and back to begin to form a potential running route in your mind.

You’ve always harboured a desire to draw / paint? Don’t buy expensive materials at the start. Simply pick up a pencil and draw something on the back of a scrap piece of paper and see what happens. Perhaps refer to a YouTube tutorial video for inspiration. See how it feels. Repeat the next night and if it feels good, take gradual steps; buy a sketch pad, some cheap pencils or paints and keep at it.

You have a subject which you feel really passionate about and you think it may be time for others to know how you feel? Write an initial paragraph or two and let people see it. You don’t need a website from day one (despite it being very easy to set them up these days). Post your thoughts on Facebook / Twitter or any other suitable platform. Think about how sharing the detail makes you feel. See what the response is but don’t let that determine whether or not you continue – quite often, getting responses and building up a following takes time (a significant amount of time according to people who have conducted research into this). But if it feels good and right, continue. Write more; set out a basic plan of what you intend writing about; host your own blog on the internet. See where it takes you.

Whatever it is you’d like to do, that first step is always the hardest but it is the most important. Setting the wheels in motion is essential. As something of a perfectionist, one thing I found difficult to deal with in the early days was striving for perfection. Plot spoiler – it is highly unlikely that you will ever achieve absolute perfection, especially during those initial stages. It may be a struggle for those of you who are like me but fight that and don’t let it influence you. Getting started and doing something flawed and imperfect, whether it’s writing, cooking, vlogging, drawing, exercising, a DIY project, dancing, singing, photography, cake making, or anything else, is way more important than striving for perfection, planning to the Nth degree and trying to develop a perfect starting scenario which will only ever exist in your mind.

Take that first step.

Address the smallest of actions initially.

See how you feel.

If it feels good, do some more.

You never know where it might lead.

You never will unless you just get started…

Thanks for reading and take care.

Mick

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