Have you ever hesitated to start a project or pursue a goal because you just didn’t know where to begin? If so, you’re not alone.
When facing a large or unfamiliar pursuit, not knowing where to begin is one of the most common reasons for procrastination. The good news is, it’s also one of the easiest to overcome. Whether writing a book, starting a business, cleaning the basement, getting fit, or considering a career transition, you can really begin anywhere.
As “master rationalizers” (aka, humans), it’s easy to convince ourselves that there is one “right” way to do things when we are feeling prone to procrastination. While a specific step-by-step process may be the best way to ensure success when building a set of “do-it-yourself” bookshelves or end tables, most things in life can be successfully achieved by just diving in (and if you don’t believe me on the bookshelves, you haven’t built one :>).
We all have to begin somewhere. And one of the worst things we can do when starting something new is to compare ourselves to those who have come before us. For some reason, we assume that those who have “made it” had some kind of innate instinct or divine guidance. So, we convince ourselves that we don’t have what it takes and procrastinate, when in reality, all that we need to do is take the first step.
Diving in is one of the best ways to clarify direction and is also very effective in creating momentum. The tendency to stay “stuck” in our head analyzing options is another effective procrastination strategy. If you wait to begin until you have a perfect plan, chances are you’ll never start.
So, next time you find yourself putting something off because you aren’t certain where to begin, remember these tips:
- Avoid comparing. No one knows where to begin the first time they try something. Those people who have accomplished the goal you are after didn’t know where to start either. They simply dove in and figured in out as they went. Trust your resourcefulness!
- Beware of analysis paralysis. A little research can be useful, but only to a point. Once you have a general direction, take action! Even if it turns out not to be the best step, you are still moving, which is better than standing still.
- Stop talking about it. Consider this, “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.” (Karen Lamb). People tend to have more regrets about what they didn’t do, versus what they did do.
- Embrace mistakes. These are your guideposts. Obstacles inspire creativity and trip-ups are a sign you are making headway.
- Begin anywhere. “The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step” (Lao-tzu). As you take action, the path will reveal itself.
So, stop reaching for the stars and BECOME one. As always, comments on the blog are welcome.