Getting Started

“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You know what you want to accomplish in 2009. You have goals set, ideas ready for action, stories to be written, rooms to be redecorated, a new fitness plan. So what’s stopping you?

If you’re like me, you know that the hardest part about accomplishing  anything  in life is simply getting started. It’s true in the little things, like refusing to hit the snooze button one more time and actuually getting out of bed.  And it’s true of the bigger things, like changing career directions, or pursuing a new hobby or interest.

I recently heard a sermon about this subject, where a story was relayed about man who decided to build a house on his property. As he was preparing the soil for laying the foundation, his neighbor came up to him, and inquired as to what he was doing.

“I’m building a house ,” replied the man.

“Congratulations,” said his neighbor, eyeing the freshly prepared ground. “You’re 80% done.”

Getting started on anything requires a change from inaction to action. And just like you may have needed to get your old clunker car started by pushing it downhill, the initial “push” requires most of the effort. Once the wheels begin turning, inertia is broken and your goals start rolling along. 

Here are 5 questions to ponder that will help you get started on whatever it is you’ve been putting off:

  1. How badly do I want it? 

    This is a time to be honest with yourself, especially if the change you seek requires significant commitment and hard work. I’ve met so many people who say, “I’d love to write a novel someday,” as if they are talking about visiting a foreign country. They really don’t want to write a novel; they want the distinction of being a novelist. Weigh the cost. Decide how badly you want to accomplish something. Then commit yourself to it. As Cher said, “If you really want something you can figure out how to make it happen.” But don’t over-think, or you will fall into the trap of “analysis paralysis,” always finding practical reasons for delaying your dreams.

  2. What am I afraid of?

    Obama won the presidential campaign on the theme of “change,” but in reality, most people are fearful of making major changes in their lives. Take time to write down exactly what your fears are regarding change. Is it financial risk? Is it your reputation? Failure? Not believing you have what it takes? Write down the worst thing that could possibly happen if you fail. Then write down the good things that could happen. Face your fear and turn it on its head. As Dr. Edwin Land said, “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”

  3. Where do I want to be one year from now? 6 months? 3 months?

    Visualize what you want to accomplish, both in the long-term and short-term.  You may find as you pursue your ideas that the actual doing takes much more time and effort, so be flexible. But have a destination. “Dream big!” as Jean Driscoll, eight time wheelchair race winner of the Boston Marathon, Olympic Silver Medal, professional athlete, told me once. Reach higher, farther. Believe that you can achieve more. Setting high goals generates enthusiasm for life. There is intrinsic value in dreaming big dreams, and then going for them.

  4. What small steps can I do today that will move me in the direction of my goals?

    Goals are dreams with an action plan. You will need to set priorities, defining what specific actions will best help you achieve your goals, then come up with a plan. But remember: Any step toward your goal is a good one, if it actually requires you to step out of analyzing and into realizing. If you want to be a freelance writer, by all means, research the steps it takes to get published. But don’t forget to write first. My first published article came, not as an assignment, but as an idea that I had turned into a finished piece before I had even considered selling it.

  5. Who do I know that can help me achieve my goals?

    Sometimes we have lofty goals or ideas, and we have this notion that it’s our idea, and we must make it happen on our own. Ridiculous. If your dream is to run a marathon, you don’t need to – nor should you – trod all those training miles alone. Find people that have achieved what you want to, and learn from them. Find other individuals who share your passion, and train with them. Hire a personal trainer if that’s what’s going to keep you motivated. In short, reach out and get other people’s support. You may be amazed at what opportunities can come up just by sharing your goal with others.

 
Now it’s time to get started, so do it! Decide what you really want, be willing to take chances, dream big, take small steps to reach your goals, and enlist others to support you. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish - if only you start.

What do you want to accomplish in 2009? Let me know and leave a comment!

About the Author

Trish

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