What does Getting Started mean? It means not putting off what you need to do today to realise your dreams in the future. It means taking action.
One big challenge with making changes in your life is that sometimes getting started is so darn hard. In fact, many people never seem to be able to get started.
Many of us have dreams, but sadly very few of us take action to realise our dreams. Rather than getting started, we fail to plan, or we fail to execute our plan.
You might say to yourself that there is never the right time to do this.
And sometimes that is true, but most of the time we are just postponing getting started for some reason. We call that procrastinating.
Admittedly, there is often quite a lot of inner resistance when trying to make changes. And that is why developing the skill of getting started is so valuable.
The fundamental step in getting started is understanding what your dreams are. Then from that foundation, you need to form a plan that has good possibilities of realising your dreams.
Realise Your Dreams
Sometimes what sounds easy is hard to accomplish. And if you are like most people and have trouble getting started, here are some tips that will help with the process. The intention is that you find them helpful.
And we will start you thinking about what you want to do with your life by asking you three questions:
- What are your dreams?
- Better still, what are your daydreams?
- What is it that you start to think about doing when your mind wanders off?
Your answers to these three questions are going to be a good start on what you want out of your life.
Follow Your Heart
Sometimes we get started because our heart is not in it. Imagine that you set a goal, but it isn’t truly your goal, then, I am sure you will agree that it will be hard to even get started let alone achieve that goal.
If you realise that it is not your goal but a goal set by people around you then, when possible, eliminate the goal and set a few goals, you would like to achieve.
We can have goals set for us by parents, teachers, bosses or even society in general.
Alternatively, find your own motivation and reasons for achieving that goal. This could put the goal that the people around you have set in a different light. And suddenly you will feel a whole lot more motivated to get started.
Getting Started Tip #1
Time to start framing your dreams in more concrete terms. Specifically, we need to move from our dreams to an actionable plan to realise them.
So instead of imagining what it would be like if you were working on your dreams, focus on the tasks and goals that you believe can get you there.
You don’t have to start them at this point. But think about the steps you will need to take.
The problems and downsides we imagine before getting started often exist only in our heads. They are a bunch of opinions or excuses based on something you heard from someone else at one time or another.
So why not do a bit of research on your own instead. If you don’t like to read books, then do some Googling. Or find who have actually been where you want to go and ask them questions.
When you do that bit of research, you will often reduce your anxieties and inner resistance and anxieties. And you will find more positive benefits to getting started.
So, you have done your research and know a lot more about the road towards achieving it, now is the perfect time to create your plan.
When creating your plan, write down when you have to do this. Think of that as your deadline. Setting a deadline can also help to calm you down.
It tends to lessen the fear and fuzzy anxiety that can hold you back from taking action and getting started.
When you have a clearer image of what you can do and how you should go about it, then you make a large chunk of your negative feelings less powerful.
Getting Started Tip #2
Time to stop putting off those little tasks. You know those tasks that you keep putting on the back burner with the intention that you will get to them at a later date. But, you never do.
When you start the process of doing the little tasks, you are setting up your mindset to accomplish goals, no matter how small. And that habit comes in handy when you tackle your bigger goals.
Are sitting around and procrastinating day in and day out? Then you need to stop over-thinking things. Procrastination is your mechanism to deal with stress. Time to shut off your brain.
Get dressed, sit down at the phone, laptop or wherever you need to be and just do it.
Just Do It
When your feelings and thoughts are continually holding you back, then you just need to stop listening to them and take action.
This is easy to say of course. It is harder to do and to develop it into a consistent habit. But it is possible.
Thinking most definitely has its place, but thinking is not taking action.
No matter how much thinking you do, you will still need to take action to achieve your goals.
Developing a just do it mindset will make taking action much easier. And it will stop you from wasting a lot of time going over different negative scenarios over and over in your head.
The art of getting started becomes more natural if you have a small list of positive benefits. These can be in your head or better yet on a piece of paper. Especially when your thoughts and feelings want to hold you back.
This list of benefits provides the reasons why you should get going even if you don’t feel like it. And is essential to counter the self-defeating and negative thoughts and feelings that you might have at that moment.
Can you recall a time in the past when you at first felt hesitant? If you think back to those times, you may remember that those negative feelings can be replaced pretty quickly with more positive ones.
And remember how happy you were that you got started. If it happened before then, chances are that the same thing will happen this time too.
If you just need a boost in motivation to try out something new, for example heading down the gym for the first time, there are a bunch of techniques you can use. Some of my favourites are guided meditation CDs, changing your physiology to change how you feel and listening to inspirational music or watching inspirational videos.
Getting Started Tip #3
Time to find people who share your vision. Get them on board. People who are experienced in what you are trying to accomplish can give you a good start and can help guide you along the way.
Find people who will serve as accountability partners. These people share similar goals and dreams as you and the group can keep each other on track.
You help to motivate each other to get going and maintain that habit. You should discuss what goals you want to accomplish as a group. Then, map out the tasks that it will take with milestones.
If you can get together when the milestones hit, that would be beneficial. However, if you don’t have the time, you can use instant messaging online.
Make rules for the team so that everyone participates and let go of people who don’t take it seriously. Try to keep the group small, maybe two or three people.
For instance, you may find a buddy (sounds nicer than accountability partner) who also wants to start working out in a gym.
But don’t let the lack of an accountability partner stand in your way. It is easy to let this become an excuse.
You can find that motivation you need from others in other places. Why not join an online group or forum to find the support and help you may need. If it is exercise you want to start, then ParkRun is fantastic.
Alternatively, you can start reading workout blogs to get involved in that community. Or you might even start a blog of your own and chart your journey.
Getting Started Tip #4
Sometimes, you hold back on getting started because you don’t have the right skills. Find courses on those skills and begin training.
The web has made self-training much more comfortable, and you can explore this avenue further. Try to create a budget that allows for training.
Getting Started Tip #5
Conversely, don’t overtrain. You will never feel truly ready when trying out something that isn’t known.
Therefore, you need to try it even when you feel there is more to learn. People learn much with experience. This can never be replaced by the training you receive.
You don’t have to overcomplicate things. If you do there is a more significant chance that you’ll give up before what you started before you repeat it enough, so it becomes a habit.
Simplicity Is Key
The more simple it is, the greater the likelihood it will get done. If you make it easier on yourself, then you make it easier for you to get started.
Thinking of buying an expensive gym membership that is located 15 minutes away from your work to improve your anaerobic capacity? Why not invest in a decent pair of trainers and start walking.
And start walking or jogging while listening to music that you like. Make the whole experience simple and more enjoyable.
Commit to regular training every week. This can be online training, or you can find a physical location that specialises in the areas you want to learn.
It’s better to learn in small chunks of time. But, do it consistently. For instance, you can study 15 minutes per day while having your coffee, and you can take an online class during your lunch break.
Getting Started Tip #6
Find a mentor or coach. When you have someone who has gone through what you are looking to accomplish, they can help you map out a plan.
This plan should help you to realise your dreams, and the mentor can get you back on track when you stray. You should find a qualified mentor and be willing to pay him or her.
Take these six getting started tips and make them your own so you move from getting ready for it into getting started.