Sir Isaac Newton’s first law generally tells us that a moving object continues to move in the same direction with little additional effort. If the object is stopped, it tends to remain stopped. I am reminded of this when I go kayaking. Getting started takes a lot of energy but as long as I keep paddling each stroke become easier than the last because I am already moving forward. The same is true when you want to start something. Whether it is a task, project, regular exercise routine, eating right, reading, starting a business, selling, or waking up. Getting started is the hardest step to take.
This is an especially important concept for procrastinators (like me) to accept. A key to ending procrastination is to start doing something . . . anything. Even if it is committing to writing just one sentence for your research project or picking up one item to start cleaning your house. Once you start something it will be easier to keep going.
I exercise fairly regularly. When I am in the habit of exercising it is easy to motivate myself to exercise next time. I don’t want to lose the progress I have gained. When I get sick or if I let life get in my way and miss a few workouts, I tend to continue to find excuses to postpone exercising one more day, then one more day. Once I stop it is very hard start again.
To get started again:
- Determine the smallest action necessary to get started. Make a commitment to yourself take that small action. Sometimes my small action is to pack my gym bag with exercise clothes. Now I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have my clothes packed.
- Schedule small actions on your calendar. It may seem silly to schedule small tasks. Commit to taking that small action at the time you have scheduled it. Ninety five percent of the time I will accomplish a lot more than that.
- When you have finally started, don’t stop. Determine the next small step. Don’t expect to accomplish the entire task in one sitting. If you only accomplish that small task, just determine the next small step and schedule it for later. You may find yourself accomplishing several small steps in one sitting but when it is time to stop for now, determine that next small step. Zig Ziggler said, “People who never take step 1 never take step 2.”
What are you putting off right now? What is the smallest action to get started?
Right now I haven’t gotten started organizing my finances for the week and I haven’t determined my next blogging milestones. To get started, I will commit to scheduling time to at least download my bank transactions and listing some blogging milestones.
What are you having a hard time starting right now? What small action can you do to get started? If you are willing to share, add them to the comments below.