What’s something that you’ve been wanting to do forever but haven’t done? Almost every day, I daydream about all these goals I want to accomplish in life – from having my own herb garden, taking dance lessons, to learning graphic design – but that’s all they are – dreams. So why is it so hard to make your dreams a reality? For me, it’s starting. Starting something is one of the hardest things for me to do. And here’s 3 reasons why:
People like to feel ready and prepared to get started on something. Too often I will go online and Google how to do something, looking for a solution and after skimming the search results, I feel even more confused and unprepared due to all the various ideas and options out there. The information overload is real. It’s much safer for me to keep on researching and observing than to actually do something. Usually I’ll put whatever it is off until one day when I’ll feel “prepared,” aka never.
Fear of Failure
Why do we all hate to fail? Failure elicits such negative feelings – feelings of shame, disappointment, regret, anger, self-doubt – that people would rather avoid feeling those emotions than taking a risk to feel success. I’ve been so scared to fail in life that anything less than perfection really upsets me.
Making the Time
“You have to have time to make time.” These kinds of thoughts are the shackles holding me back from living the life I want to have. Time is one of our most precious resources. Do you realize how you spend your time each day? The latest research found that while the average American is awake for a little over 15 hours a day, 4.7 of those hours are spent on their smartphones. I repeat, almost 5 HOURS or a third of our awake time each day is spent on our phones. I think we can all agree that 5 hours is too. much. wasted. time!
I am trying a few different strategies to overcome these excuses for not starting to work towards my goals:
Don’t let the idea of not being 100% ready stop you. Many people learn best by doing! It’s okay not to know everything before you get started. Begin with a small milestone to work towards. Once you reach that milestone, evaluate your situation and decide on your next small milestone to work towards.
Realize that failure is often part of the process. “No human ever became interesting by not failing. The more you fail and recover and improve, the better you are as a person. Ever meet someone who’s always had everything work out for them with zero struggle? They usually have the depth of a puddle. Or they don’t exist.” – Chris Hardwick | This quote has truly helped me start to shift my attitude about failure. I’m realizing just how important failure is at building a person’s character and grit. Heck, I wouldn’t have had the guts to start this blog if it hadn’t been for getting laid off from my job.
Be intentional with your time. Start out with blocking a short chunk of time to work on what you want. I personally benefit from setting a timer and working without distractions (aka my phone is on silent or in another room) for that period of time. For me, I work best in the mornings, and getting up a little earlier to start something I’m excited about is also a great option as my mental and creative energies are stretched thin by nightfall.
What goal have you been dying to start working towards? For me, I’ve been wanting to start a blog for ages. It’s taken me over a year to actually do it. Being my Type-A self, I felt like I was NEVER going to be ready to actually start blogging because it seemed like there were a million moving parts, and I couldn’t wrap my head around it all. When I got laid off from my job last month, I finally chose to just dive head first into this. The only way I actually got started blogging was by setting small milestones to work towards and doing so as I was being intentional with my time.
Here’s one example of how I’m implementing the strategies mentioned above: I allocate one hour to writing a blog post about X topic. For that set amount of time, I am tunnel visioned on achieving that milestone – writing a complete blog post. It may take me a shorter or longer amount of time to actually reach the milestone, and the post obviously won’t be perfectly written, but having something to work towards really helps me focus and work with a clear objective and a set deadline.
Why have you failed to start working towards one of your goals? What’s one strategy that you can try to help you get started?