Real talk - even disciplined, highly skilled folks can fall behind or get into procrastination ruts.
This is especially true when tackling a big project that is intimidating to even think about.
How to pivot a failed project before the runway runs out…
How to do a renovation of the kitchen…
How to switch from Ubereats to healthy home cooking…
But, most of the time, the hardest part is just the beginning.
Starting work on your goals requires an extra amount of energy, so the best thing we can do is make that mental barrier as low as possible.
One way is by reducing the amount of decisions you have to make.
Breaking your goals into smaller pieces will help you succeed. Divide and conquer.
The key thing here is to make sure every step of the process is easily achievable and understood. Even if you don’t know the exact path to your objective, you can still list down steps to experiment, steps to learn, steps to look at other successful examples etc.
Often even taking the wrong steps at the start is better than feeling paralyzed and taking no steps at all. You can always course correct (hey, even add a step which is “check if I’m on the wrong path”).
So - start by listing the steps to begin. You should be confident that you can totally do each one of these. If you’re still not sure, it’s a good sign to break things down further, into even smaller and simpler pieces.
Once ready, you will have a much better time at starting your goal.
Even more, why not check every item on your list as you accomplish them? Free dopamine!
Let’s consider an example. I’ll use the same S.M.A.R.T. goal we already defined on the first email (can’t believe it’s been more than a week now!):
“Run 5 miles before breakfast, except for Wednesday and Sunday”
So, how do we start? Next Wednesday I will... just run??
Well… it might not be that simple. BUT, you can set a really simple goal to check off first and easily skip the beginning (remember, hardest part) of your habit.
- Find my shoes
Ok, that’s easier and it’ll switch me into running mode. Activity started, so just keep going!
Next, where should I go?
- Grab a water bottle
- Plan a route. Nothing fancy to start, just use some areas you frequent, reduce the options, don’t waste energy deciding it every time.
- The ritual has started, now you’re ready to go and run.
- Enjoy and tick a new day on the calendar!
You might have noticed that this is also a good opportunity to practice your anchors & chains skill.
Try stacking your steps, so each is a cue for the next one.
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