Take the critical first step

We’re five weeks into the new year and for many of us our aspirations for 2020 have already fallen by the wayside.  Life has a way of distracting us from what is most important and if we’re not careful, before we know it, time has slipped away.  There is a verse in a Pink Floyd song that resonates with me every time I hear it. “And then one day you find, ten years have gone behind you.  No one told you when to run. You missed the starting gun.” Life is short and we only have one chance to live the life we want. The time to act is now but how do we actually get ourselves to take action?  How do we “get motivated”? 

Here’s the secret about motivation…motivation comes after we start.  Yes, the best way to get motivated is to take action. Taking action is not always easy.  We put so much pressure on ourselves to do it all and to do it perfectly. We become too focused on the outcome.  Let’s forget about the outcome and focus instead on the process. Focusing on the process, especially on just the first step can significantly increase our likelihood of success.  Every habit that we have or that we want to have starts with a trigger, one small action that is like the first domino which sets the chain in motion. Once we do that first action, the rest of the steps fall into place with minimal effort.   All we have to concern ourselves with then is taking that first step.

Let’s use walking as an example.  Most of us actually do enjoy walking once we’re doing but it’s the getting started that’s the hard part.  The critical action in taking a walk is just getting outside (or on the treadmill if you’re an indoor walker).  If you want to commit to walking regularly, don’t concern yourself with having to do thirty minutes or having to keep a brisk pace, just commit to putting on your sneakers and getting outside.  That’s it. More often than not, once you’re outside you’ll take the walk because the hardest part is already behind you. You’re already outside. Even if you only walk for ten minutes, you will most certainly experience physical and emotional benefits.  Over time these ten minutes add up to building the habit of walking and will add value to your life in more ways than one. You’ll have more energy, experience more awe, be more focused, calm and creative.

Instead of letting time and your well-being get away from you, think about the habits you’d like to build.  What is the desired behavior you’d ultimately like to be practicing? What is the critical first step in the process?  Once you’ve identified that first step, commit to practicing that action and see what happens. If you want to chat about your experiences, successes or challenges, reach out to me at rebecca.schubert@gmhec.org.  I’d love to hear from you.