We may know what we want. We may know what it takes to get there. If so, then why, oh why, is it so hard to start? I've been rolling that question around in my head as I've procrastinated getting this blog post written. Whether it is starting a new habit like taking a daily walk or starting a new business or even starting dinner...sometimes it's just plain hard. Acknowledged.
There are a myriad of reasons why starting is hard. Let's tackle a few of them with some remedies here:
1. Perfection. Ah, perfection. You used to be my constant companion until I realized you really weren't serving me or the people whom I was trying to serve. Our perfection mind thinks, "If I don't start, then there is no risk of it not being perfect." True but dumb.
The remedy: Self-acceptance. This one seems easy, but it is tricky. We tell ourselves stories of why we have to be better or the best or...perfect. We've constructed these stories over time based on bad information. Start a new story by accepting yourself where you are. Remove the judgment.
2. Resistance. Change, even if it is change for the better, can be scary. We might be afraid of what is on the other side of change. If we are taking time to meditate and sit with our feelings and thoughts, we might have to deal with those things that come up. Our resistant mind thinks, "If I don't start then I won't have to deal with emotions that I may have worked to push away."
The remedy: Roll with the resistance. The martial arts are based on the idea of moving with the source of the force. We could follow that lead by allowing those emotions to come in and deal with them as they do. If the prospect of this feels daunting, seek out help to give you the tools to get started.
3.Self-worth. We often don't believe that we are worthy of good that might come our way from starting something. Our low self-worth mind thinks, "I'm not good enough to deserve all of the good that may come from starting, so I just won't."
The remedy: Build your self-worth. Monitor the negative thoughts that you have and note how they impact your self-worth. Ask yourself, "Is this thought true?" If not, then say, "Stop." Take a breath. Repeat a self-loving mantra...perhaps something like "I am worthy." It works. Each time you replace the negative thought, you build your self-worth.
4. Remember the Why. Things get complicated. We hop from one rabbit hole to the next. We can forget the "why am I doing this?" question. Our forgetful mind thinks, "I'm doing this for the wrong reason or I don't even know why I am doing this."
The remedy: Remind yourself of the why. Make it your mantra. Tape it to your mirror or computer. You have a reason you want to start, and it is bigger than any excuse.
5. Who wants it? This goes along with the previous, "Remember the Why." Are you finding it hard to start because the task you are starting is not something that you really want. Perhaps it is something that you feel you should do or that someone else has told you or implied that you should do this thing.
The remedy: Before you beat yourself up for not starting, consider if starting is really your desire. If you don't really want it, the journey will likely be arduous and unfulfilling.
Those reasons and many others are there to protect us, but what we need to remind ourselves is that that type of protection is keeping us small. We no longer need that kind of false protection. Drop the self-judgment and dive in. Get started by just starting. Doing one little thing...putting on your sneakers, making an outline, and chopping some vegetables all mean that you have started. You are doing it. It can be just that simple.