Step One: Just do something!
Getting started is difficult for many reasons, but often it comes down to the fact that we generally hate change. Whether it be fear of failure, fear of disapproval from your peers/superiors, or just fear of looking silly, the root is the fear of things changing from the current state. But the only way forward is to take the risk, to take the first step, leaving your current state behind you. Things are bound to fail, people are going to disapprove, and you will make a fool out of yourself… but that’s how we all learn. Anyone with kids or younger siblings will remember the funny times watching the babies learn to crawl or walk, watching them fail again and again until they figured it out for themselves. Change is inevitable, the best thing you can do is embrace the changes coming at you.
When I am struggling to get started the first action I always take is getting my thoughts written on a piece of paper. I outline what I need to do, what I need help with, and what my timeline to work on things will be. Just like writing a paper in high school, making an outline for your task or project will help firm up your thoughts and put clear next steps in place. Using this outline you can build out the dependencies and the unknowns that lie ahead—making a map of how you will get from where you are today to where you want to go.
When you’re finished outlining, you might have one of two responses: “Wow! This is a great idea! I can’t wait to get started!” or “Wow, this wasn’t such a good idea. But now I have another.” No matter which responses you have, you’ve gained valuable information and insight into your next steps. Some of the best ideas start as small pieces of something eles entirely, but you’ll never find out until you make the decision to start.
At the end of the day it still comes down to getting started, taking that first step. There are countless tools out there to help with organization and project planning, but without taking some action those tools are useless. So what things are you procrastinating on? What things have you been putting off? What are you going to do to take the first step? Are you going to choose action?
“If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying, planning, and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started.” – Drew Houston