One of my favourite things working on my own goals and plans or with clients’ is to generate a wide variety of options.
Sensible and safe ones. Weird and wonderful ones. Ones that make your tummy flip. Others that are just set your motivation on fire!
Then comes narrowing down to decisions. Which works for you? Your circumstances? Your preferences and talents? Your cashflow? Your timelines?
OK, so decision made. Actions planned out. It’s all there, ready to go and…….
No worries, start tomorrow. Or after you finish that chore. Or maybe after…….and so the distractions and excuses stack up.Finding how to get started can be really hard and really frustrating.
Here’s some ways my coachees and I have used – they work for us, so they might for you!
- Take the plunge (aka the JFDI approach) – stop thinking, stop dither and do it. This has what’s called the Zeigarnik effect, i.e. once we start something, we’re try to continue to see something through despite setbacks or interruptions.
- Create deadlines – a sense of pressure to complete can raise your motivation.
- Find an accountability partner – who can hold you responsible to your action (or inaction!).
- Make it public – create a poster of your goal, actions and success and hang it up for all to see.
- Prioritise your actions – both within your overall plan and with the rest of your commitments.
- Check your habits – are you playing out a “norm”? Is an unhelpful habitual behaviour, fear, thinking pattern blocking you? If so, address it.
- Get a cheerleader and a shoulder to cry on – change is often more positive and long lasting if you travel the road with friends.
- Check for overwhelm – too much at once. Chunk it up. You can’t eat an elephant in one sitting, start by a nibble on the ear and move on in chunks.
- Have an honesty check with yourself – do you truly want this change?
- Create space in your life – you’re busy, so when do you have time to focus on your actions? What stops or pauses to give your time for focus?
- Assess and reassess as you go – identifying what really works for you and what doesn’t can help you be more agile in your change actions.
- Seek clarity – can you reduce any uncertainty or ambiguity around your desired change?
- Stop the perfectionism – for getting started, being perfect first time is unrealistic and deflating. Go for 60% or 70% there.
- Mourn what you’re giving up – sometimes we have to let something go from our lives in order to change and that can be sad.
- Stop the “what if…” game – whilst the game can help you find potential potholes, it can also blow up fears, anxieties and stresses. Enough is enough.
- Task vs Outcome – which makes you confident to proceed? Lead out with that.
- Reflect on the alternatives – one of my favourite coaching questions is “what’s the benefits of doing nothing?” Your answers to that question could propel you into action.
- Reframe your blockers using opposites – my favourite example of this is “what if I fail?” being reframed with “but what if your fly darling?”.
- Record your plan and progress – a good ol’ to-do list or chart followed up with a crossing off as you go helps you recognise each step you complete.
- Ask for help – small or large, from a mate or a professional. Plenty of people will be ready and willing to support you.
Finally, I want to share two quotes to inspire and motivate your start:
The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
The best view comes after the climb to the top.
Regardless of which method or approach gets you started on your change, don’t forget I’m here to help. Shout when you need me.
What’s are you going to do to get started? Mark that first action here and keep us updated on your progress in the comments.