I’ve got a love-hate relationship with the neighbor’s rooster. While his early morning wake up call is a reminder of the city noise we traded when we moved to the country, I was a little shocked that Rodney Rooster’s clock seems perpetually stuck at 3:00 am. What rooster does that? Apparently, Rodney.
But if it weren’t for Rodney Rooster, I’d likely get a much later start to the day and miss out on some truly amazing Pacific Northwest sunrises. And let’s face it, I can’t think of any better way to fight writer’s block then by being out on the crystal clear water of Lake Crescent. (It’s the Pacific Northwest’s version of the Caribbean waters.). Being on the water allows my mind to simply wander. Every problem, every negative thought simply vanishes under the tranquil rocking of the gentle sea.
It was during my latest trek to the lake that I had a chance to really reflect on my life. I thought back to everything I’ve accomplished which could be summarized by this one thought: the hardest part is getting started.
One of my colleagues is a runner. She runs a couple of hours every day, 20-30 miles. I’m tired just thinking about it, but she’s relentless. One day over wine (me sporting my t-shirt that says, “I don’t run. If you see me running, you’d better run too because something is chasing me!”) I asked her where she finds her motivation. And she replied, “the hardest part is getting started.”
That got me thinking. Her statement was certainly true of most endeavors. Whether you’re opening a business, training for a marathon, trying to lose weight or writing a book, the hardest part is just getting started.
So in the spirit of sharing, below is my most prolific advice on how to get started.
Be sure your goals align with your passion
If you’re doing something for all the wrong reasons, you will likely never reach your goal. Successful people don’t have more luck, they simply have more passion and conviction for what they want to accomplish. They never take their eyes off the goal. They work hard. They persevere. They challenge the norms and stand by their convictions. They never stop believing in the thing they most desire. The most successful people have tenacious attitudes and the fortitude to keep driving forward.
Do something toward your goal, no matter how small, every day
If you’re a writer, write. Even if it’s one sentence. Write. Sentences add up to paragraphs that turn into pages. The same is true for any endeavor you wish to pursue. Dark Awakening didn’t happen overnight and it certainly didn’t happen when I was busy doing other things.
My middle son was recently questioning his life choices and I asked him what he really wanted to do with his life.
He said, “I think I need to go back to school because I want to own my own business.”
“Then make it happen,” I replied, with as much motherly inflection as I could muster. “Do one small thing every day, until you find yourself where you want to be.”
According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s, it takes 21 days to create a new habit. So if you want to make running, cycling, weight loss, or writing, a life habit, you need to repeat the action at least 21 days, if not longer (new evidence shows it can take as long as 2-8 months!).
So how do you keep going? Grab a support network, a group of friends committed to your success and lean on them when you start to feel like you can’t keep going.
Eliminate excuses and negative influences
This is the big one. If you’re surrounded by a bunch of Debbie and Donny Downers, it’s going to be easy to find an excuse as to why you’ll never succeed. Eliminate the excuses, remove the negative influences and surround yourself with people who encourage and support you.
I have a wonderful mentor and coach who told me to repeat the mantra, “I don’t need you to like me.” It’s amazing how empowering that one statement can be when you truly start to feel the power of the words. You don’t need anyone to like you. You don’t need to be surrounded by people who doubt you and feel energized over your failures. You only need to be accountable to one person: yourself.
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, you don’t have to be exceptional, you just have to persevere and succeed.
What will you get started today? Drop me a line below. I’d love to know.