I like to walk on the treadmill at the gym, since I don’t have a nice hilly area right out the door to walk. When I say “like”, however, that may not be the most accurate description.
For the first several minutes, I constantly look at the time – how much longer? It feels like a lot of effort, my legs feel stiff, my muscles cold and complaining. I question whether I can really do this today. I don’t feel like going up those hills, or walking so fast, or expending the effort. It seems daunting, and I am tempted to stop.
But once on the treadmill, it’s easier to keep going. As they say in physics, “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” So I try to make it easy to begin. I start with a slow speed and lower hills, and gradually build up. I make it as unintimidating as possible.
Something happens for me at about that 13 minute mark. I hit my stride. It feels easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. I am warm, strong, and capable! I’m ready to challenge myself. My attitude and my body shift from resistance to embracing the experience.
So it is with our goals and aspirations. The most important step is to begin. It doesn’t matter whether you begin perfectly or not; what matters is that you start getting the energy in motion. Nothing will change if you do not take a step in the direction you long for.
You do not need to worry about how it will turn out. Do not compare yourself with who is already at the finish line. Start where you are, and get the ball rolling. Just begin.
If you want to meditate more, set out a cushion or sit down on that chair and give it a try for a minute. If you want to run a marathon, put on some running shoes and run a block. If you want to learn to play the piano, see if you can plunk out Mary Had a Little Lamb. Get started, wherever you are.
Rather than trying to swallow the whole enchilada right off the bat with unrealistic expectations, choose microactions. These are teeny, tiny little steps that are so doable, you can’t be intimidated.
Recently, I was helping a friend with cleaning out her house. She had a room packed to the gills with boxes of stuff to sort through and start giving away. Looking at the whole thing was overwhelming. In fact, she really wanted to avoid the whole thing.
But I knew the best way to tackle it was with a microaction. I told her we should just start, and maybe we only get to one box today, or half a box – that’s OK. It’s one less box you have to deal with. So we began.
I picked a box, and chose three things from it to show her. Keep, give away, or throw away? When she got through them, I went for another handful of items. I tried to focus on the smallest amount possible, so it was easy for her. I made it doable. Before we knew it, we had cleared out three boxes, and I was hauling a bunch of bags off to the Goodwill to give away.
So what are your goals? What do you long to change in your life? Brainstorm some microactions you can take to set the wheels in motion, and just begin. Make it doable. Let go of your expectations and start easy. Once you hit your stride, the energy will flow, and the universe will flood you with support to keep it going.
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