Are you eager to get more out of your life by changing something? But you don’t know where to start?
This is a common reason why many people hesitate to take action, even if they know they should start. It feels overwhelming – an emotion almost nobody wants to have. It is easier to accept how it is. Eventually, the idea of change becomes lost and unimportant.
I personally went through this process until I learnt three first simple steps which helped me to get over it. By knowing and applying these steps, any shift in life can become manageable.
It doesn’t matter if it is a physical thing like quiting smoking, a mental perception like stopping seeing yourself as shy, or a habit you want to change like being unfriendly when someone bothers you.
The following steps will help you to get the ball rolling for your desired change. Try it and persuade yourself!
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01 – Define your goals
The goal is your destination. You’ll want to know the exact destination in order to get started and act upon your change.
Imagine you are at home. Are you just going out and starting to walk without having a destination or a reason behind it. Even if you just plan to do a small walk, you still have a reason. Whether it is to get fresh air or to vent your thoughts. It is a reason – a goal behind your action.
This applies to every change you want to start.
Without goal, no action; without action, no change!
It is hard to start when you don’t know where you want to go.
Additionally, this is a firm philosophy on which you can always refer back to. Change is whelmed with variables. Thus, one fixed element is desirable to have in order to stay on track. It is helpful and meaningful down the road.
So, define your goal and cherish it!
A goal is most effective when stated in the positive. You want a goal that excites you; a goal that you want to take action on immediately. At the same time, it needs to be specific and scheduled.
Saying you want to lose weight is not enough. You’ll want to know exactly how much weight you want to lose and by when you want to have lost it.
Last but not least, think about why you want your goal being realized. What is the real reason? Usually it is not just to lose some weight. There is more behind it.
Example of an ineffective goal
I want to lose weight!
This would mean 1 pound and you’ve achieved it. You could stop working for it.
Example of an effective goal
I will easily lose 10 pounds by the end of this year in order to feel more energized and attractive.
02 – Prepare an action plan
Of course, a goal alone is not enough. You have a massive task in front of you and still don’t know what exactly to do to get there. But, by having your goal in the first place, you’ll be able to figure out steps that are required to achieve it.
It’s like cutting the big piece in smaller digestible chunks. Split the bulk!
Imagine you are a tourist in a city. You haven’t visited the city ever before. You arrive at the central station and want to visit the main attractions.
How can you do that without knowing where they are and how to get there? You’ll need a map.
Getting a map is the first step of your plan. Firstly, it shows you where the main attraction is located and, secondly, the map can help you to get there by guiding you through the streets. The second step of your plan is to define where you want to walk, as usually there is more than one possibility.
This is a formula you can apply to several situations in life. It’s the second step for your desired change.
Start brainstorming and write down all the steps that come into your mind and, most importantly, that can bring you closer to your goal.
What can you do exactly? Which action could you take to get to your destination?
Steps are real actions that you can actually do.
Once you have them all in one place, you can start to take one step at a time. Decide which step you are doing and when, then bring them in order and estimate the time.
Afterwards schedule every step and take action immediately.
Don’t be too perfectionist!
You don’t need to know every single step towards your destination in order to start. Actually you only need the first step if you can’t find any more. Start to act on your first idea and, down the track, you’ll automatically figure out the second step, and then you’ll see the third and so on.
Be flexible! Things also change. Having the experience of the first two steps might change your action plan regarding the following ones.
03 – Strengthen your mindset
One of the main reasons why many people fail with changing something is that they don’t believe in it. They think it is impossible. In having these thoughts, it is easy to take the first obstacle as evidence. It serves as confirmation and so quitting is likely.
Instead, trust yourself and have faith that you’ll get where you want to be. Build confidence!
Look for people who achieved the change you want. Then you’ll know that it is possible. Say to yourself: “When others can do it, then I can to.”
Additionally, start to think differently regarding failure and obstacles. Many people see them as something bad. Actually they are really good. They get you to learn and grow and they teach you how to deal with them. The things that you are learning by overcoming one obstacle will also be helpful for several other situations in life.
Thirdly, change your focus. Many people focus on the short-term sacrifices (pain) they need to take in order to make the change. Instead, turn the tables! See the pain when you are not doing it and the pleasure when you do.
Last but not least, persuade yourself that everything is possible. And it actually is! The only things that are required are work, time and patience. That is what a lot of people run away from.
Without work, no harvest!
Work consistently for it and you’ll get what you want.
These three steps will give you a boost in the direction of your desired destination. The first two might look like a lot of effort without seeing your goal coming closer at first glance.
However, this preparation is crucial.
Firstly, having a plan will give you confidence, as it looks manageable.
Secondly, these steps will help you save time at the end. You’ll reach your destination much faster by having a plan instead of wandering around.
Thirdly, following a plan will protect you against the risks of getting distracted. Cruising here and there, it is easy to try this and that and becoming distracted down the road. Losing the prospect and quitting is likely.
So, do first things first: Define your goals, prepare the plan and start acting on it. Going step by step and, additionally, by having faith, you’ll arrive at your destination sooner than you thought.