How Do I Get Started?

Optimal Mental Health and Well-Being

How Do I Get Started?

One of the biggest challenges in accomplishing any goal, especially a big goal like going back to school or starting a new business, is knowing where to start. Just the idea of committing to a long term course of action, with no guarantee of success, can seem to be such a daunting undertaking that it is easier to just dream about the goal rather than take the first steps toward achieving it. You can end up in a trap of yearning for something better in your life, but never actually taking any action to make this change a reality.

Here are five steps you can use to break out of this trap.

  1. Recognize that the security of the status quo can be very appealing. After all, dreaming about reaching a goal requires no effort and no risk. The status quo starts to churn out all the possible things that could go wrong or convince you that it isn’t possible to succeed. The net result is that you don’t even take the first step toward your goal.
  2. Take the first step, even if it is a baby step. The saying that the longest journey begins with a single step is true. That is why it is critical to break free of the status quo and do something tangible toward achieving your goal. This could be something as simple as going to a university website and gathering information on a degree you are interested in rather than do nothing and convince yourself it wouldn’t work out anyway.
  3. Stop making excuses. No matter the goal and no matter our circumstances, it is easy to fall into the victim role and tell ourselves stories about why we can’t succeed. I’m too old. I can’t afford it. I don’t know what to do. While they might feel real when you tell yourself these “reasons” why you can’t even try to work toward a goal you have had for yourself, recognize them for what they are – just stories you tell yourself because you are afraid.
  4. Keep the energy moving. The process of achieving a goal, especially a big one such as getting a degree, can become a magical journey once you take that first halting step as this first step leads to the next step and so on. The good news is that even the largest goal can only be accomplished by successfully taking required small steps toward that goal.
  5. Be around people who support your goals. It’s hard to change our lives. Too many people – sometimes our family or friends – try to convince us that our dreams are unrealistic. Recognize that breaking free of the status quo can be threatening to others who are stuck in their lives. Rather than face their own fears, they project them on to you. This is one of the many reasons that working with a life coach can make a positive difference as having a source of support, accountability, and encouragement is critical.

One of the reasons why I like working with my clients is that I understand just how paralyzing fear and self-doubt can be. I went through this when I started on a path to sobriety, but I kept the energy moving one day at a time. Now I am coming up on 38 years of sobriety. I understand from my own experience how challenging it is to yearn for a better life, but also know how to take the steps to actually do it. If I can do it, so can you.

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