The First Step is Always the Hardest

Optimal Mental Health and Well-Being

The First Step is Always the Hardest

Why is change so hard sometimes? You would think that if we were not satisfied with an aspect of our lives, we would do something about it. Yet, oftentimes we don’t. Does this mean we really don’t want to achieve our goals?

There is something so comforting about the status quo that we will stay stuck in an unsatisfactory situation rather than venture into the unknown and take a risk to achieve something better. Why is this so? Perhaps there is something hardwired into our brains to avoid risks because bad outcomes can happen no matter how hard we plan for a better result.

Do we have to hit bottom in a current situation to finally be willing to change it? There’s a certain amount of conventional wisdom that says this is true, but I am not so sure. After all, what exactly is a bottom?

In my work as a therapist and coach for almost thirty years, I think the problem has more to do with how we scare ourselves by imagining negative outcomes to the point we are afraid of taking the first step into the unknown. It’s kind of like being a child again and knowing there really is a monster in the closet.

The key to overcoming this fear is simple, but not necessarily easy. Just take the first step and keep your focus on what is in front of you rather than projecting too far into the future. The good news is that the first step, while often the hardest step to take, is always doable.

After that, all you have to do is take the next step and then the next and then the next and then the…

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