Do you have a dream? That burning desire to have a better life, better health, better relationships, a better job or start a new career.. Wanting to start a new relationship or end a bad relationship…. wanting to start exercising and lose weight or you might simply want to learn something new…?
I am sure we all have that one thing, which we dream about but haven’t done anything about it. The most difficult part of achieving what we really want is … To take that first step.
Why is it so difficult to take that first step?
Let us list down some known reasons –
Fear of Change –
Change is something that we all shy away from because it seems daunting, scary, and stressful. But one needs to remember that the only constant factor in life is “CHANGE”. The change indicates progress, growth, a different perspective on life, and a desire, strength to move out of your comfort zone before you stagnate. Sometimes one needs to face our fear of change and shun all the excuses that spring up in our mind to avoid it.
“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.”–James Stephens
Fear of Failure –
Without failure, there would be no success. It is an integral part of our lives and there is no escaping it. The key to dealing with our failures is to convert them into our very own “lessons of life”. It teaches us what not to do and pushes us to look for another approach until we find one that works. Hence treating each setback as a stepping stone to improve your efforts is extremely important. To fail is not a crime but to not attempt at all is. So charge ahead and dare to reach out to your dreams.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
Too much to do in too short a span of time, faced with confusing thoughts? Feeling squeezed? Feel like giving up already?
The key to dealing with it is to take time to think things through, organize your work plan and use a piecemeal approach to break down humongous tasks into small doable chunks. The progress might appear slow and tedious initially but a little bit of resilience and honest commitment can lead to long-term success. It’s ok, to go slow initially. Just take one step at a time. And don’t forget to be proud of yourself for the small achievements that come along the way!
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” –Deepak Chopra
Fear of looking foolish –
In order to “fit in” with our peers, our family, and the society at large we imitate group behavior. Many times we blindly follow others and adapt to the common norms of society so as to blend in and not be ridiculed or misunderstood. However, we should never forget that each of us is unique, distinct and it is this individuality that makes us special. Having faith in yourself and a positive attitude is important to tap into your own talent. Give yourself the permission to “stand out” and explore your true potential.
“Until you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.” –Cher
Starting something new –
At times it may take more than just coming out of your comfort zone. For example, when you want to switch your job or start a new career. You have already reached a certain level in your present career. So starting something new right from the scratch may appear scary. The key is to analyze the situation properly. Do thorough research on the subject and make sure you are absolutely passionate about it. Plan your steps. And then take the leap with full faith in yourself, giving your 100% into it.
“One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time.” -John Wanamaker
Conflicting Dreams & Value Systems –
Each one of us believes in certain values /principles and priorities in life. E.g. if you firmly believe in honesty and if the journey towards your goal contradicts this value, you would not feel motivated. On the contrary, feel guilty about pursuing your dreams. So it is extremely important to know yourself and your priorities beforehand while deciding your aspirations. Knowing yourself is equally crucial as is knowing your goals in life.
“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” –Maria Robinson
Getting the Timing Right –
Life is busy and will always be busy. There will always be reasons to postpone your plans, to wait “for the right time”. But there is no such thing as “the right time”. The most perfect time to start anything is RIGHT NOW because if you are committed and focused on your goals (personal or professional) other things will eventually fall into place automatically.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” –Zig Ziglar
Honing your Skills –
Theoretical knowledge though important can only help to a certain extent in real life. The applicability of this knowledge in day-to-day situations is more crucial. This requires practicing your skills regularly with patience and perseverance. Inborn talent might give a good start but honing your skill-sets consistently and methodically is imperative to achieve long-term success.
“Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” –Unknown.
Create a Support System –
New beginnings in your life may or may not be received unanimously by people around you. Though it is important to believe in yourself, it is equally crucial to “LISTEN” to other people’s opinions because they may provide a different insight into your situation or add value to your decisions from their own personal experiences. So listening to critical comments calmly, with an open mind, and at the same time analyzing their thought process rationally is important in creating a strong support system for yourself where you value and respect the opinions of people close to you and vice versa.
“Listen” ….. to the right people –Unknown.
Dealing with Indecisiveness –
Experiencing anticipatory anxiety is perfectly normal while embarking on a new journey in life. However, believing in yourself is crucial because no one knows you better than yourself. TRUST yourself, your instincts, and your abilities. Nobody knows where this will take you. There are endless possibilities. Take your first step towards your destination and things will end up the way they are supposed to.
“And, when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
So go ahead, take the leap of your life for a better life.. better health.. for a life full of happiness and satisfaction!
You might want to keep a pen and paper handy as you go through these exercises.
Step 1– Know Yourself
Choose a time when you won’t be disturbed for some time. Once you are ready close your eyes and take a deep breath. Relax. Write down your 10 values and priorities each, which govern your life. Eg. Love, truth, financial security, independence, etc. once you are sure that the list completely describes you, check if your dream conflicts with any of these.
Step 2 – Understand Your Anxiety
Take a minute to notice which thoughts are actually preventing you from moving ahead. Write down all your fears and anxiety. Now go throw them one by one and ask yourself, if it’s related only to your present goal or it’s something deeper? Try and overcome them. Take help from your loved ones or a professional.
Step 3 – Break Down Your First Step
When we feel motivated there are thousands of ideas rushing in. Leaving us clueless, where to start from. So break them down and find out the most important step to be taken first. It can be right from doing thorough research on a subject or making a call and enquiring about a course or just discussing your idea with a friend. Once you do that, move to the next important thing on the list. Take one step at a time. Be patient initially and keep going.
Step 4 – Have A Support System
Whatever you intend to achieve, whether you want to lose weight, run a marathon, ask someone out, start a new career.. make sure you have a group of people you can lean on and who keep encouraging you. Get support from your family, friends, colleagues, children, support group. Just ask and you shall get it.
Step 5 – Keep Yourself Motivated
Know clearly why you want to do it. Be honest with yourself. That will be your greatest motivator. Keep reminding yourself about it. After that make a list of tentative things you might have to do. And write the approximate REASONABLE time limit within which you would like to achieve each step. Eg. You might intend to lose 2kgs per month for the next 6 months. Complete what you have started in your intended time. Let your focus and dedication be 100%. This way you boost up your self-confidence every time you complete your task.
Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for 20 minutes. Put on some soothing music. Take a comfortable position with your palms open. You can do this any time of the day when you can relax, but morning on getting up or just before you sleep is preferable.
Relax. Whenever you feel ready close your eyes and take three deep breaths. Try to stop thinking, let the thoughts just come and go. Whenever you feel comfortable start imagining/visualizing a probable situation in which you might feel the anxiety before taking the first step ahead. See yourself overcoming that anxiety. In fact, you are doing the task confidently. Feel how it feels like… to actually put your ideas into action… step by step. How it feels to complete your task with full integrity. See yourself achieving your goal. How does it make you feel? Feel the happiness.. that sense of achievement. How will it affect your life and the people around you? Be with those feeling for some time. And whenever you feel done, slowly open your eyes.