How to Get Over the Fear of Starting

Fear of starting

I don’t know about you, but I consider myself an action taker in a lot of ways. I can make to-do lists that rival the very best. But when it comes to getting big goals off the ground? I have a huge fear of starting, and it can be totally crippling.

Think about the things you absolutely have to do. Go to work, do laundry, pay bills, make dinner. Sure, we don’t always feel motivated to take care of those things, but we know that they have to get done. The non-negotiability of these tasks make them tough to ignore.

But aside from the required tasks and chores, there are probably lots of other things sitting on your bucket list or your dream board. Why is it so much harder to get started on those? If you’re like me, you might allow these kinds of thoughts to swirl around in your mind.


Those goals are far away.

Those dreams feel attainable for other people. 

I’m not skilled enough to learn how to put that into motion.

I can’t make big decisions like that.


These thoughts have tried to take root in my life whenever I’ve set out to start something big. It took me more than 6 months after purchasing the domain for this blog to actually get started on building it. What an emotional roller coaster it was! I changed my mind, almost deleted it, diverted to other projects, renamed it, and let the fear of starting something unknown and scary get the best of me.

You might be in the same boat. You see what’s possible, but that first leap – oh, it’s a challenging one. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way, not just by launching a new blog, but by intentionally taking the first steps toward something significant.

White coffee mug on table.

Visualize where you want to be

I follow a lot of successful bloggers and writers, and it’s always amazing to me when I see them go from one way of life to a totally different one in a short chunk of time. A lot can happen in a year, but that’s a pretty short window for creating major life change! While I believe that hard work and some grit can do wonders, having a clear picture of the destination is key.

Begin with the end in mind. It’s a popular phrase and one that provides a good reminder of how we should start something new. With a clear, purposeful focus on the end result. Let me share with you my version of the “end in mind” for this blog.

My overarching goal for Write One Week is to serve modern families and help them build an intentional, memorable life in everyday moments. I like to picture what that means in terms of content (current and future), big-picture ideas, and goals for growth. Getting specific with these details reminds me of the reason I began so that I’m more inclined to keep going.

Put ideas in motion

Half the battle is creating ideas. But what I’ve found? Coming up with ideas is often easier than implementing them. When it comes to making progress, I’m a huge believer in the power of handwriting. The best course of action includes a notebook and calendar.

  • First, create a “brain dump” where you list all the ideas you’d like to eventually take action on. Group them into categories if that’s helpful! Don’t limit yourself, either. List the ideas that seem attainable, realistic, outlandish, or impossible.
  • Then, start charting them on your calendar. Commit to a time when you’ll begin. Set a date and give yourself key deadlines. It never hurts to plan a celebration day after your deadline, so that you can sit back and enjoy your accomplishments!

Stay in your lane

There’s no dream killer quite like comparison. When you have a fear of starting, it might stem from looking around at so many other people working on their own dreams. You may think that everyone else has it all together, or that there are too many experts already working on the goals you see yourself achieving. Don’t let this stop you from taking steps.

I feel like I’m speaking as the self-proclaimed expert in comparison. I have spent way too many moments second-guessing myself and my calling because I was too busy looking at what others were doing. It has prevented me from taking the first steps I needed to make in crucial moments!

Comparison is rarely accurate. It wants us to only see everyone’s highlight reels while believing the worst about our own potential. To get over the fear of starting, we must learn to kick comparison to the curb and step fully into the roles, responsibilities, and dreams that only we can achieve.

Whatever it takes

Say ‘no’ to information overload

It’s difficult to conquer the fear of getting started when you’re so distracted by all of the information available. When it comes to blogging, for instance, I signed up for so many different newsletters, e-courses, resources – you name it! Although I found some valuable nuggets of information in all of those resources, I was actually more overwhelmed than inspired!

When you fill up on too many sources, it’s like trying to take a tiny sip of water from a gushing spout. You are going to get flooded with way more than you need. Instead of pushing through, you’re likely to back away because it’s too much. If you’re ready to stop the information overload, try a few of these tips:

  • Pick 2-3 industry “voices” to serve as your go-to mentors. Become a loyal fan and a student of these teachers!
  • Unplug if you need to. Set down your phone and get back to pen and paper for a day or two.
  • Focus on one area at a time. When you’re trying to grow everywhere, it’s impossible to do it well. You may end up feeling scatterbrained and inefficient. Take a plunge into one specific area and dedicate yourself to it for a certain amount of time. You might be surprised by the results!

What’s holding you back? Drop a comment below to commit to taking one action step that will help you get over the fear of starting something new!

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21 Comments

  1. March 11, 2019 / 5:20 pm

    I’m very new to blogging and this is me right now, overwhelmed!! I really like your ideas!!

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 12, 2019 / 8:29 am

      Glad to hear that they were helpful, Teresa. There’s SO much to learn! I remind myself all the time that it’s a process 🙂 I know you’re going to do so well!

  2. March 13, 2019 / 8:17 am

    I can totally relate to this. The brain dumping part is the easy bit for me. I have dozens of ideas for blog posts. It’s the actually making time and writing them part that is difficult for me! I also have a tendency to have several half written ones that never get finished. Maybe I need a post on get over the fear of actually completing stuff 🙂

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 13, 2019 / 1:37 pm

      That would actually be an awesome idea, Stacey! 🙂 Completing things and hitting “Publish” is a big step in a lot of ways!

  3. March 13, 2019 / 8:18 am

    This is how I felt two weeks ago when I launched my blog! Thank you for this insight!

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 13, 2019 / 1:36 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Ashley! Glad we’re in this together!

  4. jess
    March 14, 2019 / 10:42 am

    So many great tips! I have a fear of starting too. I always worry about failure! Thanks for the post!

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 12:03 pm

      Glad you liked the post, Jess! Someone recently told me to think “What if it succeeds?” instead of “What if it fails?” It cheered me up right away!

  5. March 14, 2019 / 1:04 pm

    I am just starting out and feeling super overwhelmed but also so excited! Thank you for all of these tips!

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 3:46 pm

      Awesome to hear that you’re about to jump in, Carolina! Best of luck 🙂

  6. March 14, 2019 / 3:40 pm

    Sometimes it’s hard to believe in ourselves and then we get stuck. I agree with getting everything out on paper. For me, that’s half the battle just getting it all out so I’m not stuck in perpetual thinking mode. Once I see it written down I can start.

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 3:47 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Jennifer! And yes- I’m the same. It’s easy to get anxious before I see the “plan” written down.

  7. March 14, 2019 / 3:53 pm

    You are speaking my language! Blogging is certainly not for the faint of heart, especially in its infant stages.

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 8:05 pm

      So true, Jacklynn! We just have to keep putting ourselves out there 🙂 Anything is possible!

  8. March 14, 2019 / 4:05 pm

    Thanks for the insight here. I love hearing how you face the fears and keep going. You got this girl! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 8:05 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Peggie!

  9. March 14, 2019 / 4:40 pm

    Great tips! I for sure need to work on this and get over the fear of starting.

  10. March 14, 2019 / 5:45 pm

    Love your thoughts on this issue and how it can be tackled.

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 8:04 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Victoria! 🙂

  11. March 14, 2019 / 8:08 pm

    Hi Hillary, Great advice for writers and for life really. We need to work out our purpose then set clear goals and move forward. You are so right about the information overload too. We need to find a few ‘trusted sources’ and use those for advice, ideas etc. Having someone to keep us accountable can also be helpful!

    • Write One Week
      Author
      March 14, 2019 / 9:14 pm

      Hi Gillian,

      So true! I’m finding that when I stick to those sources and those accountability partners, it works out much better! 🙂

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