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.
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.
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!