Makeover Monday: The Longest Stride

I’m in a strange-but-neat place these days. Having lost my excess weight and my job in such a relatively short time span has left me wide open for chasing new adventures. I’m feeling bold and confident and excited…and scared “spit-less”, as we say in polite company. I’m learning new things every day, about myself and the world around me. Now, poised for flight, I’m faced with a simple and inescapable truth: Beginnings are hard. So hard that it sometimes seems preferable to stick right where you are. Taking the first step toward any goal or dream is exciting, but it can also cause feelings of fear, uncertainty, and/or dread, among others. Or maybe it’s just me.

“The first step you take is the longest stride.”
Nickelback, If Today Was Your Last Day

So how do we get ourselves to the point of taking that first step, not with a sense of doom or dread, but with a sense of excitement and anticipation?

1. Identify clearly the goal/dream you are pursuing. Although he gets on my last nerve much of the time, Dr. Phil got it right when he advised, “You have to name it to claim it.” (Life Strategies, 1999) Know exactly what it is you want, this object of your desire. Visualize it. Write it down. Be as specific as possible.

2. Breathe it. Quality management guru Peter F. Drucker said, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” If we don’t fully commit ourselves to a thing, we’ll do it when it’s convenient or easy or the third Tuesday of every other month.

3. Define small steps. C’mon, you knew I was going to work this in here somewhere, especially when it fits so beautifully! Many of us know that we’re more likely to get to the top of the mountain via a series of small stepping stones, as opposed to trying to climb over a boulder.

4. Expect difficulties. Be prepared for roadblocks and obstacles, many of which you will create for yourself. Knowing how to harness your strengths and overcome your weaknesses will help see you through the rough spots.

5. Take the first step. You’re ready for it!

It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to become more fit, write a book, start a business, remodel your house (these all sound very familiar to me), or {insert your goal here}, taking some time to define the goal, commit to it, identify stepping stones to achieve it, and anticipate the roadblocks before you take the first step, will help you get off to a strong start!

As always, your thoughts, comments, and ideas are welcome!