Starting What You’ve Been Wanting to Do
Have you ever wanted to start doing something, like running or waking up early, but you feel like you just can’t figure out how to get started? Me too!
I know how frustrating it can be. You KNOW how good that would feel if you could just do it, but something is stopping you.
And you have NO idea what it is.
You Google search “5 ways to get motivated,” you ask friends how THEY do that thing, you look up plans and systems. You search tirelessly for the answer outside of you.
Here are a few examples from what you have shared with me… of things you’d LIKE to do, but can’t seem to figure out how:
- Washing your face each night
- Reading a book
- Gratitude journal
- Getting up early
- Early morning workout
You know life would be even better if you could just do this thing and you feel so frustrated that you just can’t seem to do it.
Let’s talk about what might be holding you back. I hope something in this post will spark the wisdom you already have inside of you to just get started. To get going on that thing you know would feel so good.
The first thing I want to encourage you to do is to start paying attention to the thoughts you’re having right before you decide not to do the “thing.”
For example, with waking up early…
- What thoughts do you have before you go to bed?
- What thoughts come up the moment your alarm goes off?
The thoughts you have right when your alarm goes off and you choose to hit the snooze button are the exact thoughts that are keeping you from doing the thing you want to do.
Here’s a helpful lesson: Your thoughts create your feelings which create your actions which create your results.
Thoughts –> Feelings –> Actions –> Results
So if you’re having thoughts that sound like:
- It’s way too early
- Why did I want to wake up?
- This bed is so cozy
- It’s too dark out
- I’m too sleepy
Then of courrrrse you’re going to feel like you would rather stay in bed, cozily, and then you’re going to hit snooze and therefore, have the result of not waking up early (which is what you don’t want).
So YES. If you want to get a different result, you’re going to have to choose some different thoughts. That’s just part of the game. Here are some new thoughts to try on:
- It’s going to feel so good once I’m awake
- Everyone feels tired right when their alarm goes off, get up anyway
- You’ll be so happy you did it
- Go downstairs and make your coffee (yaaaay!)
- You love being up early (lie if you have to, haha – jk… kind of…)
Pay attention to the thoughts you’re having and really listen to them. If you need to, write them down so that you can see your own patterns for yourself.
Your thoughts will tell you exactly why you’re not getting out of bed, or going for that run, or cooking dinner more often at home.
You want to shift your thoughts that will talk you into doing the thing that you want to do. Not out of it. Pick some new thoughts and start to practice those.
When you consistently achieve your commitments you make for yourself, it boosts your self-confidence and self-trust. This is what makes life so good! When you know you can do anything you set your mind to! This is where you become empowered in your own life (and THAT feels great!).
Simplify Your Commitments
Just because you’re someone who now keeps her commitments to herself doesn’t mean you’re some busy-body whose day is filled to the brim with achievements, goals, and to-do’s. You’re not a robot.
Set fewer commitments. Decide to care about less. This doesn’t mean you’re someone who doesn’t care, but it does mean you’re someone who has intentionally decided what you will give your attention to. Keep the list smaller rather than larger.
As well as having fewer commitments, when you’re adding in a new habit, just add in one or two at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself with ten new goals this week.
Start with one, practice that consistently, let it become routine, and then add in another. Only add in more than one if you feel that doing so will have you feeling even MORE empowered to take action.
One of the biggest issues I see is women promising themselves that they’ll start later.
For example, a client might say “I’m not feeling good in my body. I want to start moving more. But for the rest of the weekend, I’ll just let myself do whatever and then on Monday I’ll start fresh.”
If you’ve ever worked with me before 😉 then you know that we’ll take something like this and ask “Why wait until Monday?”. We will instead look at how you can start smaller, now.
This client might start moving more by taking the dog for a walk tonight, meeting a friend for a walk this weekend, and walking with her husband after brunch on Sunday.
Then, when Monday comes, she’s already starting the habit to move her body more each day, and she’ll feel that much more motivated to keep going because she’s starting to feel more optimistic.
So start small, now. A question I love to have my clients ask themselves is “What can I do to feel just 1% better?” This helps them to shift and move in the direction of doing what feels good, and sometimes that’s all we need to get going.
Next, what’s the way that you like to hold yourself accountable? What would allow you to feel accomplished? We all like to feel that sense of achievement.
For example, I am someone who doesn’t really like to be checked-in on, but I like to check-in with someone else. Meaning, I like to be the one to send the check-in to my own coach.
I like to send an email and say “Hey! Running is going well – it’s feeling great! I’ve gotten dressed three times this week (yay!) and I’ve taken my vitamins each morning.”
THAT makes me feel excited, eager to keep going, and it allows me to look forward to my next check-in.
I also like to keep a blank monthly calendar. I put it on my kitchen counter on a clipboard. Each day that I meet one of my three goals that I’m working on right now, I write inside the little box for that day: running (check), outfit (check), vitamins (check). This motivates me visually, and gets me excited to stick with what is making me feel so good.
So, know yourself. Know the ways in which you like to be accountable to yourself, and if you’re not sure, experiment.
What’s Your True Why?
I hope that you’re feeling a spark of inspiration and that a couple of helpful things have jumped out to you by this point!
Next, I want you to find your true why. What do I mean by this?
I mean… find out WHY you want to start waking up earlier, or running… and what life would be like if you DIDN’T start doing that thing.
For most of us, life would actually be fine without adding in that thing that we feel we so badly want to start doing. Meaning… life would be OK if I never started running.
Nothing terrible would happen and actually, there might be a few benefits, like… it would be one less thing to plan in a day. I could stay home and be comfortable on the couch. I’d have to wash my hair less (ha!).
But… what would it be like WITH running?
I’d get that clean, accomplished feeling most days. I’d feel like I was taking great care of my body. I would enjoy it. I could get out and be physically active with Abby, my dog, and she would love that! I’d soak up Vitamin D. I’d feel happier – boosted! The thought of it simply excited me.
I had to decide that all of that was worth it. That I no longer wanted just “normal” and “comfortable”, but that I wanted to see what it would be like to aim for that next level joy that I could gain from running.
Which takes me to my next point…
Make It Easy
I had to make running seem SO DARN EASY for myself to actually get started. Why? Because… while I really wanted to run, it also intimidated me. A LOT.
I thought that running would be really hard. That I’d have to really struggle through my runs and that the “reward” would come at the end. I thought I’d have to work through dread and not wanting to go… it felt like a lot to commit to.
And so for years I never started…
That was until I decided to just put on my shoes, take Abby for a walk somewhere she could be off leash and just walk… and then do tiny, small bursts of running.
So I did. And it was so much easier than I had built it up to be. Each time I seemed to feel more and more okay with running a little bit more. It felt fun! I was improving, playing with my dog, moving my body, and actually enjoying it!
Week after week I stared to notice some improvements like “Woah, I can go longer now! I can go farther! I can run more than I walk!” These small improvements have encouraged me so much.
While I’m improving, I don’t reset my expectations. At least not for now, because having the lower expectations works for me to just get going. And once I’m going, I tend to want to go beyond what I expect myself to do.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Finally, set yourself up for success and find what feels good.
Meaning, help yourself want to do the thing you want to do. Help yourself by making it easy. Take as much as the in-the-moment decision making out of it.
Set out your shoes. Have the dog’s things ready to go (talking about running with a pup, here). Have your headphones on the counter ready to grab, etc.
The other thing is to know yourself.
With waking up early, for example, I know that I tend to like one snooze. So if I want to get out of bed by 6:00 I’ll set my alarm for 5:50, snooze once, and get up. Maybe one day I’ll work on not snoozing, but for now this works ;-).
So I set myself up for success by not starting with the expectation of “not snoozing” but instead, “well let me set the alarm early enough so that I can get my one snooze in.”
What do you know about yourself?
So, what is the thing that you’re working on? I would LOVE to hear! Share in the comments. Tell me what helped you from this post. And on Friday, get ready for a video from me on something practical that you can do to make this even easier, and begin to re-associate how you view those things you want to do more often. Yay!