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The Secret to Getting Started

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.  The secret to getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”

Mark Twain

Hi Motivation Seekers, how are you?  How was your week?  Did you get started on transforming your life and if so, does it feel do-able or are you in a bit of overwhelm?

When we decide to make changes, it can just all seem too much.  Especially if the changes are about overcoming the habits of a lifetime, it’s really hard to get started with that.  Our quote this week gives great advice – good old Mark Twain, he certainly knew a thing or two!  Of course, what he is talking about is procrastination and how to overcome it.

Why do we procrastinate though?  There are lots of reasons, feeling sorry for ourselves, feeling overwhelmed with all “the stuff” we have to do, feeling like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, feeling hopeless, feeling worthless and not good enough.  Perfectionism is a major reason that people procrastinate, they want everything to be absolutely perfect and doubt their ability to get it that way, so don’t do it at all.  Let’s not have all those things get in our way.  Here are 3 tips to help avoid procrastinating:

Make it manageable

As Mark Twain says, break the work to be done,  down into small, manageable tasks.  Chunk it down, in other words.  Make it manageable and easy for yourself.  One great way of doing this is to work backwards from the end result that you are aiming for.  For Example, you want to complete the revision of your website by April next year.  What do you need to have done by April, by March, by February etc etc, going right back to what you need to be doing next week.  Then you just focus on the immediate tasks.  Making sure that the timing of these is realistic.  Also, block out the time to achieve the week’s tasks.  Do this at times when you are feeling fresh, alert and motivated.  For me, I get energised from being with others, my motivation is at a peak after spending time with other people whose company I enjoy.  Spending time exercising with others is great too.  Think about what works for you – what gets you into a motivated, productive state?  When you’ve discovered it, block out time for that and block out time for the harder tasks when you are in that state.

Ask for help

Do you just plough on and try to do it all yourself?  I know I have a tendency to do that.  That’s one of the things that can really lead to those overwhelm feelings.  If you feel it is all up to you and you alone, you not only feel overwhelm, you can also feel isolated, alone and can start feeling sorry for yourself.  That will just feed procrastination.  If you are struggling, ask for help.  Go to someone you trust and tell them how you are feeling, or just ask them to help you.  If you find that hard, just practise doing it and it will become easier.  If it helps, you can do “contra” deals with others.  i.e. swap what you’re good at, with what they’re good at.  It becomes a win/win for you both and can help overcome those emotions of overwhelm.

Get started

That’s the best advice I can give, in the famous words of Nike, “just do it”.  So often, we put off and put off and the guilt builds and builds and makes us feel bad about ourselves. Then when we can’t put it off any longer and tackle the job to be done, we discover that it didn’t take us as long as we had thought.  Best to tackle it first and get it out of the way.  Things that can help with that are to use positive, affirming language – letting yourself know that you can do this and acknowledging your gifts and skills to yourself, instead of the negative self talk of not being good enough.  Another idea is to give yourself a reward, a special treat for getting underway with the tasks to be done. That can be a real motivator.

I hope that has helped you and I hope you have a fantastic week.  For those of us in NZ, we have a holiday today, what better time to start planning, dreaming, goal setting and getting started.  Have a fantastic time, enjoying your break.