Sunday, November 7, 2010

Take the First Step

One of the most difficult things in life sometimes, is simply getting started. Taking that first step can often feel overwhelming, frustrating, paralyzing, and flat out scary. So what happens? We end up not taking that step. I can't tell you how many times I have wanted to improve my health and said, "I'm going to stop drinking Coke," "I'm going to start dieting," and "I'm going to get back to the gym." Well, I just ate a candy bar, had a Coke with lunch and haven't visited my gym in three weeks.

Typically in my posts I provide helpful tips on whatever topic I'm discussing. Today in addition to the tips at the end, I'm going to provide some sayings/quotes that I find to be very helpful in overcoming the difficulty of getting started.

The first saying you know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The point is, if your plan was to eat an elephant, and you went up to the elephant and looked at it in all of its enormity, you would psych yourself out before you even started. If you simply looked at the section that was placed in front of you and started eating bite after bite, at some point, you would finish.

Next saying....nothing changes if nothing changes. If you continue to do the same thing over and over again, you are not going to get different results. So if you are trying to accomplish something or to make a change in your life and you are not getting started or making progress, you have to start changing the way in which you are attempting to achieve your goal. For example, if I am trying to get back into going to the gym, but every night I say I'm going to go after work, and then every night I say "I'm tired I'll go tomorrow," I have to change something. One thing I might do, is get a workout buddy, so that I have more accountability.

Some tips for getting started are:
1. Tell others, accountability can be a big motivator.
2. Break tasks that might feel overwhelming into small projects and tackle them one at a time.
3. Set yourself a schedule and due dates.
4. Praise yourself for the progress you make....all progress is praise worthy, and set-backs are simply a learning tool for your next success.

At the end of the day, it boils down to how much do you want to achieve your goal, complete the task or tackle whatever project. These ideas and tips can be applied to your physical health, your employment status, school and your mental health. If you are unhappy with where you are mentally (depressed, anxious, in an unhealthy relationship) what steps are you going to make change? Start exercising...utilize relaxation exercises...learning about assertiveness skills...maybe start counseling? If there is anything that you would be interested in speaking with one of our therapists about, take that first step, give us a call.

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