The art of the start: How to get started on your goals easily

I heard this when I was just a child so I don’t exactly know the original source but here it is, as good as I remember.

We all struggle with starting something. It all feels so overwhelming. How to start, where to start, when to start and sometimes even how much to start with.

So the theory goes like this: Imagine you have to start running because you’re overweight or you want to start a new habit. But you have virtually no experience in running whatsoever. Where, how do you start? Do you set a goal for yourself to run 3 km everyday? That’s a little bold I’d say. What’s more realistic? Say 1 km? Maybe. But what if you’re not even able to get yourself out of bed for that 1 lousy km? What then?

In such case, here’s what you should consider starting your habit with: (Steps in increasing order of difficulty, and running here is just used as an example)

  • Wake up in the morning and sit on/around the bed for 10 minutes.
  • Wake up and take a walk in your home for a couple of minutes.
  • Wake up and put on your shoes and keep sitting.
  • Wake up and put on your shoes and do some chores.
  • Wake up, put on your shoes and take the trash out.
  • Wake up, put on your shoes and take a walk outside, maybe go get milk.
  • Wake up, put on your shoes and take a little longer walk, maybe get milk on your way back.
  • Wake up, put on shoes, take a brisk walk, get milk.
  • Wake up, put on shoes, jog for 5 minutes, go get milk

All this while, you’re just making that mammoth task you once thought impossible a little more do-able. Getting milk one walk at a time.

You get the point? What really matters is the progress.

If you keep on looking at the mountains thinking how to climb it, you’ll never climb one. Climbing is done by keeping your eyes on the path not the peak.

We can all imagine what might happen if you try climbing a mountain by looking at the peak all the time.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” - Confucius