“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~Mark Twain
We all have big dreams, big goals, and big ideas on what we think our life should look like, or how we think life will end up.
Some of us meticulously plan out our lives, envisioning and letting ourselves daydream as we think about all the stuff we’d love to accomplish. The problem is, a lot of us have trouble reaching the “potential” we’ve set for ourselves. Time kind of flies by, and we end up looking back and wondering what went wrong.
Well, one reason stands out like a sore thumb: We never really get started doing the things we truly want to do. We’re all guilty of it at one point or another. The problem is it can become a way of life.
I’ve cooked up dozens (literally dozens) of ideas or things I wanted to try over the years. How many did I actually try? Far less than dozens; let’s just say the ratio isn’t exactly working in my favor.
Now, as time has gone by, I’ve been able to explore more of them. But I probably don’t even remember half of the things I wanted to try and never did.
Why did I not try? What was the reasoning behind it? Why did I lack the forward motion necessary to at least attempt something and see if it sticks? I, like you, are fully aware that not everything we do will end up being a calling in life. But you won’t know until you give it a shot.
To help you better understand this idea pertaining to a lack of motion, one must take a step back and realize that life, in a very big nutshell, is a series of decisions and actions. These two components are crucial for our self-growth and success in life and unfortunately are not mutually exclusive.
Without making a decision and following it up with action, we could spend our entire lives stuck in the exact same place.
If you make a decision but don’t take any action, not much will happen. On the other hand, if you take a bunch of actions without any decisions driving them, you’ll aimlessly float around. Being stuck in the same place or floating around aimlessly sounds torturous, doesn’t it? It is, and a lot of people must be living real-life nightmares. I had to wake up from my own years ago.
If you aren’t quite where you thought you’d be, I’d like to start by just saying that it’s perfectly okay. Most of us aren’t really where we thought we’d be, and we’re still giving it our best shot.
There are generally two reasons you aren’t at your “ideal” place. A small chance is that life gave you an obstacle course with things completely out of your control; in other words, life got in the way temporarily. But there’s a bigger possibility you aren’t where you thought you’d be: you just flat out didn’t pursue something. And it was likely out of fear.
In other words, you didn’t really ever get started.
The Good And The Bad News
Let’s start with the bad news: You never got started, and now you’ve wasted some valuable time moving toward your goals. Your life isn’t really playing out like you thought it would, and you feel somewhat stuck with your current habits, lifestyle, relationships, career, and other things.
Pause for a moment and take a deep breath, as this might have hit closer to home than you’d prefer. Now let’s transition to the good news, because it’s actually really good: You’re never really stuck,you just believe you’re stuck, and while the best time to start something was yesterday, the next best time is now.
You, yes you, have the ability to create the life you want with God’s leadership and grace, but it requires you to make moves. And while you may have fallen short previously, it doesn’t mean you will fall short going forward.
Here’s the bottom line: your past does not dictate your future. Your past habits and lifestyle do not have to determine your lot in life.
Here is a chart to consider… take a look and see where you find yourself:
The Idea Behind Starting
You’ve probably heard the quote “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Well, it sure is true. Because really, is anything built in a day? Was your house fully built on top of a piece of land in a day? Was that skyscraper completely erected in a day? Did you apply for, interview, and start working at your job in the span of twenty-four hours?
Things take time to build. Let’s say you’ve been wanting to switch careers because your soul has been sucked completely dry. You planted the career switching seed a while ago, and you’ve been letting it marinate for far too long. Yet you haven’t made any moves, and in the meantime, nothing has changed. Does this sound familiar?
Self-doubt and fear are the two biggest barriers in our quest to make moves. A third, and less talked about one, is pure overwhelm: seeing where you are and looking where you want to go leaves you exasperated. Commiting to process will increase your capacity.
This is where movement comes into play. You take steps, however small, toward your visions and goals. You make sure you’re moving forward. If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward.
And here’s the cool thing: The force that you apply, in other words the actions you take, can be extremely small and still produce positive results. This is the idea of micro-movement. What does this mean? If you’re scared to make a move because you’re overwhelmed by the end result of where you think you need to go, it’s really important to realize one big thing: your collection of small steps equals big results. It’s a matter of perspective, and your perspective will change if you are committed to a process.
No one takes a leap of faith and accomplishes life’s biggest goals in the same breath. Rewards come to those who take consistent, measurable action, while enjoying a dose of patience and commitment.
Putting All The Pieces Together
Most people have an idea of some higher-level goals they’d love to accomplish in their lives. Be it personal, health, finances, career, relationships, or all five, every single one of us has fallen victim to overwhelm and the paralyzing nature of fear.
But a few things are happening in your favor.
Namely, God is there to aid you in your dreams and desires if you let Him. In the Bible for example, it says He knows the plans He has for us… we can’t necessarily see them so we must exercise faith.
It just requires a few things:
- A decision made internally to change
- A desire to take the steps required, (doing the work, faith, perseverance…)
- A realization that micro-movements forward are perfectly normal
- Actually making moves
- A big dose of patience and commitment
Then, the inevitable forward motion will help you take care of the rest because you’ll have built movement and momentum. Your commitment to a Process will make room for all these aspects. Take a small step of faith and follow it with another, and another, and another.
Process with Progress allows you to love every version of yourself. If you do, you will find the perpetual motivation you need to keep moving forward.