First Steps-Think Small for Sure Starts!

Posted on December 17, 2013, under Time Choices, Time Transformation.

First StepsFirst steps:  You can’t start without them!  Not only that, but taking your first steps always helps overcome resistance and overwhelm when a big project has you stuck.

But what do you do when first steps look daunting – or even dangerous?  How do you make yourself feel safe with moving ahead?

Imagine you have committed to a very important project.  A lot is riding on it, so the pressure is high.  And much of it is new and complex.  You know it’s going to take months to complete, and it feels like it could make or break your career/business.

In that situation, thinking about first steps can probably feel like you’re about to step off a cliff and into a looming abyss!

First Steps-They Don’t Have to Be Scary

Some time ago I read an article by Mark McGuinness on 99u titled Start Small: Why Tinkerers Get Things Done.  I clipped it for future reference, as I thought it offered some very interesting insights about overcoming overwhelm and finding a path ini when fear is blocking most of the usual entries.

You see, often, the overwhelm is ‘just’ in your mind.  And so, what’s required to overcome it is a change in thinking.

Here’s what the article suggests:

The trick is to make the first step so small and easy that it doesn’t create Resistance. The idea of “writing a novel” or “designing a brand identity” sounds so big and difficult it instantly creates Resistance. Your brain easily freezes up. But “just” opening up MS Word or Photoshop and creating a new file is so trivial there’s no Resistance. It’s the same reason saying “I want to learn another language” doesn’t inspire us to action. But saying “I’m just going to sign up for a once-a-week French class” does. The latter is the first step. It’s tangible. It excites us.

First Steps-Just Take One!

The word just is key here.  Simply using it in framing your first steps automatically reduces their relative size in your mind.

It’s important, of course, to be realistic about this!  I mean, the word just doesn’t magically change a big step into a small one.  But for easing your way into a project, it can definitely have a powerful impact.

The idea is to make the first steps so easy that it no longer serves as a barrier.  So, in essence, it doesn’t really matter what your first steps are.  They just need to be doable, starting with step number one!

Activities like setting up your workspace, gathering bits of information, or creating a list can help get you started.  Depending on your project, and the amount of creativity you allow yourself, you’ll be amazed at the ideas you may come up with.

I hope you find this helpful, and recommend that you keep it in mind for the New Year – when so many of us undertake new plans and projects.

Remember, first steps, kept small, will reduce your resistance and start you off on your chosen path.

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There are 2 Responses to “First Steps-Think Small for Sure Starts!”

#1 Alison - 17 December, 9:01 AM

First of all, I love the photo! Second of all, I really appreciate the reassuring way you introduce how to ‘dip one’s toe’ into a massive project. I think many of us have those important projects that would be SO helpful (if not professionally, then personally) but that never quite get started.

#2 Paula Eder - 17 December, 7:31 PM

Thanks, Alison – I love that photo, too! And I’m glad you found the information helpful. Getting started is often the hardest part.

I'd love to hear what you think!

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