Your First Step — How to Make It Easy By Working Backwards

Visualize your outcome to define your first step.

Your first step is your most important one. And in the course of a typical day, you take your first step many, many times.

Why is that?

Well, being as productive as possible means that, as you work on different projects and tasks, your first step initiates each one. And whether it’s big or small, long-term or short-term, the toughest moment in any project or activity is taking the first action to get started.

There are traditional methods for overcoming the hurdle of the first step, and they vary from one person to the next. For example, many say that the best way to get mobilized is to sit down and write an outline of your project. However, in the initial stages of many projects, it’s possible to get stuck if you go this route.  That’s because so many elements remain uncertain in complex, multi-step projects that outlining isn’t easy or productive.

Other people highly recommend a Zero Draft. They believe you should simply start writing, not thinking about spelling, format, or structure. Once you have something on the blank page, they reason, it’s easy to edit.

Neither of these approaches uses your time wisely.

So, what other options are there?  I recommend that you begin a project at the end, by defining your desired outcomes.

Your First Step: Start with your goals.

Identifying your goal allows you to effectively visualize the overall result. You don’t become mired in the specific details of the topics you need to address, the resources you must consult, or the particular methods you will use.

Instead, with this definition of desired outcomes, you give yourself the framework of your project. Once the outcomes are defined, you can work backward to identify the needed action steps.

How does starting at the end help? 

You are engaging in a form of goal setting that is flexible. You avoid false starts, going off on tangents, or feeling obligated to follow traditional steps in order to achieve your optimal results.

When you give yourself permission to define the desired outcomes in terms of what you want, you activate your powers of visualization.  You are then able to give yourself a very clear picture of what you plan to create.  

From that picture, your first step will emerge organically.

Try it and see.  

If you are willing to experiment with this alternative to writing outlines and Zero Drafts, you will begin your project with the two most useful states of mind: “awareness” of what you want, and “flexibility” in how you achieve it.

Ready to take that first step?  When you free yourself from the obligation to follow the rules and give yourself the gift of clarity about where your desired outcome, you won’t need to “figure out” where to start. You will know.  Your first step will be right there in front of you, ready for you to take it.

The creative focus you develop through this process will enhance your power and effectiveness.

So, how will you try this alternative approach today? What will be your first step?

Here’s more help with your first step…

Your life is busy. Whether it’s seasonal changes, work, vacation planning, or unpredictable events that intrude, you’re making decisions from the time you wake up to the moment you go to bed. And I don’t mean life-changing decisions. Most often, they’re the small, everyday choices — often pretty much the same choices over and over.

You might think that having choices would always be a plus. But in reality, too many choices can be exhausting. You might not even notice, because they are often so small. But all the decisions drain you and slow you down, sapping energy that you could be applying to other things.

So today I want to share a powerful resource with you. It gives you tools for easing ‘decision fatigue’ and helps you make the most of your time. It’s powerful, practical, and it absolutely works.

Just click the link below and discover what Transforming Your Time and Life with Templates has to offer you.

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