Motivational Monday #108 We Are All Cowards
“I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line we are all cowards”
Last week I talked about taking that first step and how all accomplishments start with a decision to make a change. This week I want to explore a little why that first step can seem so difficult.
The Over Ambitious First Step
I have a friend who decided on an ambitious exercise and work regime which mirrored one that they had almost two years ago. It involved getting up at 5.30am and then working out prior to sorting out breakfast for their child and getting ready for work.
It was a great sounding plan and their work schedule was pretty much spot on. The challenge, as it seemed to me, was their morning structure. 5.30am is pretty early and I was concerned that if they failed to achieve it then it would become something they ‘failed at’ and thus would be motivationally counter-productive.
Unfortunately my concerns turned out to be right and my friend did indeed fail to get up at 5.30am for the first couple of days and their routine has, as yet, not materialised.
Sadly this is a good example of setting the first goal simply too high. It’s good to have ambitious goals but I feel that the first steps should be simple, easy and achievable. The tie to be ambitious is later on, not at the start.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
This ties into the quote at the beginning of the article. Alberto Salazar is a multiple marathon winner who now coaches Olympic running athletes. I personally find it very positive that the fear that we experience at the start of all personal development journeys is shared by supreme athletes.
What I take from his quote is not to shirk the fear or ignore it but rather accept it. A week ago I entered my first 10k run and despite having trained and run multiple 9k practice runs in the weeks prior to it I was anxious on the morning and downright nervous at the start of the race.
Images of everyone running off over the horizon and leaving me in the dust plagued me as did the crazy notion that I’d be so slow that they’d close the finish before I got there!
As it was I made it in 57 minutes time which, given I started running 3 months ago I’m perfectly happy with it. Also frankly I finished it and that was my primary goal!
But I digress … I felt fear that morning and yet knowing that it was normal to feel so kept me going. I think often we let that fear dissuade us from both starting and continuing. What’s important to remember is that fear only stops you if you let it. Accepting it and then moving on regardless reduces the fear to nothing more resistant than billowing smoke.
Needing the Right Circumstances
I know another person who is interested in getting into shape. Unfortunately they continually delay and procrastinate based on ‘things not being quite right’. Their bike isn’t in great repair, their weights aren’t the right kind, the exercise class they want doesn’t open at times that work for them.
There is a great quote from Zig Ziglar which went
“You can’t wait until all the lights are on green before you head off into town.”
I think that where you are is where you need to start. No matter what you lack you, most likely, have something that you could do. No gym membership or equipment? Then go for a walk. No books on the topic you want to learn about? Then go order some or visit the library.
And what if you can’t afford the books you want or the library doesn’t stock quite the right book? Then start with a second choice book – but start!
Circumstances aren’t often perfect but you will most likely have some time, some resources and some options right now, that you could use if you chose to.
So make your first steps small, immediate and use what you have. Things can get perfected later when you are on the journey but for now just start!
Until next time, be successful!