Afraid To Set Big Goals? How To Be Motivated And Start Now

You know that goal you can’t stop thinking about?

Yep, that one.

What if you started it now?

Yes, really. Right now.

How would you feel about that?

My guess is a bit resistant.

Maybe you feel some hesitation.

And your brain might offer thoughts like:

  • But I need to get everything ready first.
  • I don’t really know how to start.
  • It just doesn’t feel right.

Today I am here to challenge those thoughts.

In fact, I’m here to suggest the exact opposite.

Because I think you are ready.

I think you do know where to start.

And I think you get to decide that it feels right.

The truth is this.

The longer we wait to get started, the longer it takes to get there.

And if you’ve been thinking about this goal for a while now, I invite you to start practicing this belief:

Now is the perfect time to start making my goal a reality.

Then watch the evidence fall into place.

And if you’re feeling hesitation or you need an extra nudge to get started, you’re in the right place. 

Because that’s exactly what we’re exploring on episode 75 of the I’m Busy Being Awesome podcast.

You can listen to the episode below, or stream it on your favorite podcasting app here:

Prefer to read? No problem! Keep scrolling for the entire podcast transcript.

Listen To The Podcast Here!

In This Episode, You Will Discover… 

  • Why we feel hesitant to get started on new goals
  • The four most common thoughts that hold us back
  • How to challenge those beliefs and start working toward our goals with confidence

Links From The Podcast

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Episode #75: (Transcript) 

Hey, everybody. Welcome to the podcast. What’s happening? Thanks for tuning in today. And also,  thanks to those of you who have been sharing the podcast with your friends. 

I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard from new listeners recently that this friend or that colleague recommended the podcast to them. Or they saw a friend share a screenshot on their Instagram stories. And I so appreciate that because with each share you’re helping me get these tools to more people who ned them. And that’s so awesome. 

A Quick Review

Also, if you haven’t already, would you take 10 seconds and go leave me a review on your podcast app? I know it’s kind of a pain. And if you’re anything like me, when you hear podcasters ask this, you think, “Oh! I’ll totally do that one of these days.” And then forget. 

So my request to you today is this. Would you open up your podcast app right now, search for I’m Busy Being Awesome, and scroll down to the ratings and reviews? Leave me some stars and a few words. It doesn’t have to be long. No perfectionist brain required. But when you leave a rating, you’re telling iTunes that people are listening, so they start suggesting it more often to others. So just hit pause right now. Go leave a quick review. And then come back. You’re the best.

Okay. Welcome back. Let’s dive in. 

It’s Time To Start

So here’s the deal. This episode comes out on December 28th. New Year’s is just around the corner. And today I want to talk with you about getting started now. Whether you’ve been thinking about trying a new hobby or starting a new habit. Whether you’ve wanted to take a class or start working with a coach, or begin your book idea… what if you committed to starting now. What if you decided that you’re not going to put it off any longer? And what if you decided it’s happening now? 

You see, I think it’s easy for us to push things off. Even in the New Year, we don’t always challenge ourselves to go after that one thing that’s always on our minds. Instead, we play it safe. We keep with the status quo. And we keep moving forward business as usual. 

Today I want to push back against this a little bit. And I want to explore with you some reasons why you just might want to get started now. I want to play around with the possibility that the best thing you could possibly do for yourself now and your future self 5 years from now, is taking the leap and diving in.

You Know You Best

Now, this might not apply to everyone. If you truly believe that now is not a good time to get started on your goal or your plan, you know you best. I mean, maybe what you really want to do is travel around the world and we’re still dealing with COVID at the time of this recording. If that’s your circumstance, and your thought is, I think it’s better to wait when it’s easier and safer to travel, then fine – I’ll give you that one. So you be the judge of your own circumstances. You know what’s going on for you. 

But I think for the majority of us, that is not the reason. And instead, we just tell ourselves it would be better to wait. Maybe we should wait until things settle in. Maybe we should wait until we know for sure what January brings or the first quarter brings. Or maybe we should wait until the summer when things slow down a bit. 

And we tell ourselves this because it’s easier to put things off than get started now. And if you feel your feathers getting a little ruffled when I’m saying this, it might be because you have an area where you really do want to take action, but you’re telling yourself it’s better not to. It’s better to wait.

But today I am going to question it. What if you decided to get started now? What if you took action now? Really. What if you got started, took action, and started making things happen now?

Four Reasons We Wait To Start

So whenever I’m coaching clients who feel reluctant or indecisive about getting started on something. Or whenever I talk with friends about diving into something new or unfamiliar. Or whenever I’m thinking about taking a risk or trying something different myself, I’ve noticed we generally offer variations on four different reasons why we think should wait. And we use these reasons to justify why we think it’s better to delay getting started than to dive in.

And I want to talk about each of those four beliefs of why we think it’s better to wait. We’re going to question whether these beliefs are actually serving us. And then we’re going to consider a different perspective. 

And I hope that if you hear yourself in any of these scenarios, and you’re on the fence about trying something new or beginning a new project or starting a new habit or program, that you listen extra carefully. Because the reality is this. The longer we wait to get started, the longer it takes to get there. 

Truth Bomb

In fact, I want to say that again just because it is SO DARN TRUE. The longer we wait to get started, the longer it takes to get there. And I have never met anyone who – after reaching the goal they set out to accomplish – say, I wish I would have delayed another month. I wish I would have put this off longer. 

Now I want to speak to my ADHDers specifically for a minute. I’m not talking about procrastination on the small scale right now. I’m not talking about putting off answering emails or getting started on the report for work. That procrastination is a very real challenge, too. Especially when we even KNOW what we’re doing, we know we are putting things off, but we can’t get ourselves to take action. Our brain is really putting up a fight. And there are specific strategies that we can use, which I work on with my clients and I’ve talked about in other podcasts, where we focus on strengthening our executive functioning skills to get started.

We Get To Decide

But what I’m talking about today are the long term delays based on bigger thoughts about starting something new like, “it might not be the right time.” “I don’t know if this is right for me.” “It’s probably better to wait until XYZ happens.” “I should probably wait until everything slows down. Etc.”

Because the reality is this – we make it the right time. If we tell ourselves that we should wait until summer to get started on the program or the book or the goal because then we’ll have more time, once summer comes around we’ll have another reason to put it off. We’ll think to ourselves, “things are crazy right now since the kids are out of school. It’s probably better to wait until fall when I have more structure again.” And the cycle of delay continues. So if you can hear yourself in these scenarios, be on to yourself. And think about how the scenarios we explore in this episode might help you move forward.

So let’s talk about this.

I Need To Get Everything Ready

Now, one of the most common objections I hear from my clients about beginning something new is: I just need to get everything ready first. I just want to get my ducks in a row. And I want to make sure I have everything figured out before diving in.  And this sounds reasonable, right? It seems like a logical plan to spend a lot of time planning, and designing, and brainstorming, and thinking about, and bouncing ideas around, and getting feedback on, and on and on and on. And of course – it is a good idea to think about what you’re going to do before you do it. You don’t want to jump in blindly to every shiny idea you have. 

But if you’re telling yourself you’re going to start at the start of the next month or when XYZ slows down, or at the beginning of the summer or something – chances are, you have thought about it. You have bounced ideas around. And you have spent time planning.

As Walt Disney reminds us, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” What if that’s true? How could it be the best thing for you to quit talking and ruminating and planning over and over in your head and just begin doing?

As we’ve talked about in other episodes, you may not have the entire step-by-step process entirely laid out yet. But when we pause and think about it, that makes perfect sense. Of course, you don’t have the exact step-by-step yet – nobody does until we actually do it. 

You Won’t Know The “How” Until You Do It

I mean, just think about it. Did you know the exact step by step process you had to take in order to get the job you have now? Did you know the exact step by step process to meet the partner you have now? No, of course not. You may have a general idea. And you may even have some specifics of getting a resume put together, sending it out to businesses, interviewing for the jobs. But you didn’t know everything. You didn’t know all the questions the interviewer would ask. You didn’t know how many rounds of interviews there might be. And you didn’t know what days the interview would take place ahead of time and whether you would have childcare. There were some parts you had to figure out along the way.

At some point, you quit talking and you began doing.

It Doesn’t Feel Like The Right Time

Now, another common reason I hear from clients and friends and notice in myself is: it just doesn’t feel like the right time. And while this may seem similar to the “I need to get everything ready first” it’s a bit more general. 

Rather than thinking you need to get all your ducks in a row and your plans laid out, it’s a broader belief that it just doesn’t feel right. But as we know, our thoughts create our feelings. So if you’re not feeling certain that it’s the right time, it’s because you’re telling yourself it’s not. You’re questioning yourself. But what if it was the right time? How could that be possible? How could starting now, this week, today, be right? You get to decide. Did you know this? You get to choose that it’s the right time, feel that certainty and confidence from that thought, and move forward.

There is a quote from Lemony Snicket that I love, which is “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” That’s a powerful statement, friends.

And I love the analogy that Robert Kiyosaki gives as well. He says, “If you are the kind of person who is waiting for the ‘right’ thing to happen, you might wait for a long time. It’s like waiting for all the traffic lights to be green for five miles before starting the trip.”

So again I want to remind you that there is no “right time.” You get to decide that the time is right. The ball is completely in your court. 

What You Focus On Grows

The challenge is that we forget this. And as we talked about back in episode 51, what you focus on grows. So if you’re looking for proof that it’s not the right time or that it doesn’t feel right, of course, what you will find is evidence to support that belief. Right? 

It’s the same reason why when you start thinking about buying a car, or you do buy a car, you start noticing everyone else who has the same car or the same color car. Or you decide you want to move and you start noticing all the for sale signs suddenly popping up. Again, what you focus on grows. You start finding more evidence. So when you’re focused on it not being the right time, that’s the evidence you’ll find. 

You Get To Choose

Now again, if you like your reasons for believing it’s not the right time, that’s great. You get to keep that belief as long as you want. But if the reason you’re holding back is that you’re waiting until you feel ready or you’re waiting until all the traffic lights turn green, you may want to consider shifting that story. You may want to start finding evidence that you are ready, that you can do it, and that it is the right time. Because chances are, you can find that evidence, too. You just have to look for it.

I Don’t Know How

Okay. On to reason three. Now, this one that I struggled with a lot, and I have a feeling that my fellow perfectionists out there will also be able to relate. This is the belief that “I’m not good at it.” Or “I don’t know how.”

Now, this may not seem like a direct connection to why we’d put off getting started, but our brain loves to grab onto the excuse nevertheless. 

When our brain thinks, “Ack! I am terrible at this. I don’t know what I’m doing.” That thought makes us feel fear or inadequate or embarrassed. So we tell ourselves, “I’ll just deal with it later. Let’s start that later. Let’s do it when I have had time to figure things out, first.” 

Of course, logically, this doesn’t make a ton of sense… we aren’t going to get better at something by delaying doing it. But nevertheless, we talk ourselves into it. And we do this because it means that we can play it safe and not put ourselves out there for a little while longer. 

My Experience With Social Media

I used to do this myself when I started I’m Busy Being Awesome, and especially when I started posting things on social media. Seriously, I was so freaked out. I kept telling myself didn’t know what I was doing. I felt super vulnerable. And I would keep putting it off because I told myself I wasn’t good at writing posts or sharing engaging pictures and any other excuse my brain could think of. 

But let’s be honest – how on earth am I going to get any better at it by not doing it? As Theodore Roosevelt reminded us, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” You may not have all your ducks in a row. You may not know all the steps. And yes…my dear perfectionists, it won’t be perfect. And that’s all okay. Nothing has gone wrong.

Zig Ziglar has a great quote about this, too. He said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” You can’t learn if you have nothing to learn from, right? So why not get started? The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be on your way to great.

It Will Take Too Long

Now the fourth and final reason that I often hear from clients about why they don’t want to get started on a new goal or project sounds something like this: “I don’t want to get started now because it’s going to take so long.” 

“I don’t want to start writing my book. It’s going to take forever. I’ll get to it next month.”

“I don’t want to start training for the half marathon. It’s going to take forever to get in shape; I’ll get started next week.”

“Ugh, learning that new skill is going to take me months. I’ll get to it in the summer when I have more time.”

Now, these reasons may seem logical when we’re stuck in dread and resistance. But when we can look objectively at them they really don’t make sense…at all

I promise you that if your biggest concern about getting started is that the thing is going to take too long, delaying isn’t going to make it go faster.

It’s fascinating, isn’t it? We tell ourselves we don’t want to get started because it’s going to take so long. But time is going to pass anyway, right? The time is going to keep ticking by, so why not have the time pass while you’re doing the things you want to do? 

In my experience, it’s so much more fun that way. 

Recap

So again, if you are contemplating getting started on a project or working toward a goal or working with a coach, or starting a new habit, and you notice yourself thinking, “I’ll get started when dot dot dot.” Or any other iteration of that thought, I invite you to check in with yourself. Do you like your reasons for delaying? If so, great. Then keep these reminders in the back of your mind for when they do apply. 

But if you don’t like your reasons…if you hear yourself thinking thoughts like, “I just need to get everything ready first” or “for some reason, it just doesn’t feel right” or “I’m just not good at it” or “it’s going to take so long.” If you hear your brain offering these reasons, I invite you to push back a bit and question those thoughts. 

What if you are ready right now?

What if you get to decide when it’s the right time?

And what if you can start where you are because where you are is exactly right?

Again, if time is going to pass anyway, why not get started now? As the Chinese proverb reminds us, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

And as I was gathering these different quotes to help highlight the concepts for this episode, I came across two more that really spoke to me. And they address the idea that you must get started in order to find success. Jackson Brown Jr. reminds us that “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” While Pablo Picasso says, “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.” 

So with that, my busy awesome friends. Get out on the dance floor. Start taking action. And do the thing. That’s when you’ll find your inspiration. That’s when you’ll find the opportunities. And that’s how you get closer to making your goals a reality. 

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