08 February 2013

The First Step


We all have big plans for the future, don't we? It can be learning a new skill, have a great career, lose weight, get more healthy, write a book, travel the world. Anything, big or small. But sometimes, time passes and nothing happens. What if we just needed to simplify our approach and start with a first step?

When I went to Japan, I wanted to share my travel experience and my knowledge of Japanese culture with my friends and beyond. I had this big project of a website on Japan, all coded in php, with a dynamic map and a lot of content. 3 months into my exchange year, nothing had happened. Not even a beta version of the site.

So I decided to abandon my big plans and take a first step, simple and quick: I opened my first blog. Which I regularly updated during my stay in Japan and beyond, because it ultimately turned into this blog. That experience made me think a lot about how we approach dreams and projects in general.

Start simple

Usually, when we never start a project, it is because it sounds complicated, time consuming, and we think we either don't have the skill, nor the time, or neither. Or we tried and it didn't work. That's how months and years pass and nothing happens.

What if you simplified your project? For example, if your project is to unclutter your home, what about starting with only one room? If your project is to lose weight, what about starting with eating habits before considering a number of pounds? Every time I have put a project, an idea on hold, it was because the big picture sounded too complex and scary. Breaking it down into more simple goals or challenges can help get started.

The First Step

Then there is the first step. This first action that you will take, this first thing that will get your project out of your head and into reality. I only realized recently that this first step is the key. Because it is the first real action, it makes the project concrete, it makes it sound feasible.

And this first step needs to be very simple and easy so you can do it right now.  If your project is to learn a new skill, the first step can simply be to google it and see if there are teachers or classes near your home.

My recent First Steps:

  • In order to get in shape, I called the doctor to book a consultation needed for the gym inscription.
  • To start playing the violin again, I looked up the prices online
  • To start getting healthier, I implemented one eating habit at a time - ex. stop drinking soda.
  • To get back to writing short stories, I wrote a blog post about it on my French blog.

Get the ball rolling

I don't know if this would work for everyone, but it worked for me. Simplify my goal/ambitions and take a first step was enough to call to another step and get the ball rolling.

Even my big life editing project started small, by culling one drawer at a time. When I first listed my wardrobe items two years ago, I would never have imagined I would manage to edit it the way it is today. Not only do I like all my clothes, feel good in my outfits, but I also feel better in general, much less self conscious than I used to be...

In the end, it is that first step that can turn into big results over time, and actually change our lives.

Do you have a project that is on hold? A goal you can't reach? Or did you turn your projects into action? How did it work for you?

No comments:

Post a Comment