Change is hard, and our brains are wired to return to what feels comfortable and predictable. That’s why big changes can be so hard, and why we can often get overwhelmed staring at the big picture and seeing how far we have to go. But if you start slow, you can build momentum without getting overwhelmed.
If you want to start walking thirty minutes a day, five days a week, start with just five minutes a day. If you feel like continuing after five minutes, go for it! But all you have to focus on when you start is that crucial first step. That’s all.
If you want to start eating better, identify just one change you can make in your diet. Keep that going for a while, then see where you are and what step to take next later. Often, when our mind thinks something is going to be easy, there’s not much resistance to just starting. And then, once we start, we can immediately start to feel that sense of achievement, movement, and hope—and that allows us to begin to build momentum to keep going. The longer you stay in prep mode without starting, however, and the longer you contemplate the huge mountain ahead of you that you have to climb, the more immobilized you’ll feel.
Try not to psych yourself out by setting the bar too high. Confidence should be built by setting and achieving a small goal before going for a bigger one. After all, what feels better, knowing you have a big project ahead of you, or knowing that you are already on the path and doing what you need to do? Be patient with yourself and try not to get frustrated with the process. Accomplishing those small goals first can give you the motivation and inspiration to take the next step. And the next!
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a big goal and forget that those big goals are really just a collection of lots and lots of little goals. And all you are really responsible for at any one time is a single one of those actions. Once you meet one goal, promise yourself you will look again and set the next one. But before then, your main job is just to get the current step completed. A lot of people believe that if they cannot summon the energy, money, time, or willpower to achieve the entire massive goal all at once, then they can’t start and might as well not bother. But that’s not true!