The Infinite First Step
The first step is the hardest, the rest will follow
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We often think that making a goal and then only following through 20% of the time is not even worth it. That having a meal plan and then only sticking to it a few nights a week is a failure, or that wanting to get to the gym three times a week and all we did was start walking a few times a week, we are not even on track. But this is all in your goal setting perspective.
We think we are not close to the goal until we are actually really close. You want to run a marathon, and by running one mile three times per week, you feel like you are not close at all. Whereas if you were running 20 miles a week you might feel like you are almost there.
But I would challenge you that you are wrong.
I love the idea from Kara Loewentheil she calls the Infinite 1%: The difference between someone who makes a goal and sticks with it only 20% of the time, and the person who has no goal is huge, it is vast. The difference between the person who sets a goal and sticks with it 100% of the time and the person who only sticks with it 20% is small.
The first step is the biggest one.
Becoming someone who makes a meal plan is the hard part, not becoming someone who sticks with the meal plan every day. Going from being a person with no meal plan to being a person who made a meal plan, regardless of whether they stick with it, is the hardest part. Because it is all in your perspective.
Because, you see, it requires you to become a new person, and THAT is hard and scary. Remember, your brain hates hard, scary and new things and will fight you at all costs.
Once you have become the person with the meal plan, you have made the shift into a new identity. You have created a new perspective and way of doing things in your brain: meal planning. And now you are a new person; a person with a plan. This is the hardest step.
Once you become a person with a plan, then all you have to do is continue to implement it. That part is actually the easiest part.
You see, the difference between doing nothing/having no plan, and doing something/having a plan, is the biggest difference.
Going from zero to one. That is the hardest part, the biggest step.
Think of Newtons 1st Law:
“A body in motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest.”
That is the difference; once you have made the first step you are in motion, which is the hard part.
Or, consider the analogy of the rocket: It takes an incredible amount of fuel and power to get that rocket into space. But once in space, once it is moving, it takes hardly any fuel at all (or none if it goes into orbit).
This goes the other way too. If you are in motion and want to stop (say, a bad habit you want to break), that is the hard part: stopping. Once you stop, sticking to it (not doing it) is the easier part.
I think we get too much in our heads, thinking that the end goal is the only thing that matters, that it’s too hard, and if we are not as far as we want to be (or think that we should be), we lose motivation or get discouraged.
But I want to encourage you to remember: once you have started, that is the hardest part. The rest is just putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.
I challenge you to tell yourself, once you have set a goal and started working on it;
“Now I am in the easy part. I did the hard part already, now it is just rinse and repeat.”
What if you had that perspective about your goals and your plans? What would change for you?
Would it bring abundance into your thinking? Make it more fun, more rewarding?
Would it make it easier? Easier to believe you can accomplish it?
I love this quote from Kara Loewentheil:
“The big difference in the world isn’t between people who have done a little versus people who have done a lot. It’s between people who do nothing and people who do something. And this is the tragedy of perfectionism, because perfectionism keeps us thinking that doing a little is pointless. But doing a little is everything.”
I like to think of this as compounding interest, as mentioned in the book The Slight Edge. The difference between someone who spends 15 minutes running a week versus the person who never runs, at the end of one year the first person has spent 780 minutes running and the other: zero. See the difference? Sure, someone who runs for several hours a week versus someone who runs for 15 minutes a week seems big, but they are closer to each other than they are to zero; to the person who does nothing.
Think about it: if you have a goal that you think is too big, so big that you can’t possibly spend enough time on it to get anywhere, so why bother (the risk of perfectionism), after five years where will you be?
Exactly: nowhere. (Or in exactly the same place you are now.)
BUT, if you just did one thing a day, a week, a month, where would you be in five years? So much closer, infinitely closer to your goal than if you had done nothing those five years. And what do you think will be harder: Ramping up your time on your goal once you have established it as a small habit/practice? Or starting from zero and going full hog?
I know you know the answer by now!
When you sit around thinking about how hard it is, how you have no time and can’t do it, you are at rest. You are not doing anything. But if you believe in the Infinite 1% and understand that the hardest part is getting moving and the rest will follow, you will have no excuse not to try!
When you believe, falsely, that the hardest part is the last 1%, you will constantly feel fear, dread, and scarcity. But when you believe the truth, that the first 1% is the hardest; that getting started is what you should be proud of and the rest will follow, then you will trust yourself and the process, and know that you can and will accomplish your goal because you already did the hardest part: getting started. And now you know that you can do hard things! It is all in your goal setting perspective!
Be Gutsy! I believe in you!