Why hello there. I would like to talk today about beginning, or better yet, the lack of beginning. What is it that keeps you from starting those crazy, or maybe logical ideas that come to your mind? Yesterday I decided to dust off the computer and figure out my username and password to this blog, or website, or whatever they call it these days and start back writing. You can go check it out here if you missed it. The situation had me analyzing the reasons I was making this process so difficult. Why was I procrastinating? What was holding me back? Was I fearful of something? One thing you need to know about me, I will sit and ponder things for hours on end. I may not come up with all the answers, but I WILL be open, honest, and vulnerable with my struggles in the hopes of making things easier for myself and others down the road. Today I shall do just that; I’m going to put it all out on the table of why I had a hard time beginning this new venture and a few others I’ve been walking out this past year. Let’s just have a little “Monique Therapy Session” and see if we can figure it all out. Oh my, this is going to be loads of fun.
Let’s begin this discussion by analyzing “how” we put off a new idea or task. I realize this may seem silly, but recognizing, “knowing” is half the battle. This past week, after reading The One Thing and deciding to give this process a try, my eyes were opened to the many ways I was procrastinating my “one thing”. One of the concepts in the book is to discover your “one thing” and make sure it gets in your day a minimum of four hours. I was inspired and ready to take action. I had my office all ready and my computer charged up. My writing mission was underway, but first, let me go fill up my diffuser with one of my favorite blends. Hang tight computer, I’ll be right back. I grab my phone as I enter the other room and look down to see I had accidently called a friend. Shoot. I will just play it off and have that phone conversation. I mean I need to catch up. When I finally decide to sit back down at my desk, I realize I have two buckets of seed packets I was going to count and add to our inventory for “next year’s” growing season. I mean, HELLO, this is extremely pressing. I figure what’s it going to hurt, and I start counting. A few more to do list and conversations later, I find myself two hours past my allotted time I had given myself to write. Yes, I did get things accomplished. I wasn’t just kicked back eating snacks and watching television, but I was practicing self-sabotage. I was using, and even creating distractions to keep me from my “one thing”. Please tell me I’m not the only one who practices procrastination. Can you think of times you justify the many distractions that keep you from “starting”?
This past year I have been on a journey to be more intentional with my health and wellness. I had a goal to start eating more healthy foods and eliminating items from my diet that were causing inflammation. I was planning on “starting”, but I wanted to finish up a few projects around the house that I was tackling. I knew this was going to be a pretty big undertaking for me, so I wanted to be focused. After about two months of putting it off, I had a friend ask me how my nutrition was going. I explained how I was TOTALLY going to do it, but I just had a few things I was finishing up. Her response shocked me. She simply stated how I didn’t need to make excuses, I just needed to state it wasn’t a priority at that moment. Now listen, she wasn’t being sassy, at least I don’t think, but I walked away really thinking about this statement. It was true, but here’s the deal, it was important to me. I for real, that day, started making changes. Game on. I was determined. I’m pleased to say about six months later I am still going strong on my “better” nutrition journey. We can put off, distract, wait for the perfect time, or we can just start. I’m so glad I took the leap. I believe in this particular situation I was wanting something to be or look perfect. Oh, that my friend will never happen. Beginning looks sloppy and messy many times, and that is “perfectly” okay.
Where does perfection come from, or better yet, the perception of perfection? Is it when we compare our actions or results to what we see from others? Do we make up something in our mind that we think is perfect, then we compare our journey to that made up fairytale? We have all heard the famous quote, “comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s so true. I believe it’s not only the thief of joy, but the stealer of beginnings. We can’t take that first step because we are so fearful it’s not going to measure up to what we have seen from others. Let me be transparent on ways I have allowed comparison to keep me from beginning. When I wanted to pick back up writing more on the blog, I immediately thought of all the amazingly beautiful blogs that are out there with jaw dropping pictures. I mean come on, pictures are important, they draw you in. I can’t tell you how many times over the last few years I have wanted to pick back up writing, but the IMAGES are what would paralyze me, stall me, or make me quit. I wasn’t fearful to start “writing”, I simply felt like I had to “look” like everyone else. Sigh. So, I produced nothing. Comparison is no joke. Yesterday when I hit publish on my post, I had no picture. I paused. I thought about going to try finding one, and then I decided to rebel. I am going to go pictureless. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll go back and add pictures, but I had to at least START. Have there been times you allowed comparison to keep you from beginning?
Alright, are you hanging in there with me? Good. Let’s wrap up our time together by discussing the “what ifs” that keep us from diving into a new journey. When I started to think about all the many things that keep me from beginning, I kept coming up with “what if” statements. What if nobody reads the blog? What if I offend someone with something I say? What if I can’t remember how to login to my website? What if I should be doing something else? What if I post three times and then quit? When I thought about changing my diet it looked like the following “what ifs”. What if I don’t know what to eat? What if I eat something I’m not supposed to? What if I don’t like the way it tastes? What if I can’t find things to eat at our favorite restaurants? What if I starve? (I’m kidding, well kind of.) What if I go to a dinner party and there’s nothing there I can eat? For the love, geez, stop it already. Bottom line is, who cares? Who cares if nobody reads my blog? I like to write and it’s like therapy for me. Who cares if I stop three posts in? At least I got three posts written. I then had to fess up and understand it was PROBABLY going to happen. I was going to get to a restaurant and not know what to eat. I either figure it out or starve. I seriously went to that extreme. I forced myself to figure it out. You quickly learn what’s good and things begin tasting extremely well when you are hungry. We can either stay where we are, or dive head-first into the what ifs and figure it out along the way. Let’s turn that what if around. What if you don’t begin? Well my friend, take a look around where you currently are in life. That’s your view. Hey, it may not be bad, but it’s going to remain that view unless you take action. You will never know “what could have been” if you hadn’t listened to the “what if”.
Have you allowed the “what ifs” to keep you from beginning? I get it. Me too. Let’s decide today that we are never again going to allow these two words to paralyze us any longer. Let’s kick comparison to the curb, you with me? Oh yeah, we can do this. Let’s begin to recognize the times we fall prey to ourselves with procrastination. Listen, I believe in you. The first step may be the hardest, but I’m here cheering you along. YOU CAN DO IT. Let’s link arms and dive off into the unknown together. Ready? Here. We. Go…….