“I’ll start eating healthier after I get back from vacation next month.”
“I’ll start going to the gym after I’ve lost a few pounds.”
“I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping this week so I’ll eat better next week.”
Do any of these sound familiar? How many times have you had a good idea for how to get to the gym, eat better, live a healthier lifestyle but found reasons to stand in your way of taking that first step?
Tell you what: The best plan is the one you start, taking that very first step.
For context, I have been working writing down sales system for TruFit. This is something I watched my predecessor do over the course of four years; this is what I’ve been doing for almost two years myself. And yet, it took me THREE MONTHS to write down what I do and how I do it so that I can teach someone else to take over that task.
What am I waiting for? Why am I dragging my feet with this? What is standing in the way of me actually taking ONE HOUR to write down something I already know how to do? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? Well… These are strikingly similar questions we may have asked ourselves about getting through the gym doors. Right? Or eating that first healthy meal?
At the end of talking about my issue, my amazing coach Pearla Phillips said to me, "Do not let your planning stand in the way of you starting."
Those questions above: They're really judge-y. They don’t help me take that first (or second, third, etc) step forward. Those are not questions I would ask a friend or loved one if they were having trouble taking the first step. And why wouldn’t we talk to ourselves the same way we would talk to our best friend?
When faced with procrastination, what if we tried another tactic on for size? What if we focused on seeing what the future might look like if we took that first step -- no matter where we might be in the planning process -- instead of picking apart the present moment in which we feel stuck in the first place?
Let’s create a case study in which an individual wants to start eating healthier food at lunch. She’s been saying this for a while but hasn’t figured out when she can meal plan and prep.
Here are 5 questions I might ask if I was coaching this imaginary woman:
What if our “case study” asked herself these questions? It might go a little like this:
What, right now, is one small step you can take even if your plan isn’t polished or timing isn’t great?
Make myself a salad at the salad bar.
What is the worst thing that would happen if you started today or tomorrow?
My salad could suck and feel unsatisfying and then I’d go eat a brownie.
How would you take care of that worst thing if it did happen?
Move on, I guess. Try again at the next meal and make sure there's at least something small in my lunch that I look forward to.
What is the best thing that could happen?
The salad might taste pretty good and not be as hard to make as I thought it would be and I continue on for a long time!
So, now, when will you execute this first small step?
Boiled down, what does our procrastination usually come down to?
Fear of failure.
And how bad would it ACTUALLY be if we failed? In the grand scheme, not that bad! I might argue it would even be good. Because what can we learn from failing — or envisioning the worst thing that could happen? We'd figure out how to get up, learn from the falling down and move on, one small step at a time.