Are you on the edge of a new Chapter yet afraid to take the leap to get started? Is there something you want to begin but find yourself procrastinating to put the wheels in motion?
You’re not the only one who ever feels that way. It happens to the best of us.
Maybe this article is exactly the tiny nudge you need to quit stalling and get moving.
For all our good intentions, sometimes things we want to change or accomplish in life just never get started. I’m wondering if some of those stalled starts are a result of a fear of failure. Of not being able to finish what we started. Of being afraid we might not be able to accomplish what we set out to do.
So consequently some things we intend to do never get off the ground.
Yet here’s what I’ve discovered about most people . . .
We’ve finished a lot more “Starts” than we give ourselves credit for. It’s just that so many of us are terribly out of practice. Not with Starting but with recognizing all those small victories along the way to the big ones.
Take a Moment to Reflect
A few weeks ago, I asked you to reflect on your life over the past two years and take an honest look at what you’ve accomplished. Here’s a little exercise to put you in the moment.
Think back over the past 24 months.
What was happening to you at the beginning of 2015? Were you in a state of transition? Had you come to a fork in the road? Did you make a decision to change some negative behavior? Were you in a slump or excited at the thought of trying something new? Were you facing a personal or health crisis? Was someone close to you affecting a change in your life?
Before reading any further, please take a minute, close your eyes and replay that two-year life video in your head.
Now answer the question, “What Chapter did I write in these past two years? What did I accomplish? If I’m a work in progress, how’s the progress moving along?”
Was that a difficult question for you to answer? I’m not surprised if you’re nodding your head yes right now. Most of us think we didn’t accomplish much and isn’t that just too darned bad?
Now for part two of the exercise . . .
So what didn’t you accomplish in the past two years that you thought you might?
My guess is that it doesn’t take you five seconds to come up with a long list of things such as, “I didn’t reconcile with my family. I failed to finish the fitness program I promised myself I’d start. The books I intended to read are still sitting on my nightstand unread. My marriage isn’t where I’d like it to be. The relationships with my kids are strained. I’m still so unhappy. I didn’t make the career change I’d hope to make.”
And the final question. Drum roll please . . .
Why is it so much easier to list what you did not do . . . what you failed at doing . . . instead of what you succeeded at doing?
Maybe 2017 is the year for it to stop. And to stop it, the first thing you need to do is look back.
Looking in the rear view mirror doesn’t mean you’re going in reverse.
You see, if you quit beating yourself up for five minutes, and if you stand back and objectively watch that video in your head, you did accomplish things. Maybe not exactly what you expected but there were small victories in the past 730 days.
Maybe you’re just way past due to honor your successes instead of beating yourself up for your failures.
One tiny step. A small change in behavior. A single phone call. An attempt. Simply starting is one day of change. Strung together it’s a shift in your life. The beginning of a new Chapter. An intentional step in a new and positive direction.
We are pretty good at encouraging others. If we know someone is trying we offer praise and reinforcement. Yet we’re not all that good at praising ourselves. And maybe it’s time we do. Just like this reader did for herself:
I have numerous family weddings coming up this year. If I ever had a weight loss goal, it would be now. After struggling my entire life with weight, I finally feel I have a grip on it. I’ve lost 30 pounds in the last 2 years but 15 of those in the last 3 months. I have an absolutely beautiful dress for the wedding and feel the prettiest I have ever felt, except for maybe my own wedding.
For years I have been so hard on myself because of the weight and it’s so freeing, both mentally and physically, to have this burden lifted.
I guess I am telling you all of this because your blog hit me when you said to give myself a pat on the back. It’s funny how I beat myself up so easily for my failures yet forget to congratulate the little wins.
Thanks for the reminder.
Thank YOU, dear reader, for expressing yourself so beautifully.
Celebrate Your Successes!
How about you? Do you need a daily reminder to be kinder to yourself? To do a little celebrating of your own?
I love this idea from Christine Hassler (http://christinehassler.com), another wonderfully inspiring Life Coach.
Find a picture of yourself as a little child and put it in your wallet or on your computer screen or bathroom mirror. Make sure the photo is somewhere where you’ll see it every single day.
Now look at that cute little kid. Really look.
Then ask yourself this question, “How would I encourage this little person? Would I celebrate her efforts? Would I believe in her? Affirm her efforts no matter how small? If she failed, would I give her credit for trying again and again?”
Of course you would.
Here’s what I’d like you to remember:
There is still a little child in all of us with a need to be praised and encouraged through all the attempts she makes and the obstacles she must overcome.
Maybe your little child just needs a touch more recognition and a few more pats on the back to take the next step. And maybe the pat on the back needs to originate from you.
Celebrate your successes no matter how small they seem. Because all those small successes weave themselves together for the start of something new. For you!
Sometimes you just need a little reminding.
What small victories have you forgotten to celebrate lately? Every day you have a choice to make a step in the right direction. It’s easy to do. And it’s easy not to do. I look forward to reading your thoughts below in the comments.