When starting a new project, a million little monsters (also known as excuses) can pop up in your head encouraging you to push it off to the slot marked on your calendar as “tomorrow.” Wanting to approach the situation with ease, we search for security in this new endeavor cushioning ourselves with the concept of preparedness, hoping to gather every last puzzle piece before taking a leap. In fear of being vulnerable to this new experience, we create a “perfect time” in our heads, which sometimes never arrives. This can be said of anything; from adapting a healthier lifestyle, starting a new job, finishing an assignment, or starting a business.
Hate to break it to you, but there is never a perfect time for you to take action. There is never a perfect moment for you to start a new project, to write a book, to start working out in the morning, or to take up a new hobby. Once you acknowledge and accept this, you will get rid of the anxiety and fears leading up to it and create more meaningful and productive work everyday. Just like writing essays in high school, the hardest part is always getting your thesis started.
There’s a phrase “It takes ten years to become an overnight success.” There’s a reason this pattern shows up over and over. And it’s not just about putting in hard work over a long period of time. Although success is often glorified as a grand “go big or go home” mentality, any of these people will attest that it was their daily habits for YEARS that brought them to this position.
Don’t let time deter you, wanting everything now or being impatient because you want control of the timeline. Rather, take on the approach of micro-changes (also known as The Domino Strategy). Start with something small, easily knocking over the first domino. After that, align the dominoes in a sequence where each small step makes the next one possible.
That book you’ve wanted to read for months that’s getting dusty? Read a page tonight!
Even if its just one. Rather than becoming paralyzed by a huge task, the key is small steps every day. By the end of the week you’ll be done with a chapter. Nearly everything that we do everyday is habit-driven. So much of our thoughts, emotions, and actions are driven by habit. By starting with small habits and less risk of failure, we eliminate the major roadblock of procrastination.
The micro-changes approach can definitely help you break the roadblock of procrastination. But it won’t help you overcome the fear of failure, possibly the biggest dream killer. To push past that, you really have to dig deep and understand what drives you. Sometimes you’ll start and realize you aren’t feeling it after six months….and that’s OKAY! Maybe it will lead you to something better. If you set a goal with enough meaning behind it, then you’ll do anything to overcome the things that hold you back. Even the fear of failure.
I learned this when starting my own company just under a year ago. It wasn’t until I launched my own company into the community that I accepted and released the fears of what “could happen” which is what prevented me from taking action for as long as I had. I was afraid of the hard work, having to try things for the first time, and most importantly the new role I was being given because it was unfamiliar. Accepting the fact that it was a new challenge for me and that I WOULD make mistakes allowed me to finally start taking steps and just do it (aka ridding the perfectionist dilemma). FYI, doing it isn’t as bad as you make it out to be.
Content courtesy of Michelle Finn, Founder of Pop Design Shoppe
Contributing Author, Michelle Finn
Michelle has a strong marketing background in a versatile set of roles including social media, events, and field marketing. She fell in love with design and combined it with her skills to create her business, Pop Design Shoppe. In the future, she hopes to continue her work within design or the arts (including interior design, fashion, the visual arts, and event design). She wants to continue working on projects that create impact. Her perfect day includes a morning workout, sunny day at the beach (preferably with her dog joining) followed by an evening out with friends at an event.