Just take the next right step.
I find myself repeating this “mantra” a lot. Yes, to my clients and cohorts… but honestly, quite often to myself. I get stuck at the starting line more times than I care to admit. It doesn’t matter if it’s launching a new idea or launching myself out of bed, sometimes it’s just hard to begin.
Maybe you can relate.
Overwhelmed by the mountain of must-do’s looming before us, we can find ourselves inert at the base, discouraged before we even get started. Maybe we don’t have enough information or skill, time or energy. Maybe the task or project has so many interwoven layers our eyes go cross trying to sort out which comes first. Or maybe it’s something more:
Fear — that we’ll fail. Fear’s job is to keep us safe. But too often it keeps us small or not moving at all.
Negative thinking — “It’s too difficult.” “I don’t have what it takes.” “It’s already been done before.” Negative thinking often feels like we’re being “realistic”. But when it keeps us shrinking back from what is good, we’ve got to break through the pattern and back to action.
Procrastination — not getting started. Or Perfectionism — not finishing or following through. Both come from having beautiful, high standards, while simultaneously protecting us from being judged. Unfortunately both causes us to set huge or impossible goals that keep us stuck.
So how do we get moving? While there are specific strategies for every specific inhibitor, there is one that works on all of them, and it’s a great place to start.
Yep, you guessed it: Just take the next right step.
Don’t overthink the “right” part. What’s “right” is whatever small step you can easily do right now. With emphasis on easy. The smaller the better, so keep cutting the steps in half until it feels like hardly a step at all. That’s the one you want.
Sometimes the next right step is simply writing down all the possible next right steps you can brainstorm. So brainstorm for three minutes, then stop. Get them out of your head and onto paper. Unformed thoughts or not-yet-acted-upon goals grow scarier when roaming wild and free in the worry regions of our brains, so get them out. Write them down. They suddenly lose their monster status and shrink to contained little marks on paper, marks we can control, decide on, change or cut down further in size. You have the power now, and can decide the next right (easy) step for you.
The secret here: Any small movement gets you moving.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but grasp this and it makes all the difference. The movement you need to get you moving again is that teeny tiny action you can accomplish right now, in just a few seconds or a few minutes.
– Need to plan a dinner party? Set out the cookbooks.
– Organizing the community leadership meeting? Make one call inviting one leader.
– Not sure what to do at all? Google whatever phrases come to mind on the topic for five minutes. Then stop.
Take one small, super easy step… and celebrate! You’ve made progress. You’ve gone from stuck to start. One step, one action, and you’re moving again.
I promise you, it works. Movement breaks inertia, no matter how micro it may seem.
And then do it again. Take the next right step. Then take another. And another. And another. And one tiny step at a time you’ll be developing a habit of completion.
Before you know it you’ll be halfway up that mountain. And instead of just dreaming about the life you could be living or the goals you could be achieving, you’ll be living and breathing them right into reality one small step at a time.