“I don’t know what to do, but I I’ll just do it anyway.”
My thoughts exactly when I first went out for a run in March 2010. I was sick of reading these guides. Everything I read gave mixed opinions, what the hell should I believe in? I was confused, and sick, and tired but I just started.
And that exact moment when I started doing something to my health and fitness was the moment that changed my life forever.
We all have moments. Sometimes we create them. Sometimes it is thrusted upon us even if we are perfectly fine without them. You know those perfect moments when you can magically bench press a super heavy weight as though a barbell angel was there helping you at every rep. Or that moment when your boss decided to give you a raise.
And then there are times where we wait for the right moment to come. Like:
When the kids finish school.
When winter ends and the weather outside is better.
When I turn 25 in July.
When I have enough money to afford a pair of Asics.
When I feel like I’m ready to quit my job.
When I saved enough to buy that plane ticket.
When my partner/parents let me.
Oh and a classic one — On Monday. It’s a new week.
Tomorrow. Next week. Never. Never. Never.
The problems with waiting for the perfect moment
Moments come and go. The thing is, we don’t know when special moments is going to happen. So why do we still wait for the perfect moment to start when we don’t even know when it is coming?
If you’re waiting for Monday or you’re guilty of always waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to get started, here are the problems of it.
Problem 1. I could have ______ but ______.
For most of us, it is much easier to avoid the risk of failing then to start something and fail. Doing real work is risky, it’s much easier to distract and justify. If we’re a perfectionist, it’s much easier to avoid than risk embarrassment and criticism.
But the one most common reason I find is this — I could _______ but _______. I could have take up that project but I’ll let someone else more senior than me do it. I could have woken up earlier to go for a run but I would rather sleep a little longer.
This statement saves us from all the pain and agony. Unfortunately, it also saves us from growing, thriving and being the best we can potentially be.
Problem 2. The perfect time is never going to come.
Sure there are perfect moments but as I’ve mentioned above, there is no way we can tell when that perfect time is going to come. Let’s put this into perspective.
You have just been diagnosed with mild hypertension and diabetes and have been advised by your doctor to change your diet. You feel like you’re ready to make the change so you start buying cookbooks with diabetic friendly recipes. You gain inspiration, cookbooks after cookbooks but you still haven’t made one single meal because after all that you feel like you’re not ready to give up your favourite foods. And then you tell yourself that it’s just mild diabetic and the doctor don’t seem ‘pushy’ enough. So you wait.
If that sounds familiar, here’s a little story of myself.
After returning from after two years being away, I started working in a travel agency because I thought I would love talking about travelling and helping people plan their travels and holidays. Until it was my second week in store that I started realising that this job is not for me. I wanted to quit but I told myself I should just give myself a couple more weeks to settle in. Maybe it was just a change I’m getting used to. Turned out that the longer I stayed in that job, the more miserable I become further affecting my emotions and my relationship.
My initial intention of just giving it a few more weeks killed my drive, motivation and time. If only I had submitted my resignation letter earlier.
Do you see where this is going? The perfect time will never come until we consciously make decisions to create moments and take them.
Problem 3. Starting in the middle
“I can’t get started. That’s the problem!”
No it’s not the problem. The problem is you started at the wrong spot. You were suppose to start in the beginning, right from the start but perhaps you started in the middle — the place where people have started is making.
Let’s take a fitness plan for example. You start committing to a plan because the cover on the latest issue of a fitness magazine promises flat, toned abs in three weeks. You start committing to a plan that requires you to work out six days a week when you can barely remember when was the last time you worked out. And then you fail, miserably. You think this dream of yours to be healthier is stupid so you quit.
You may think the problem is you getting started, but it’s not. The problem is you started in the middle. Or in a moment where things are way more complex — when your body and mind can only handle a small amount of change.
That is why I constantly tell my clients and my readers that the same fitness plan that works on your best friend might not work for you.
You have to get started but you have to start in the beginning. At your level.
Create and take moments. The perfect time is now.
The thing with moments is, nobody is ever going to give it to us. Say that perfect moment was you meeting your partner in that cafe on a Sunday. Did you even plan to meet anyone? Maybe not, but you sure did make plans even if it was last minute to grab a coffee from that cafe. Maybe too you did make plans to meet someone and you know that it’s time to settle down so you were more aware in meeting new people. That was the moment you created.
You have to create moments, and I mean it literally. Chase them if you have to. Create them and take control of them. Bite off more than you can chew. Stick your foot in your mouth anytime. You have to do it for yourself.
The past is gone, even if it’s recent, and the future is not guaranteed. The only time we have that is certain is right now. Today. Where you’re sitting right now. That is the perfect moment.
Let’s get started. Together.
Now that we’ve covered the problems behind waiting for the perfect time, here are some action plans you can take to get started, and we’ll do it together.
1. Start from the beginning.
How do we know it is the right start for us? When that action you’re taking propels you forward. Let’s go back to the cookbook example. So you bought the cookbook with diabetic friendly meals. If you’re still sitting there eating stuffs you know you shouldn’t, it simply means you’ve started way too far.
Maybe starting from the beginning might mean just having a proper breakfast once a week. Or even as simple as writing down a goal. Or going to the grocery shop and getting one — just one, healthy ingredient. For some of us, starting can be just putting one foot out in front of the other. Starting means initiating and to take action. It does not have to be hard. But it does require the act of doing.
And remember this, it is hard to take the first step, but once you get through it, it will never come again.
2. Know that there will be difficult times ahead.
It is inevitable. You will come across something in the near future that is some sort of a roadblock, always standing in your path in achieving success. But you have to remember this — just because something did not go your way doesn’t mean you failed and you have to quit. It does not work that way.
You have to push through all the road block, resistance and difficult times with as much force as you possibly can.
– Just because the spinach you had in your salad tasted so bad does not mean you stop eating vegetables completely.
– Just because you forgot to set the alarm the night before and you missed the morning scheduled workout does not mean you stop completely.
– Just because your boss rejected that proposal you spent five back to back nights preparing for it does not mean you stop trying.
As a matter of fact, these road blocks should serve as a positive purpose in your life. Instead of dwelling on it, learn from it. Difficult times do not last but tough people like you do and I know you are because you’re reading this blog and many others.
– Instead of having spinach, try other vegetables and only have a little bit of it at a time. Don’t try to eat turnips when you hate vegetables to the root of it (pun intended). There are a hundred different ways to get your serve of veggies. Keep experimenting and you’ll find something that is palatable for you.
– Instead of skipping the workout that day, find time in the evening to be active. It might not be the same intensity as the one you planned in the morning but at least you did something.
– Instead of completely quitting because you just got rejected, try and try again. Rejection hurts, I know. I’ve been rejected by countless employers saying things like ‘it’s not a reflection of your skills and experiences but rather we have found other candidates that suits the job scope better.’. And it is those rejections that puts me to where I am today and for that I am forever thankful.
3. Get support, even if it’s only to get you started.
We can start and stay moving on our own, but it sure helps to have someone there to help push or pull us to get started.
Like a coach. Or a mentor. Someone you trust who’ve been there before.
Think of yourself like a rocket. In order for you to push against gravity (the resistance) to leave planet Earth (the dream), you need a boost (the support). And then once you’ve pushed yourself through that gravity, you become lighter around the atmosphere and you can go on just right without the boost.
In starting something new, it’s always hard to get started so consider finding a support person. Eventually we don’t need that support anymore and you’re up there in the great big universe making your way to Venus.
But in the beginning, we had to start.
Putting it all together…
If you’re constantly waiting for the right time to come, here are some tips for you to break free from waiting for the perfect moment.
– There is no other time that is perfect than now. It is also the only certain time you have in your life.
– Chase moments. Create moments. Take moments.
– Just start. Do something. Anything. Even if it’s only 5 minutes a day.
– Starting something is hard. But once you’ve pushed through that initial phase with grit and faith, it will never come again. Don’t stop trying.
– Difficult times will come, but you have to push through it each time. Do not give up. It makes you a better person once you get through it and you can finish what you started.
– Get support. Even if it’s for the time being. Even if it’s just to get you started. And then you can go be a rocket machine.
Here’s your challenge…
I challenge you today, my Pretty Awesome readers to cross something out from your to-do list and get started. Even if it’s for two minutes out of the 1440 minutes we were blessed with today. It could be something like walking 2 extra minutes after an interval run. Or doing 10 reps of squats. Or even something like coming home earlier so you get to spend more time with your kids.
And then share with us, by writing in the comment section below — what is the thing you’re starting on and how is it helping you get to your ultimate goal or dream. I would love to hear them and I’m sure all of us here do too.
Whatever it is, go launch like a rocket. I’ll be here cheering on you. Just get started because the perfect time is now. And you know damn right that’s how it is.
Have a good week. :)
P.s. I’ll be writing from Singapore on Thursday! It’s always nice to be back home so I’m very excited! Will definitely update you all about that! :)