Starting is the hardest part of anything—of cleaning the house, of getting into yoga, of becoming fit, or planning a trip, renovating your bathroom, writing your book, that song, that film, of learning meditation, or painting or how to build a house.
Starting is no doubt the steepest step, the biggest hurdle, the most giant obstacle standing between where you are and what it is you want to achieve.
That’s because the first step is the heaviest, the one with the most resistance, the one requiring the most effort, the most motivation to move through, the biggest hit of inspiration to ignite. It takes more effort to light a fire from nothing then it does to feed it kindling and newspaper to watch it burn. You’ve gotta psych yourself up for the process of beginning just to get the gears rolling, and get yourself revved up enough to deal with the challenges you know are waiting for you, especially when you’re about to tackle something big like your dreams.
Let’s be honest, it’s much smoother and easier, and probably a hell of a lot more enjoyable to just get in an extra hour of sleep, or a glass of wine, or sink in to your couch watching a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g that’s on rather than sitting down to map out your book, your next investment or your feature film. Starting is the rough part, gaining momentum takes energy, getting the juices flowing and getting into the zone takes work, but that’s only a small part of why we resist beginning.
We don’t stay stagnant just because moving towards are goals is a challenge, I think we stay smouldering in our own stuck-ness because the whole process is intimidating.
Where will I start, will I be good enough, am I going to disappoint myself, will I look stupid if I’m not any good at this, or what happens if I can’t actually write, or draw, or touch my toes or even make it a kilometer on my run without feeling like I’m going to puke my guts out? We’re scared of what we’ll tell ourselves if we don’t exceed our own expectations, and righteously so—our self-judgement is nothing to mess around with, I mean really, who wants to be on the receiving end of that type of ruthless, heartless sabotage?
And then just to add a little more spice to your life you have the gem of resistance to actually being a beginner, about being inexperienced, about being new, about not having mastered blank, blank and blank yet, but the thing is, you have to go through that initiation of not knowing what the hell you’re doing to get to the sweetness of knowing—ten thousand hours to become an expert at something has to start somewhere right?
So when we’re dealing with our dreams, with our goals and our aspirations, why not sit down and give ourselves a lil’ pep talk, a whole lot of compassion and a big dose of the reminder that it’s totally normal to be terrified of tackling whatever it is we are attempting. Just because we’re scared, and just because we know the next few steps are going to be hard, doesn’t mean it’s not going to be worth it.
It’s normal, it’s part of the process, and if they’re big goals—vast, expansive, intricate, time-consuming, rock-your-world-into-complete-metamorphisis type goals—then I figure hell yeah, it’s probably expected that you’re bound to be just a little bit freaked out.
It’s not the easiest of tasks to sit with the fact that although we want something, we know the journey towards it is going to be rough. It’s a challenge in itself to choose anyway to dedicate yourself to something that’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of practice, mega, mega practice to achieve—it’s daunting and off-putting, and as big as the goal is itself.
We just need to be reminded of the knowledge that these goals of yours—the dream house, dream job, dream practice, dream life, are not just going to spontaneously, magically, effortlessly, fall into your lap, unfortunately no, no they’re not. But with dedication and discipline and diligence those bad boys can still be yours, you’re just going to have to work for it and towards it.
Floating into handstand is never going to happen if we only stretch our hips, or never try and kick up, or don’t get on your mat and rock that shit out every single day until we get there. We won’t be making a living as an artist if we never sit down and move through the tough and tiresome patches to master our art, and we definitely won’t be waking up to the sound of the ocean and dolphins squeak squeaking if we don’t work for it and plan for it and save for it.
It’s up to you to make your goals your reality, because although I wish it wasn’t so, dreams don’t just magically unfold simply because you wish them to.
Action is the biggest truth and your biggest asset, so why is it again that you haven’t started moving towards your goals? Even though it isn’t easy, find solace in the knowing that starting is the hardest part!
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta