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Getting Started on Change

For years I couldn’t figure out what was stopping me from getting in better shape. For the most part, it was just thoughts like, “I’m in decent shape,” or “Wow, sleep is really important, so I’ll sleep in today and go run tomorrow.” But what stopped me from breaking the procrastination cycle? Well, thoughts. It’s always thoughts that prevent change.

Just do it

Nike has a brilliant marketing campaign, “Just do it.” We all know what it means, but not everybody knows just how simple it truly is. You see, most often, if we force ourselves to take that first step to get up, put on our running shoes, shorts and t-shirt and just start moving one foot in front of the other, we quickly realize just how easy follow through can be when we stop thinking and start doing. It’s like Yoda says, “Do or do not, there is no try.” True wisdom is often quite simple in its message.

Knock over that first domino

Here is a great video of a physics teacher taking several dominoes, starting at 5mm, and increasing in height to close to 4 feet and 100 pounds. He lightly touches the tiny one, that knocks over the next, which builds momentum and knocks over the next, and so on, until the final mammoth 100-pound domino is toppled with a loud WHAM!

The metaphor is effective. If we try to look at starting today by running 1/4 mile ending with running a marathon, we are likely to become overwhelmed and give up. However, if we harness the energy from a successful 1/4 mile run, we will go a little over a quarter mile next time, then a half mile, then 2/3, and so on. For many, just a few miles is all we need to stay in shape, for others, a 26.2-mile marathon is the goal.

And . . . GO!!

Regardless of the end goal, take it one domino at a time, celebrate each success, and you will find that your momentum builds and that you will have enough fuel to accomplish many, many things in life; whether it’s getting in shape, saving for retirement, overcoming anxiety or learning to play an instrument.