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As I’ve been sharing over the last few weeks, I have made some pretty significant changes in my life over the last couple of years. Change is not easy. Some people enjoy or crave change, like my crazy husband, but if you’re like me, you try to avoid it like the plague, usually. In my case, I became dissatisfied with the way my life was going and I could see where I was headed and didn’t want to go there. I knew something needed to change and I knew the change should start with me. So, I started a journey of personal growth and development.
I started reading books and listening to podcasts and watching videos authored by people like Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, Brendon Burchard, John Maxwell, Marie Forleo, Darren Hardy, & Mel Robbins to name a few. As I read and listened and watched, my mindset began to shift. New possibilities started opening up, first in my mind, then in my life.
My new thoughts led to new feelings which led to new actions.
Today I want to talk more about actions. Earlier in my life, I was labeled as a procrastinator. I would always wait to the very last minute to complete a task or start a project. In school, I would put off doing my homework or reading assignment until the last possible moment. The problem with that was I was usually able to pull it off. I got decent grades and passed all my classes easily. Oh but when I think back on my time in school, I have deep regrets. Just think how much more I could have gotten out of school or how much more I could’ve contributed, had I put in more effort.
Academics came fairly easily to me so I was able to “get away” with being lazy and procrastinating. You see I believe that procrastination is more of a habit than anything. In my experience, I was able to “get away with it” so it worked for me. Over time, handling school assignments became handling work assignments and handling household tasks – all with the same lack of care and attention. What I discovered is that if you are a procrastinator, it can affect all areas of your life, even your relationships. It’s really about giving as little effort as possible to complete something. It’s about taking the easiest possible road to get there.
Procrastinating is more of a habit than a character flaw or personality trait.
Through this journey of personal growth and development, I have become a person of action and I’m finding great fulfillment in it. Who knew, right?! Being a person of action is not always easy but I have definitely learned some things that have helped me. One of the key concepts I have adopted is how important it is to just start. Whether it’s starting a blog business (like I did) or an art project or learning a language or starting a business, the key is to start.
Marie Forleo, motivational speaker and host of MarieTV, has said, “The key to making it BIG is starting small.” However, I would tweak that a little bit to say, The key to making it big is starting…period! Click To Tweet But that is easier said than done. There can be many obstacles to starting anything new. Roadblocks that limit our ability to take the first step.
What are some of the roadblocks that keep us from starting?
Here is a list of my top 4
Fear of Failure
This is a big one because fear often keeps us from doing anything at all. Fear can paralyze us and keep us from achieving our goals. Fear of failure is particularly crippling as it can keep us from even starting.
Procrastination is another roadblock to starting something. As I shared earlier, it can keep you from doing your best. It can cause you to miss opportunities and not live up to your potential. You can put something off a little too long and not even be able to participate at all. Again, missed opportunities and regret.
PerfectionismThis may be the biggest, baddest one of all. Fear of failure and procrastination can really be a manifestation of perfectionism. Perfectionism is feeling like everything must be perfect or it is not possible. If it’s not perfect, I can’t publish it, or finish it, or even start it. Perfectionism kept me on the sidelines of life for many, many years. Have you ever heard yourself saying, “Oh, I want to play the guitar” or “I want to be an artist and paint beautiful landscapes?” Being a perfectionist, kept me from accomplishing both of those desires. I wanted to play the guitar but I didn’t want to go through the period of learning when I might not sound perfect. I want to be a painter but struggle with knowing I would not be Van Gogh from my first attempt. Can you relate? Perfectionism is really about fear – fear of failure or fear of judgment. Click To Tweet
We have to be willing to loosen our hold on perfectionism if we want to make progress in starting something. I have struggled with perfectionism and it has kept me trapped in a world of under-achievement and lack of fulfillment. When I started my blog business in March 2019, I wanted everything to be perfect, of course. I spent months doing research and taking classes to learn all about starting a blog business. I could have just stayed in “learning mode” and never pulled the trigger on my dream. But there came a point in time when I had to say, “Okay, I’m doing this. My launch date is March 1, 2019.” I had to come to terms with my feelings about perfectionism and be willing to try something new.
The new thought I embraced is that there will never be a perfect time. It is not about perfection, it’s about progress. Jack Canfield said it this way, “You do not have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going.” YES! I have found this to be true. Then, once you get going, it is much easier to keep going. You may discover that you are really good at it. So instead of kicking yourself for all the lost time and opportunities, embrace the good feeling of accomplishment and let it fuel your future.
Lack of a Clearly Defined Goal
Another roadblock that keeps us from starting is not having a clearly defined goal. In order to move forward, you have to know what you are moving toward. Without a clearly defined goal, it is very easy to stay immobile and let life pass by. That is how I lived most of my life, watching life pass by and doing as little as possible to get by, always taking the path of least resistance.
You’ve heard it said that you get out of life what you put into it. Well, I believe that to be true. In my personal growth journey, I have discovered that I want a lot more out of life. In fact, I want an extraordinary life and I now understand that I must put in extraordinary effort in order to achieve that.
It takes extraordinary effort to achieve an extraordinary life!
If you are wanting more out of life and you need help, I would encourage you to start reading personal growth books. (I’ll include links to some of my favorite personal growth and development books below). Start listening to podcasts and watching videos by great thought leaders. You will discover that your thoughts begin to shift and once that happens, you will be positioned for making great changes.
One of the practical tools that have helped me the most is Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Planner. Brendon has done years of research and planning in the process of creating this great planner. It is structured in a way that helps you organize your thoughts and set intentions for your day. This planner goes way beyond a typical planner that simply captures your to-do list and appointments. It has helped me to have a plan, first of all, but then it helps me implement my plan because it is also focusing my mind on what is important.
My husband and I each have this planner so we also use it as a communication tool to share with each other about our thoughts, our intentions, our goals, and dreams. I highly recommend this planner!!