Friday, January 31, 2014

Go on – take the first step

The mornings may be getting lighter, but at 6.30am in January, it is still more appealing to ignore the alarm and keep snuggled under the duvet. But today, instead I ignored the lure of a final half an hour of coziness and donned my running shoes for a blast of exercise. Yes, it is a resolution for 2014 – and we all know what often happens with good intentions – but the difference this year, is an attitude of “just do it” (thank you Nike). And of course to “just do it”, I had to stop talking about wanting to run and literally take the first step.

A coach’s job is to help unispring ideas and motivation within their clients – coming from the belief that we all have the resourcefulness within us. So we often know what changes we have to make, whether it is exercise, taking a decision to move jobs or to deal with a non performing team member. The trick is to get started! Sure, discuss your issue at length, build a plan of action, evaluate best routes, think things through, but there will be no change unless you actually do something. Here are some ideas

  1. Break your pattern, do something spontaneous, whether it is going for a 10 minute walk or sitting at a different desk. There is nothing like a change of scenery to change your perspective
  2. Perfectionists beware! Break down your goal into bite sized chunks and then bite off the first one. Overwhelm is the enemy of action. When I realised I could start my running campaign with just 10 minutes – and in that I could walk as well – all of a sudden it wasn’t so hard to start
  3. Identify what is stopping you. Is it laziness, a move out of your comfort zone, fear of the unknown or failure? Face it. No excuses - bite sized chunks of action make your excuses smaller. And remember, if you don’t start, nothing will happen anyway
  4. Get support. If you are truly stuck ask a friend for help – to provide the motivational rally cry, the encouragement from the side of the sports field. Peer pressure works
  5. Shout about it. Hit the social networks and drum up your cheerleaders 
  6. Become accountable. Diarise when you are going to do it. Put it in your diary now
  7. Be mindful. Take some time away from the world of screens and stimulation. Remove your distractions. Use that time to visualise success and recall feelings of success you have had in the past
  8. Change your evening pattern. Ensuring restful periods of time before sleep helps us have a balanced approach to life and helps us to knock through barriers and excuses
  9. Honestly assess the consequences of not getting started. Procrastination can make events spiral into even more complex challenged
  10. Think through your rewards. What benefits and impact will making this change bring to your life?

I love this quote from Martin Luther King which can be applied in any context - “Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase.”

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