Very often, when we decide to create a new habit we are really clear on what we want to change and how that change will make a huge difference in the quality of our lives. This clarity is key — it’s what will keep us focused and sustain our effort.
However, our end goal is usually far from where we are currently starting. So we start at the beginning with excitement and motivation and after a few solid attempts of making the change, we expect to be at the end. The thing is we’ve forgotten to consider from where we are starting and all the steps that need to be taken between the beginning and the end.
You must start where you are at.
I’ve been considering why we tend to have this natural tendency to want to get to the end goal so quickly. Is it our culture of instant gratification? Maybe. Is it the way we often want what others have? Could be. But I think it has more to do with the discomfort we feel in the situation we are currently in and how we think that when we get to the end goal, life will be so much better. I am sure when you get to that life-changing end goal, your life will feel much better. But I don’t want to disregard where you are right now too.
Where you are at is perfectly ok.
Maybe your desk is a mess and you keep missing deadlines and your boss is all over you. Or maybe your jeans don’t fit and you are terrified to get on the scale. Or you promised yourself you’d have the draft of that book together by now and all you have are some thoughts jotted down on three post-it notes (and you’re not even sure where they are). It’s all ok — you are right now, in this moment, still the amazing person that you will be when you reach your goal. However, when you get there, you will just be more organized, thinner, have a book draft written...
You get the idea, you are pretty fabulous now.
So I want you to jot down where you are at in all its messiness and then I want you to jot down why it’s fabulous. Yup — the mess on your desk. Why is it fabulous? Then I want you to jot down your end goal — and also note why it will be fabulous. Terrific, we are now clear on the beginning and the end.
Now it’s time to figure out the middle.
This is where the real action, hard work and change is going to happen. You’ll begin with a start date and finish at an end date and then fill in all the steps between. And yes, there will be steps, many of them. The beauty of knowing where you started is that you’ll be able to celebrate each and every step you take to that end goal. You’ll see the results, in real time. You’ll be able to notice what works and what doesn’t and adjust on the fly.
See the difference?
Had you jumped right it — and went charging for your end goal — you may have been clear from where you were starting and where you wanted to end, but you would have missed all the steps you needed to take in between. To get you started, I’ve created a Start to Finish Map for you, which you can download here.
Now you tell me (by posting in the comments or replying to this email), from where are you starting? Where do you want to go? What are the steps you’ll take. What can I help you with?