Life's Instruction Manual

The Art of The Start

There are a couple of quotes that often come up when talking about goal-setting. One is “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” And “live your life by design rather than by default.”

I struggle with these quotes because I am an eternal planner. I want to plan for time adjustments, course corrections and obstacles. Then there are supplies: things I need to take ‘just-in-case’ and things that I need to learn. I plan because I don’t want to get things wrong. Who knows what I will meet outside my comfort zone.

You can see the problem with this. I don’t start. I know in my head that I can’t plan for every event. My heart, though, skips a beat when I think about starting without thinking about all the consequences.

That is why I have had some goals on my list for more than 10 years. I am not ready yet.

This year, I have decided to finish. To finish means that I have to start something. How have I got the nerve to get off the starting block? I am taking a longer road.

I am taking one step and evaluating my results. It is easy when the steps are small and the results are visible. A small step to change my eating habits would be one meal at a time. I measure my results in a food log. A small step for mindfulness is a 20 minute meditation session in the morning. The measurable result is a gold star on my calendar every time it is done.

Some days I stop and I don’t take another step. I look around at the world and decide what my next best step is to reach my goal.

This is my attempt to take the most direct route to my goal. Do I have to backtrack? Not often. Do I miss my mark? Not often. Mostly because, when I pause, I see my path might need some adjustments. Then I take a step. As long as I am taking steps forward. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to get there.

Perhaps one day, I will learn to run towards my goal. For today, I am learning to walk, one step forward at a time.