Take the first step

Making a change is one of the hardest things to do. We all get set in our ways and can find it nearly impossible to see our way out of less than healthy patterns of living. But change is always possible. 

Here’s the top four things you can do to take that first step toward the change you want. 

Don’t wait until the perfect time. It never comes. There will always be something that interferes with your plan to get started: an issue at work, a sick kid, a clogged sink. To be successful you need to look beyond the small obstacles in front of you that keep you from tackling the big obstacle down the road. As Muhammed Ali said: "It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."

Focusing on life’s little annoyances is defeating yourself before you start. Deal with what you have to deal with but take time to work on yourself and you’ll find that dealing with those annoyances gets easier and easier. 

Enlist help. Have a support crew that will be there for you. Your spouse, your kids, your friends or your co-workers can be invaluable in keeping you accountable and on track. Tell them about what you want to do and why it’s important to you. Ask them to check in with you. 

Decide, then do. Even the biggest changes can start with a very small step, so don’t wait. Once you’ve decided, take an immediate action. Want to lose weight? Clean the junk out of your refrigerator immediately. Want to work on stress management? Take five minutes of quiet time right now and focus on your breathing. 

Spending too much time getting ready to do something becomes a delaying tactic. (See Don’t wait until the perfect time.)

Set your vision. Take a moment and really feel what your life will be like once you have achieved your goal. Really see it in your head but, more importantly, feel it in your body, your heart, your soul. Enlist your emotional center to make it real. 

To make it even more effective, write down your vision. Be as descriptive as you can be. If you are feeling particularly brave, share it with a loved one. Being vulnerable and exposing your deepest desires and why they are important is one of the bravest things you can do. And, once you’ve done that most courageous act, you can accomplish anything.