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5 Steps To Start Any Goal


No matter what you want to accomplish — improve your job, start a business, lose twenty pounds, remodel your kitchen, run a marathon — you need to start somewhere.

I’m a visual learner, meaning having tangible objects, images and lists, help me stay organized and learn new concepts. Most of my writing starts as messy scribbles on paper. Main ideas get transferred to index cards and then tacked on the walls in some order that is easily rearranged — you should see my walls!

What follows is a suggestion to a process that works (most times) for me and is applicable to starting most goals:

1. Try mind mapping.

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. In the center of a blank page, write your goal. Draw lines from the goal to other ideas that relate to the main goal, such as images, words and ideas. Major ideas are connected directly to the goal, and other ideas branch out from those. Scribble whatever ideas come to mind. Note: The result should be a mess!


Mind map of this blog post

2. Take small bites.

I’m a big believer in breaking big ideas into manageable chunks. Whether you use mind mapping or other organizational methods, write out the steps needed to get you from beginning to end. For mind mapping I’ll underline or circle major ideas and then branch off those with details. Clean up your map into something legible, and usable. Tackle one major idea or step at a time. Hint: Consider starting with the hardest one first.

3. Work your plan.

Follow your steps. If you mess up, so what. It’s not the end of your goal. Start again until you’re happy with the progress and move on.  Running a marathon takes training and conditioning. Remodeling a bathroom or starting a business have their own steps from beginning to using the multi-head shower or flipping around the ‘Open’ sign. Stick to your plan and adjust as necessary.

People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of. ~Paulo Coelho

4. Keep a journal of your progress.

This isn’t a new concept. When I write things down they become real. If your plan is to lose twenty pounds, write down everything you eat and all the exercises you do. Having the facts in your face is often motivator enough to stay on track, and keep you out of the refrigerator.

5. Visualize the end.

Tack up images of what you wish to accomplish. Cooking in your new kitchen, crossing the finish line, fitting into your skinny jeans. Put them in a place you’ll see during the day.

You don’t need to create a lovely “Dream Board” or write a “Wish List” in colorful markers. Put up a “Finally Fucking Doing It” billboard.

Don’t get discouraged. False starts are better than no starts. It’s reasonable to assume you won’t win or succeed right out of the shoot. Anything worth your doing will inevitably face many stops, resets and restarts. This is the way to learn and improve.

Only you will hold you back for another year.


Original graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio

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