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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

How a small start can lead to bigger rewards

Everyone has goals. They may be big, like starting a business or getting an advanced degree, losing 50 pounds or running a 5k, starting a family or moving across the country. It’s also possible that personal goals can fall into smaller categories like emptying the dishwasher as soon as you get home, turning off the TV and resisting “one more episode”, limiting your sugar, getting to bed at a decent hour, not putting off your taxes until April 14th. 


Big or small, goals come with resistance. We resist doing the very things that would help us achieve the goals.


Popular marketing would have us “Just Do It”.


If only we could.


We think about it, we plan it, we may even make some progress. Sometimes we even reach the goal and then slide back away from it, trading in the running shoes for one more episode and staying up late. 


It can be very frustrating.

We ask ourselves “why am I NOT doing this? I know how, I know why I want it, I just don’t do it.”


Sound familiar?


We know we would be happier if we packed a healthy lunch, scheduled time to be active, and got enough sleep. And if we felt happier, imagine the impact that would have on our interactions with our coworkers, our ability to tolerate difficult clinical situations and our own health and wellness. 


So, what do we do?

This has been the question on my mind for the last 6 weeks as I struggle to restart my physical therapy exercises. 


What is the answer when “just do it” doesn’t seem to be working, when just doing it seems too monumental to even consider? 


Just start.

That’s it. 


Just start, don’t worry about doing the whole thing. 


The key here is defining the reward for taking action. If we think we have to achieve the end result in order to get the dopamine hit, then the task can seem monumental, and we give up before we even begin. It seems too far off. We are afraid of how we will treat ourselves if we hit a roadblock and stop moving forward, if we miss a day of our workout, or let the dishwasher sit, or procrastinate on an assignment.

But, if we allow ourselves the dopamine hit when we START, then we can use that dopamine to keep going. 


Sounds amazing, right?


The best part is this is totally achievable with a very small shift. Instead of celebrating finishing, celebrate starting. This may sound counterintuitive but give yourself permission to take forward action for a very short amount of time and then stop. The key to being successful with this is to actually stop at 5 minutes if you want to. No trash talk, no “I should”. 


Keep your word to yourself. If you said, “I am just going to start this and work on it for the duration of my favorite song”, then allow yourself to stop at the end of the song.

You did it.

You started. 

You are 5 minutes closer to being the person that has achieved that goal. 


The beautiful part of this is there is no way to lose. You started; you win. And more often than not, if we start (and give ourselves kudos for doing so), we will keep going.


The success is in the starting. 


We can start to relax a little because we can trust ourselves to keep moving forward. Feeling successful in one part of your life takes pressure off the other parts. It gives you a little space to breathe.


So, what’s the one thing that would feel great if you could just achieve it, the one thing that would be great to get off of your mind? What thing would open up so much mental space if it was as good as done?


Let’s start there. 


Starting is a big win, don’t tell yourself it’s not.


Now off to do my 2 exercises.


 

Need a little encouragement each week? Shoot me an email at Megan@NursingBeyondtheJob.com and I will add you to the email list- a little Monday motivation and a Friday strategy to keep you life going the way you want it to. There are ways to feel better, ways that you can use right away. I look forward to hearing from you!


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