One of the biggest pitfalls of goal-setting is that you can overthink things really easily. Dreaming of a brighter future and making plans to get there can get addicting. So much that we may even forget that to make our goals happen we have to start somewhere!
You do have to make solid plans if you want to achieve your goals. But at some point, you’ve done all the preparation you can and the only way to move forward is action.
You’re Never Ready to Start Anything, But That’s Okay
Here’s a simple truth that helps me remember to get going when I’m starting to overthink my goals:
You’re never really ready for anything in life, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start.
This was the case for all of the biggest moments in my life. It happened when I got married, had my first kid, and when I quit the 9-5. At each of these steps, there was still some apprehension when it was time to get started. But that ended up fading away as I began.
When starting my own business, I actually had to get forced into it by losing my job. But it was the best thing for me because it accelerated my growth much faster than if I would have just kept planning.
In every one of these experiences, I found that I knew a lot more than I had thought as I got started. And what’s even better, you get “on-the-job training” only after you do these things. There are things that I had to learn by doing that no amount of planning would have prepared me for.
Starting Gives You Information You Can’t Get Otherwise
The other lesson I’ve learned about just starting goals is that you have to start to be able to make your goal more attainable. This also means that you’re more likely to actually reach your goal if you start. But you have to do the right tracking and adjusting as you go.
Say that you want to lose 10% body fat this year. You make a plan and get caught up in figuring out the very best way to lose body fat. After a lot of thorough research, you’re still a little confused and you think that you need more time.
Instead of doing more thinking, you should just pick the plan you feel best about and begin. You can only see whether or not the plan is working if you have the information that comes from work.
Each week you track whether or not you followed your diet and exercise plan and whether or not your body fat percentage went down.
If you didn’t exercise or stick to your diet, you’ll know that you need to choose something that’s more suited to your strengths. Maybe instead of running, you try rollerblading. Or instead of a traditional diet, you focus on eating only until you’re 80% full or cutting desserts and added sugars
You also might find that you are doing the work and not seeing results, which is also an indication that it’s time to change your action steps.
Each week you try something, see if it works, then adjust. You try something new when you don’t see results or struggle to stick to your action steps.
Once you find out what works, you just need to double down on it and you’ll reach your goal.
And remember, neither of these things is discoverable until after you begin.
I’ve done a lot of planning and I’ve set and achieved a lot of goals. Every time I’ve overthought my plans I’ve gotten stuck, which has only broken my confidence and delayed my dreams from becoming reality.
But the times I have done the best are when I’ve recognized that I’ve done enough preparation and just began. Doing so has empowered me with data and on-the-job training that I couldn’t have gotten otherwise.
Whatever goal you’re considering, just begin today. You’ll surprise yourself at how much you already know and at how much you’ll discover that wasn’t possible before you began.