The only way to finish something and be able to enjoy the results is to start it.

Unfortunately, that’s also the part we find most intimidating.

If you think about it, there’s nothing scary about starting. You just get up and make the first small step. And it gets easier after that.

But before we begin to work on a project, to develop a new habit, or a new behavior, something quite big and serious is going on in our minds:

– we think we may fail;
– we thinks of tens of excuses as to why now is not the right time to begin (and thus comes procrastination);
– we don’t know where to start;
– we don’t feel ready;
– the thing we want to get done looks too big and hard;
– we decide there are more urgent things to do before that (and thus come distractions).

All that proves that we give our mind too much free time to play such scenarios, to get scared and convince us to put the project off for later. And it has strong motives, so we believe it.

But if we start working on it right away, it won’t have the time to come up with all that. And we won’t procrastinate.

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The main reason we don’t get started is because the whole thing is way too big and scary. We imagine all the time we’ll have to invest, the efforts we’ll make and the pressure it will bring.
But that’s not true.

Forget the big picture for a while. At least until you start.
Break down you task/project/habit/etc. into small chunks. Make them specific, easy and simple.

Soon you’ll have the exact tiny step you’ll need to take each day. And that’s not scary.

The best way to start is to make it super easy.

But just imagine how good you’ll feel in the end of the day knowing you did something to move forward.

And getting started can become a habit, as everything else.

Soon it will get much easier to begin. Your willpower will increase. And you’ll be consistent in what you do.

Starting is the key to getting things done, finishing big projects, reaching your goals, and eventually becoming successful and living the ideal lifestyle.

Don’t underestimate this first step just because it’s small.

Getting started is a form of art.

You get better by practicing. You get the chance to fight your inner demons, to go beyond your limits, and eventually unleash your true potential.

There’s nothing more beautiful and powerful than a person who knows how to start. As each time he begins, he goes out of his comfort zone, expands his horizons, takes a step further towards reaching his goals, and builds his character.

The world needs more people like that.

And you can become one. Just by taking the first small step.

But changing our behavior is not an easy thing. Not only do we need to stop doing something we’ve always been doing, get familiar with a new habit and find a way to make room for it in our days, but we also need to figure out how to make it stick and stay motivated.

Otherwise, it won’t really matter and it won’t really be a change.

So here’s a quick and simple guide on how to do that:

How to Start a New Behavior and Make It Stick

1. Just start.

Sounds quite easy, but why do we struggle with it so much then?

Most often that’s because we’re having the whole picture in our mind, and it’s too overwhelming.
We think how much effort we need to put every day from now on so that the new habit can stick, we imagine the times when we won’t be in the mood to actually do it, the things we’ll have to say ‘no’ to, etc.

Let’s leave all that behind for now.

Letting go of expectations and fear of failure (here’s how to do it), not comparing it to other experiences with new behaviors from the past, and not focusing on the hard part, is what will help you take the very first step. Which is also an action without which we can’t go any further.

So once you throw your ideals, negatives thoughts and fears in the ocean, you’ll have the chance to actually begin. And it’s easier than you think.

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2. Start small.

Another important part of the whole ‘starting a new behavior’ thing is that you should start really small.

Many people forget that and don’t start at all. It scares them.

When, in fact, that principle is made to simplify things, to make it easy to begin, to make it impossible to say ‘no’ to the little action that needs to be taken in order to begin your journey.

3. One habit at a time.

A quick reminder: you shouldn’t try to achieve more than one thing at a time. It distracts you, you think about both (or more) of them (goals, habits, etc.).

Instead, you need to pay full attention to the one thing you’re working on right now.
Once it’s been a month or two, you can move onto the next.

4.Tiny steps.

Now chunk the habit down into a few steps, then break them into even smaller pieces.
Do that until you have tiny actions you can take with no effort.

This way it won’t be overwhelming. And you’ll know what to do every day.

5. Daily commitment.

Every day. No excuses.
That’s a must, as once you skip a day, it leads to two, and then three. And without even realizing, you’ve fallen back into your old habits.
Consistency is key.

***
That’s all there is.
Ignore all you’ve ever heard about starting a new behavior, changing habits and making them stick. And focus on these 5.

When was the last time you tried to develop a new habit? How did it work?

See also:

29 ways to successfully ingrain a new behavior
Tony Robbins: How to create a breakthrough change
5 scientific ways to build habits that stick