How to Take the Plunge
Do you want to start your own business? Write a book? Build a house? Learn scuba diving?
Having a purpose is what makes us who we are. Whatever your end goal may be, reaching it will make the world a better place.
But how do you get started?
Be Smart About Defining Your Goals
Having a vision is the first step toward success. However, you have to find the perfect balance between realism and optimism.
Some people find it difficult to imagine ever reaching their goal. If this is true for you, you probably need a lot of time to get started on your projects. When you don’t believe you’ll be successful, there is nothing to drive you forward.
But relentless optimism has its own pitfalls. You can get a rush of pleasure out of daydreaming about your future success. This will consume your time but it won’t actually bring you any closer to achieving your goals.
It’s also fairly common to swing back and forth between these two approaches.
After a pleasant daydream about your completed task, it can get really frustrating to actually start working on it. It will seem like you’re moving too slowly. This will make you think you’re unable to get your project done at all.
So what’s the best way to avoid these fallacies?
- Create an Objective Plan
It’s extremely important to work out a realistic strategy. Be honest with yourself and think about any problems you might run into. Go into as much detail as possible.
What are your strengths? Which weaknesses will hinder you on your journey? Self-reflection is the key to making a realistic and workable plan.
Networking is another important part of making a good plan. Get in touch with people who have already defeated the dragon that you intend to take on.
- Write Your Plan Down
Seeing your future journey written down can make all the difference, even if you usually don’t enjoy keeping lists. It will simply make it easier for you to think things through. There are apps and websites that can help with this, but they are completely optional.
- Stay Flexible
You plan doesn’t have to be perfect and it shouldn’t be final. After all, you’ll have plenty to add to it as you go along. Don’t be afraid to explore new ideas and analyze new insights.
Furthermore, things don’t always go according to plan. You may have some unscheduled distractions or personal issues to tackle. Health problems can set you back too.
If you’re prone to catastrophizing, you may feel tempted to abandon your project as soon as something goes wrong. But that isn’t the right approach. Your plan is still valuable, even if you have to rethink some of your initial assumptions.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Having a plan is the first step. The more detailed your plan is, the easier it will be to follow it. However, there is a significant pitfall that comes with extensive planning.
According to a study  published in the Harvard Business Review, professionals spend 41% of their time on unsatisfying busywork. Delegating some of it would lead to a considerable increase in productivity.
But even if delegation isn’t an option for you, you should prioritize the important things. So try to make some significant progress every day. This is particularly important at the beginning of your journey.
Are you detail-oriented? Do you like things to be perfectly prepared before you start working?
Having an eye for detail is an excellent quality. It can help you a great deal, especially if you’re working without a boss or coworker to keep you on track. However, you should make sure you’re not using your fondness for details as an excuse for procrastination.
Risks and Rewards
When it comes to tackling a big project, you have a lot of roadblocks ahead of you. Lots of great ideas fail because of procrastination, doubt, and uncertainty.
The risk of failure is enough to keep people from getting started. But why is failure so paralyzing? And what can you do to counter it?
Maybe you feel that failure will reveal a harsh truth about you. Many people are scared of being seen as childlike or vulnerable .
Additionally, you might feel like failing at a task reinforces other people’s negative opinions about you. Imposter syndrome  makes failure a terrifying prospect as well.
So what’s the best way to get over your fear of taking risks?
- Define Your Fears
Nobody likes to think about failure and how it may reflect on them. But careful self-acceptance is crucial when it comes to achieving your goals.
Thus, you should familiarize yourself with the potential negative outcomes. Try to avoid exaggeration. Once you accept the negative feelings associated with failure, risk-taking won’t seem so daunting.
Additionally, facing your fears will make it easier to ask for help or advice if you need it.
- Reward Yourself for Your Successes
Many important projects take a long time to finish. You might be reluctant to get started if you know that your reward is months or years away.
Hence, you should make sure to award yourself for every milestone you achieve. Plan your rewards in advance. This can help you stop procrastinating and start doing what you need to do.
- Self-Forgiveness Is the Key to Getting the Job Done
Research indicates  that self-forgiveness is the best way to move forward from procrastination.
By observing a group of students, scientists found that repeated procrastination was a widespread problem. This isn’t exactly surprising. However, the students who forgave themselves for procrastinating once were less likely to repeat their mistake.
So be kind to yourself. Accept that mistakes are possible. Don’t dwell on things you should have done in the past.
A Final Word
What’s it like to start working toward your dreams?
It’s exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Over time, your project will teach you new things about yourself. You will get to meet new people and measure your skills.
There will probably be moments when you want to quit. After all, good organization and passion can’t save you from getting fed up with work. But your eventual success will make all of your frustration worth it.
If you’re waiting for some kind of sign, this is it. Dive in and start working on your dreams.
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