The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

(ENG only) Procrastination. Lack of inspiration. Almost non existent motivation. We have all been there. There are times in which all of us experience that “blues”: everything seems impossible to be accomplished, we keep on finding excuses, our lack of inspiration or our laziness always win, binge watching something on Netflix is the most appealing thing ever and it’s easier to postpone and convince ourselves that tomorrow is another day. And during winter this may happen way more: the weather is cold and grey for the most part, days feel short and dark and there’s something about your cozy, warm spot in bed that seems to call your name every time you try to leave it. 

After being sick twice in a matter of a few weeks and feeling lazy and a bit uninspired creatively speaking, I know what it means being forced to give myself a kick in the butt to get things done. Well, I have no magic secret or no magic formula that will help you achieve what you want overnight. The things is: if you want results and you want to accomplish something, you have to work for it. Hard. 

I am no expert but today I fee like giving a bit of inspiration to all of you, my dear readers, and maybe even to myself, to remind you that it is okay to fail and it’s never too late to start.

First of all, ban perfectionism. No matter what type of idea, project, goal, dream you have in mind. Nothing is perfect, so trying to procrastinate a deadline or a task in the aim to reach that “perfect” status won’t bring you anywhere. 

Oftentimes getting started is the hard thing to do. Just start. Do one simple thing and then do it again the next day, and then the next day and the day after that. Make small steps every single day. As cliche as it sounds, it is crucial doing a bit every day when it comes to reach a goal or trying to accomplish something. Small or big your goal might be, if you never get started, you’ll never get what you want. Think simple and break down your work or goal into smaller steps, so it will feel less overwhelming to think about the work that still needs to get done.  

And make sure to check in with yourself every day too. Don’t be afraid to adjust plans along the way if something doesn’t work or you feel like you’d do better otherwise. It’s important for you to always be fully aware of your physical and emotional status, of what has been done, what still needs to be done, what can be left behind etc. 

Also, prioritize and eliminate distractions. If you’re trying to work on something, keep on asking yourself what really matters to you at the end of the day, what really speaks to your heart. And it will be clear what’s not worth your attention or time. Sometimes, for example, if I am trying to work on some video ideas, answer emails or I am looking at a blank page while trying to write a blog post, I notice that I grab my phone out of nothing and get lost browsing through it and I lose my focus. The clock keeps on ticking though and I might end with only half of the work done. If not absolutely necessary, I’d rather leave my phone out of reach. Find your distractions and avoid them. Out of sight, out of heart, right? 

And of course, speaking of heart, follow it. Always. If the final goal is not something that speaks to you, let it go. There is nothing bad in acknowledging that what we had already planned out in mind simply doesn’t work for us. Just let it go. And find that thing that really means something to you. 

Inspiration, motivation, ideas can come anytime, anywhere. Sometimes I find myself writing blog posts or videos ideas and notes when going to work, when on the subway, when brushing my teeth, when reading, walking around or watching something on Netflix or Youtube. If you’re stuck in a rut, the last thing you want to do is keep on reming yourself that you are. Instead try to have fresh eyes for everything, be mindful, go for a walk and have strong faith in the fact that your inspiration and motivation are not lost and gone forever, but are simply taking a break. 

If it helps, find your own soundtrack. Sometimes, depending on what I need to work on and how I feel, I like having some background sounds that will help me stay focused. If I’m working on something for the blog or on some video ideas, I might stay in complete silence if that helps, or I might put on some soft music (there are great playlists on Spotify), or some ASMR videos, that help me relax and stay concentrated on my task. If I have a huge pile of laundry to fold, some house chores or cleaning that I have been postponing and I cannot ignore any longer, I opt for something more powerful, that will keep me away from the couch and will make me want to dance and sing it out loud (trust me, I am the ultimate champion of karaoke vacuuming!!) 

I personally don’t do this very often, but setting an alarm clock might help you maximize your time. If you know that you have just a certain chunk of time to get things done, you’ll more likely to stay focused on really work on it. Being fully aware of how much time we waste or use wisely is very helpful for productivity. 

A couple of hours ago I sat down looking at this blank page, I had no idea what I could write about. And now you’re reading it. I started writing random things, whatever was coming into my mind and I turned my creative blues into the topic of a blog post. 

So, if you have a school project to work on or a blog or book waiting to be written, start writing. Anything. Most of the times it’s just a matter of getting started and getting back into the routine of doing something every day, committing to it. If you want to learn a new language, start with a 10-15 minutes practice every day. If you want to move your first steps into minimalism, tackle one category of items at a time to get rid of what’s unnecessary and that’s weighing you down, a few minutes per day will help. If you want to quit your job and follow your own path, start researching at the alternatives you have available. If you want to be more fit, start with a simple at home yoga practice or 10 minutes cardio session. If you want to save a specific amount of money for a big project you have in mind, start ditching that daily coffee at your favorite cafe on your way to work. If you want to start living more sustainably, take a look around at what you have already (it might be a reusable food container, a glass bottle or a canvas bag) and start from there. You name it. Just start. 

Remember. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” (M.Twain)

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