Is this your final decision?

We dance at the starting line forever. We stand cautiously weighing the risk, the cost, and wanting to make the perfect decision before starting something.

We feel like a man jumping off a building. Once we jump, there's no going back. We can’t change, we can’t stop, we must see whatever we start to completion. This can cause a lot of anxiety and inaction. We feel like this is the final decision, and the only one we get to make.

But that's flawed thinking. The beauty is that we can be flexible. We can change mid sentence, redirect our course, or stop all together. Action even in the wrong direction is better than no action at all. If its no longer a good goal, we can let it go.

But when you stand, contemplate, consider and let everything swirl around in your brain. When you make no move towards starting until you know exactly where you are going, and know you're going to get there, you will start very few things.

Starting is clarifying: Once you have started something, you can have a more realistic picture of what it actually entails to finish the project. You'll realize whether you're still passionate about the project, whether it has value and whether you should continue.

Starting helps you to gain momentum. If you wait too long to start something, the excitement will die off, which you could have used to catapult yourself closer to success. You can spend a lot of valuable time and energy planning and thinking about starting your goal instead of putting that energy towards actually creating.

Also, the mental energy of thinking about something can be more daunting than actually doing it. When you have ideas swirling around in your brain that you aren’t taking action on, that doesn’t mean you aren’t still working on them. You are expending energy thinking about them which is the exact energy you would be using to actually do it! It's terribly inefficient and steals your productivity.

Of course planning is incredibly valuable, but too much planning can paralyze you to action. And then what good is a plan if you don’t put it into motion? All it is are words on a paper; dust bunnies collecting as proof that you didn’t have the gumption to start your dreams.

It's worse to have a dream and not do anything about it, then to not even have a dream.

So get started. Stop waiting for the perfect alignment of your thoughts, your plans and your circumstances.

What I learned from waffles

Sometimes the process of thinking about, gaining momentum and transitioning to a different task, is more frightening, and worrisome than actually doing the project. Once you gain momentum you can make progress, but getting things moving can be extremely difficult. My strategy?  Shorten the transition time

If I think I should do something, instead of putting it on my list to do at a different time, and dread starting it, I force myself to quickly start the process. If I can short circuit the struggle for momentum, than I can be more effective, faster.

I discovered this trick through waffles. I often wouldn't make waffles because the process seemed too involved. The thought of getting out all the tools necessary seemed like a large project just to have food.

Well one day I decided within 3 seconds of thinking about it, that I would indeed make waffles and that I would time myself. I set a timer, and started. I got out the mix, put in all the ingredients, started the griddle, made the first waffle, and cleaned up the dishes within 5 minutes.

All those times I told myself I wouldn't make waffles because they would take a long time, but the truth was, the thought of making them seemed daunting and involved. Once I decided to do it, it was extremely painless, and efficient.

Don't make the same mistake I did. Don't handicap yourself from starting things because you allow yourself too much transition time.

Oh and yes the waffles were delicious.