I want you to think about something you want to accomplish. Does it feel too big to do? Too hard to make work? Too expensive to even consider it further? I'm going to place my bets on YOU and the fact that you can do it, but if you haven’t yet, maybe you've hit a rut. Maybe you’ve made strides towards doing it, but you haven’t progressed. Maybe you haven’t even started because you didn’t know where to start.
I completely get how you might be feeling! When I came up with the idea for Tiny Hair Workshop's Air Dry Cream two years ago, I had no idea how to get to the end result, because I didn’t even know where to begin. It can be paralyzing, because when we think of the end goal, we know there are a million steps to get to the finish line. We don’t know how to do everything and we don’t know the plan. Perhaps you’ve tried before and haven’t succeeded. Maybe you know you have to do it or want to do it but it’s still just so hard to start the process!
Today, I want to share with you the 5 steps I take to achieve the things I want (read all the way to the end for a downloadable Goal Planning Worksheet to help you on your way!) I don’t have a big ego, but I can say for sure that starting something I want to achieve is something I am good at, and I think my close friends would agree. I have started a lot of things that felt daunting to me: I’ve moved twice to new areas without knowing anyone, I’ve fronted two punk rock bands even though I’m not the world’s greatest singer, I learned to ride a motorcycle, taught myself to cook and bake bread like a boss, learned to lift weights and hold my own in any gym and then became a certified personal trainer, and I’ve started Tiny Hair Workshop. With THW, I learned to formulate natural haircare products on my own, as well as learned to become pretty good at digital marketing and web design. Without further ado, here are the steps I follow to get out of a rut to start working towards the thing I want!
Step 1: Define the Goal
Brainstorming on a pad of paper is best for this, because the link between the brain and the physical act of writing is much stronger that talking or typing. The goal may change in scope over time, but hone in on what it is you want now and make it as specific as possible. This is the only way you’ll know what you are working towards, and this is what you’ll come back to time and again when you encounter obstacles in your path.
Step 2: Make It Real By Talking About It
Intern Jon is my accountability partner!
When that idea is sitting in your head with no one else to encourage you, it collects dust. It gets creaky. The longer it sits there without action, the harder it is to put it in to action. I want you to find a friend you can talk to about it, or better yet, an accountability partner. Either way, find someone you trust with whom you can talk to about this thing you want to accomplish. Tell them you’d like to be able to check in with them about it. Talking about it makes it real and it sets energy in motion, and you will feel more accountable to yourself once it's out in the open.
Step 3: Do The First Thing Now
Start with the first step...you will get to the top, but not by trying to tackle it all at once!
Too often when we want to accomplish something, we think of every tiny thing that has to be done to get to the finish line. It’s overwhelming and counterproductive. When we are starting something new or something big, figure out what THE VERY FIRST THING you have to do is that will get you towards your goal. Intern Jon says, "You can't eat the elephant in one bite!" (Bonus Tip: Don’t spend a lot of money on your idea at the beginning – spend only on the things that progress you to the next step!)
It might seem like there are a few things that could be “the first thing”, so I’d encourage you to pick one thing that is small and attainable. You don’t have to do everything right this second. Gain a little ground and confidence. You might find through your "first thing" that you don’t need to focus on everything you initially thought was important (or as my mom likes to say, “It doesn’t always pay to be overly efficient.”). Believe it or not, once you start with the first thing, the next step will become abundantly clear.
Step 4: Embrace and Flow Through Obstacles
I want you to say this out loud:
“Things might be hard during this process, but I have the tools within to handle it.”
Creating and mailing out 50 samples of product was one of the hardest days I can remember!
Whatever you think the process of starting something is going to look like, I guarantee you it will be different than you imagine! Generally, the obstacles will come from two places – outside and inside influences. An example of outside influences could be an unexpected lengthy phone call from a friend which prevents you from getting the things done that you were planning. These are obstacles you should try to plan for, if possible. If you need to have dedicated time to work on your goal, try to set yourself up ahead of time to be distraction-free if at all possible. If it’s not possible and you have to change course, you have the tools within you to handle it. It doesn’t mean the day is ruined – this is your opportunity to get creative and figure out a new time and place to get back to it.
Inside influences are perhaps the toughest to overcome, because it’s all the crap your brain is telling you. “I’m just going to quickly check my Facebook notifications before I get started.” “I’m just not feeling motivated to do anything today.” “I really have to get the bills paid and I’d feel so much better if I just got that done first.” (Funny how even the worst jobs suddenly seem WAY better than starting something new!)
NO. NO. NO!
These things might all be true to an extent, but you HAVE to recognize that these are distractions, especially when you’re starting. Starting something new or big feels uncomfortable! Recognize when these thoughts come into your brain, and say out loud, “That is a distraction that is not getting me closer to what I want. I’m going to do the thing I planned to do right now!”
Step 5: Keep Momentum, No Matter What
To keep momentum and to keep myself inspired, I attend industry trade shows to connect with other beauty entrepreneurs!
So, you did the first thing! Maybe things went well, maybe they didn’t go as planned, but you STARTED! Now, the most important thing you can do is keep up momentum. This is my number one goal for you on your journey. I don’t care if you make tiny steps forward, giant leaps, or break things along the way and regress. As long as you are consistently putting forth time, energy, or effort towards your goal, I PROMISE you will see progress. Set yourself up for success by creating a plan for yourself to work towards your goal in some capacity every week.
If you pay attention to it every day (even meditating on the goal counts, but there has to be action interspersed), you will begin to feel your connection to the goal and the path. Once you have built a habit of working towards what you want to accomplish, it will become a part of you. If you don't keep up momentum, it can be hard to feel excited about what you want to do, and that is where the brain will try to step in and tell you that it's not worth it. Momentum is everything once you have started, and it will carry you towards each step on your journey.
Are you ready to get started? I've got a plan ready and waiting for you!
I hope this plan has helped to start you on your journey of accomplishing your goals! I’d love to hear what it is you’re working towards and if you have any other helpful suggestions (post in the comments below!) I’d also encourage you to download my weekly goal planning worksheet – pen to paper is the best way to get a plan in motion, and there’s no better time to start than now!