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Getting good at starting

Getting good at starting is a crucial skill to develop. It's often said that the key to success lies in persevering and that starting is easy - everybody can start, but few can see things through. I see things differently. Because what may appear to the outside world as one continuous process is, in fact, often a series of starts. We typically must start a lot more often than we think until we have accomplished something.

For years, I was struggling to establish a writing practice. I knew I wanted to write regularly, but I didn't really know what to write about. I also didn't know whom to write for (I later realised it's ok to simply write for myself). Then, I couldn't find the time. My persistent desire to write was the only consistent thing that held together this growing bundle of excuses. A desire that sometimes was more and sometimes less pronounced but never faded away. To write not only for my clients (which I've been doing all along), but also for myself.

Then, one day, I simply started - and it worked. I wrote 30 minutes every day for 38 days straight. I felt proud. Then, I stopped. I can't remember what it was on day 39 that made me trip up. On day 40, I started again.

This pattern has been repeating itself ever since. My writing streaks vary in length. And so does the number of days I'm missing in between. The crucial thing is that whenever my writing practice stopped, I eventually found the motivation to start again. I know I can't rely on making this a smooth and continuous journey. None of my streaks will last forever. Because life happens. Things get in the way. That's why I feel my true accomplishment so far doesn't lie in the length of my streaks but in my ability to start again when I miss one or a couple of days. The more days I miss, the harder it becomes to start again. What I'm improving over time is starting my writing practice - again and again and again.

Getting good at starting takes the fear out of stopping or taking a break. Because I can trust my ability to start again, I have developed a relaxed attitude toward stopping. I'm not so worried about my current streak ending. I'll simply start again—no big deal. I've done it many times before.

What about you? Are there things in your life you find hard to keep up with? What if you focus less on the not stopping part and become really good at starting again? If you start as soon and often as possible, stopping can no longer prevent you from achieving your goals.


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