They say that anything worth doing is worth doing well. “They” are sometimes a pain in the neck. They may be right, but, at the same time, anything worth doing has to be started or it’s never going to be done, well or otherwise. In order to start something – in our case, working toward a goal – we have to know how to start.
Starting is often the hardest part. We see our goal sitting there in front of us (weight loss, better fitness, a clean garage, no credit debt) and we aren’t able to fathom how in the world we’re going to get there. We don’t see the steps in between now and the final result so we feel overwhelmed and simply stop before we even get started.
To get started, let’s look at those four goals I mentioned above: Lose weight, get fit, clean the garage, and get out of debt. All of them are the result of you looking at your situation and saying “I’d like to change that.” How do you change it? By modifying and moderating our behavior.
Let’s face it, those goals are pretty universal. We eat too much, move too little, buy too much stuff and spend more than we have, right? To go in the other direction we have to eat less, move more, get rid of stuff, and spend less. Some people will say you have to go cold turkey to get any results. Eat only grapefruit and cabbage soup! Sign up for a marathon! Throw everything away! Cut up or freeze your credit cards! For some people with serious issues this might be necessary but the majority of us live in a more moderate (another MOD) world where it isn’t all or nothing. Instead of going to the extreme ask yourself, what can I MODify about my habits to make a change? What can I do in MODeration (not deprivation) to turn things around?
Here are some examples for each of the goals I mentioned. I’m sure you can come up with at least a handful more that will work specifically for you:
- If you don’t eat breakfast, start.
- Get rid of your biggest cheat food or replace it with a healthier version. (I’ve replaced my after dinner dessert with a decaf coffee. I still get the sweet but have cut out a ton of calories.)
- Eat out less
- Plan your meals
- Schedule your workouts
- Change your routine
- Put your workout clothes in your car
- Just start moving (that’s the hardest part)
Clean out garage:
- Figure out what you have
- Borrow instead of buy
- Toss, toss, toss – spend just 15 minutes at first
- Make sure you have space to easily put things away. It’s not about storage, it’s about retrieval.
Get out of debt:
- Track your finances. (Mint.com is a good place to start.)
- Pay with cash
- Stay away from places where you are likely to buy things (this also works for weight loss if you avoid certain fast food chains)
- Create a budget
You need to figure out what you need to modify to make progress. There is no one size fits all and no one can do it for you. But before you get discouraged, remember that sometimes it’s a simple change that leads to big results.