The most important life-changing habit in 2 words: START NOW

The only way to get ahead is to overcome that state of mind. Start. Every single day. Start and then restart. It doesn’t matter if you fail.

Millions of people are convinced that something must change in their lives to be better, to live life to the fullest or pursue something meaningful.

That project, that blog, that podcast, that ebook, that art, that side project is what I’m talking about.

Many people consistently hold back, and waste precious time.

In the past twelve months, I’ve written hundreds of posts on Medium (with an average of 250K views a month). I’ve written a book (Working in The Gig Economy), commissioned by a reputable publisher in the UK.

I’ve launched my first online course. I’m working on my second online course. I’ve built a sustainable newsletter (with over 50K subscribers, and still growing). I’m working on another newsletter for startups.

Where on earth did I find the time?

Here’s the truth. If you lack time to do work that matters to you, you’re probably wasting a lot of your free time.

If you deeply care about your life’s work, you will make time, even if it’s just 30 minutes a day building or creating something that doesn’t feel like work.

Instead of the excitement of experimentation, many people feel self-doubt and fear. They just go through life. Just like that.

Passing through. Letting time tick away. Fast.

Letting things happen.

Letting every day be just like the day before and the day after.

Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing you read about in history books.

Nothing unique. Just average.

Despite the many inspirational content encouraging us to chase after what we believe, we often fall victim to procrastination and a fear of even just starting.

We inadvertently hurt ourselves by focusing on short-term pleasure at the cost of the long-term.

An important obstacle to pursuing our best self is what behavioural economists call time inconsistency — the human brain’s tendency to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards.

“Our motivation to start any task depends on us seeing value in it, yet we place more value on what is happening currently over what the future holds and justify this decision by emotionally disconnecting ourselves from our future self”, writes Jory Mackay.

The good news is, you can overcome your brain’s sabotage.

Just starting is a mental battle

Seth Godin once said, “Ready is an emotional choice, the decision to put something into the world … The paradox is obvious: the more important the idea, the less we can be ready. And so we fret that the world, or our market, isn’t ready for the leap … Everywhere we turn, the doors appear to be closed, not open.”

You have probably convinced your self that you are not ready.

And guess what, you will never be ready to start anything.

Your greatest achievement won’t happen without starting.

The only way to get ahead is to overcome that state of mind.

Start. Every single day. Start and then restart.

It doesn’t matter if you fail.

Let go of your fear and reconnect with the future vision you want so badly.

Bianca Bass says “Never forget that everyone you’ve ever met has worried about failing at something. The difference is that some people — the people whose stories you have heard and applauded — chose to start anyway. We’re all scared and we’re all making it up as we go along. So start and start now.”

So make that connect, buy that domain, start that podcast, write your first post on Medium, write your first page of that ebook, record that video, share that art.

“Today, you have the opportunity to transcend from a disempowered mindset of existence to an empowered reality of purpose-driven living. Today is a new day that has been handed to you for shaping. You have the tools, now get out there and create a masterpiece.” says Steve Maraboli.

The stories you tell yourself and the things you believe about yourself can either prevent change from happening or allow new ideas to blossom.

Do everything you can to overcome that resistance brain.

Once you do, and take a step, you’ll feel the power of motion, you’ll feel the rut moving behind you. That one step — it’s all it takes to start moving and creating again.

Changing course can be challenging, but what makes it exciting is the restoration of hope.

When you are a crossroads, Bruce Chant recommends that you ask yourself three important questions to re-calibrate and get moving in the right direction again.

Those three questions are:

  1. What do you want? Name it. Define it. Call it out.
  2. What is stopping you? A belief or mindset. Fear. An excuse.
  3. What do you need to do to obtain it? Now you can work to address the issue, but do so by starting small.

Master your mindset

When you begin to master your mindset, you will be able to make new healthy choices, embrace a positive outlook in life, commit to your goals and atcually get them done.

You will most likely finish what you start and start leading the awesome life you expect and crave.

It’s within your reach if you can commit to your dreams, goals and visions.

Define your identity and get started

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. “ — Neil Gaiman

Who are you?

What do you stand for?

What do you want to be known for?

What standards have you set for yourself?

Define your most important role in this world and start shaping your reality based on that.

You are YOU.

Your challenge in life, in fact your life’s work, is to become the best possible version of you.

Not an imperfect approximation of someone else.

Purpose fuels your motivation.

What do you look forward to achieving tomorrow, next quarter or in the next five years? Imagine waking up every day excited for what you’ve set out to accomplish. That passion alone will propel you to the next level.

Raise the bar, crush your goals, and make a dent. It’s not too late!

Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out.

But it’s exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to work on achieving something worthwhile.

Most of use live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work.

We consistently hold onto this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden.

Left unchecked, we always default toward a more comfortable path. Your comfortable zone provides a state of mental security.

You can understand why it’s so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.

Malcolm Gladwell once said, “Outliers are those who have been given opportunities — and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.”

Outliers seize opportunities and run with them.

People who realize how little time they have and are driven to make the absolute most of it. Those are the ones who really live the awesome and extraordinary lives.

Be an outlier!

Find your boundary, then push it!

“The biggest competition is myself. I am not looking to follow others or pull them down. I’m planning to test my own boundaries.” — Rain

Knowing what you’re going for is what will align your focus and skill.

Pick a target and move towards it no matter the obstacles.

Aim to push boundaries. Break your own records.

Tackle the fear that has kept you from living your best life. Your mind has a way of rising to the occasion. Challenge it, and it will reward you.

Be good at making time for what matters to you — especially when you don’t feel like it.

The fastest way to stop being average is to recognize the possibilities of living with courage and taking action right now in the direction of your dreams.

Give yourself permission to pursue what’s important to you.

Don’t just talk about wanting to do things or try a thousand different things and then abandon them.

Make something stick. Become a master at them.

Evita Peron once said “My biggest fear in life is to be forgotten.”

No one ever came to this planet to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small.

Push the impossible.

Don’t doubt yourself.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever has.

Here’s the real truth

The amazing truth is that you’re just as good as anyone else who has pursued their best and life work

You’re just as good as anyone who is living a fulfilling life.

The only difference is the will to just start and keep going even if it’s not perfect.

Because having an amazing life starts with getting started.

Taking a step.

An all important step that will change everything.

The steps you take today will compound over time.

Set small goals and get started; meeting those goals will help you build momentum.

Small wins will compound.

Don’t wait for your dreams to happen.

You must strive toward them.

So the real truth is that you have a choice right now.

A choice to pursue something you deeply care about.

You can choose to do something that brings out the best in you. Or you can take the easy path.

Which one will you choose?

Give yourself a new and significant challenge today, and keep moving in the direction of your dreams.

Ready to start a life-changing habit?

I’m creating a course to help you master the kaizen principles for starting and maintaining healthy habits. Kaizen Habits will teach you how to make any change in life, one small habit at a time. Sign up to be notified when it launches.

You can also subscribe to Postanly Weekly (my free weekly digest of the best posts about behaviour change that affect health, wealth, and productivity). Join over 50,000 people on a mission to build a better life.

This article first appeared on Medium.