Timing is everything. Mess it up in a joke and your whole routine will go to crap. Go in for a kiss a second too late and you won’t be getting a second date. Everyday in thousands of ways we need to get our timing down to a tee.
Unfortunately we do the same when we set ourselves promises to change; waiting for the right moment to lose weight, the right season of our life to start a project, a dream, the perfect timing is coming. It’s just not right now.
For some reason humans are great at procrastinating. This is why New Year’s resolutions mostly always fail. After Christmas we can start afresh, we feel positive that we can get rid of that Christmas tummy at the turn of the year; next week will be different.
Why will we be ready on January 1st when we aren’t ready now? We won’t and the reason is because nothing changes. If we convince ourselves that once an arbitrary date comes around we can change then we are fooling ourselves that we won’t do the same when the New Year hits us. If we delay now then why won’t be delay later? What will be different?
The truth is more likely that we don’t want to put the work in. We expect that a magic wand will wave itself and that we will be motivated in the future. But we don’t like change. We like the idea of it sure, but when push comes to shove and we need to put some effort in we tell ourselves that there is no point starting our New Year’s resolutions when it falls in the middle of a week when next Monday will do just as well. Better to start at the beginning of the week eh? Then we have a wedding the next day so you might as well wait until that is over. Before you know it you might as well wait until Easter is over with all that chocolate and candy.
Or maybe as we promote our New Year’s resolutions on social media and we receive feedback even before we have stepped onto a treadmill, we have tricked ourselves into thinking that we have succeeded already. Just speaking out our goals might actually have a detrimental effect on their implementation.
So if we’re so good at committing to then breaking promises of all the things we will accomplish this year, how do we actually start on the road to change.
Well the answer is we start now. It may be painful, we may (in fact we will) want to put it off but when that happens we have already been defeated. We’re so frightened of what might come up later to prevent us from starting, the fear, the criticism, the lack of time, the “I’m not good enough” thoughts; that we never begin.
Or if we just bite the bullet now, when the criticism hasn’t come yet or when our schedules haven’t kicked in yet and the voices telling us we are inadequate haven’t grown loud yet; we might actually find that those things don’t come. Or when they do then we know that we have at least started. And we know that just for today we have began and made some progress even when things tell us to stop. We have begun and we can feel encouraged. We have seen that there will always be something telling us to wait so we need to start now or truthfully we never will.
We can pass over so many moments and lose so many opportunities just because we are looking for the perfect moment.
Here’s my only tip for changing behaviours, starting a dream, learning a skill, whatever it is for you.
Start now because tomorrow won’t let you.
For more on change and New Year’s Resolutions check out these two fantastic posts by Don Miller and Seth Godin