Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his infinite wisdom said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
It all begins with the first step.
Each of us has our own aspirations and desires. Things we’d love to accomplish or feel called to do.
For me, it’s writing music and sharing knowledge and insights.
For you, it may be writing your first novel, eating more healthfully, adding exercise to your daily life, spending more time with family, finally getting that promotion or simply making time for yourself.
But how do you get from that internal longing and state of wishing, to actually setting things in motion?
Here are three actions you can take to get started:
1. Decide to take the first step.
I know this seems more contemplative than action-oriented, but making the decision to work toward achieving your goals is where it all starts.
First, you need to know what you want to achieve in specific, well-defined terms, then decide to make it a priority.
The goal of eating healthier gets defined as eating breakfast every morning. Writing your first book starts with making an outline of what you want it to include.
Both of these first steps are specific.
2. Commit to taking that step.
That commitment may take the form of putting it in writing on a vision board, in a journal or even on a sticky note on your refrigerator.
You may prefer to share it with a family member, a trusted friend, or teacher.
Or perhaps you, like me, would rather go inward through prayer, in order to gain clarity and focus for your task.
Either way, figuring out what works best for you, then doing that, is the best way to keep your commitment.
3. Plan what steps will follow.
Many of us get tripped up on the way to our dreams, because we forget this crucial step.
We’ve made a decision (and maybe even a commitment) to realize our dreams, but without a plan to make it happen, you’re more likely to get off track.
If you want to eat more healthfully, and have committed to eating breakfast everyday, are the foods and beverages in your refrigerator and pantry going along with the new plan?
You may need to figure out what healthy breakfast options you want this week, and make sure to have those foods in your house (or at least, on your grocery list).
If drinking more water is the plan, filling a reusable water bottle the night before (we all know how hectic mornings can be) and taking it to work or school everyday, could be the first step in your plan.
Suddenly, spending more time with your family, begins with keeping certain days free from scheduled activities, eating dinner as a family as often as you can, watching a television show or taking a walk or bike ride together.
The goal of making time for yourself may require having your evening chores and things to do completed by a particular time, so you can hole up in your room with a cup of herbal tea and a good book (no smartphone alerts, laptop computers, depressing evening news or reality TV allowed)!
All of these planned actions are specific and achievable. Once you get going on making your first step a routine, the act of adding new steps becomes much easier.
Making a change in your status quo habits and moving toward achieving a goal that may, at times, seem unachievable or too big to start, begins with taking that first step.
For me, after deciding to write and committing to writing, my plan was not to wait around for inspiration, but to get up everyday, and write like it’s my job!
What steps do you plan on taking, to move in the direction of your goals and dreams?