How to stop talking about changing your life and start doing it
Prioritising creativity and new ideas can be hard in the daily grind of get up, go to work, come home, collapse in aheap on the couch. Monday always sounds such a promising start to every great idea I’ve ever had but typically, it’s all down the gurgler by Thursday.
Over the years I’ve had so many great ideas of things I’m going to do - new businesses, new careers and new horizons that would allow me to live an amazing life of creativity, flexibility, happiness and success beyond my wildest dreams (you know, I had the cupcake idea years before they became a thing…).
In the last year alone, I’ve talked about starting a wellbeing business for stressed out workers, becoming a strategic planning consultant, or a yoga teacher, or a make-up artist, or an eco-friendly house cleaner, or starting a website for 50+ women. But despite a long list of great ideas, I’ve never managed to move beyond the ‘one day’ daydream.
Perhaps the motivation and excitement is all in the idea - the thinking, the planning, the talking, the possibility of changing my life - maybe it doesn't really matter if none of it actually gets done?
After sitting through yet another rambling conversation about Great Idea #327:Blogging My Fiftieth Year, my daughter challenged me to stop talking and start doing something about it for a change (insert record scratching sound here) She made me call bullshit on my own laziness or complacency or fear or whatever it is that stops me from putting my ideas into action.
So from talking about blogging my fiftieth year, here I am now doing it. Is it easy? No. Is it scary? Yes. While it ’s taken a lot of planning and getting ready and that has kept me busy, the closer it came to launching the blog on my 49th birthday the more reluctant I got.
In the end, I pushed the button because I knew that if I didn't do it that day, on my birthday, then I never would. My overwhelming reaction to publishing the blog has been to feel self-indulgent for thinking my life might be of interest to anyone else and fear that my life might not be of interest to anyone else.
So, if you’re thinking of stepping outside your comfort zone towards something you want to do, here are my tips to help you take the first steps.
Say it out loud
If I hadn't told people that I am blogging my fiftieth year, I probably wouldn’t have done it. The only thing worse to me than struggling with the feeling of self-indulgence and fear is admitting to myself and others that I didn't do what I said I was going to do. Saying it out loud was part of my accountability to myself and has also helped me worked through my ideas.
It doesn't have to be perfect
If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word - Margaret Atwood
Pushing the publish button on that first blog was one of the most personally confronting things I’ve ever done. I knew I would feel like that when the launch date arrived. If I could've given myself a good excuse to get out of it I probably would have (god knows I tried - the website’s not ready, the first post isn’t ready, the title’s not right and blah, blah, blah). You won’t ever think it is perfect and it doesn’t have to be. What matters is that you made a commitment and a start.
Do it for you
Women spend so much of their lives giving to others, and it is so important that we find time to do things that are just for us. I’m trying to shake off my feelings of self-indulgence by recognising that what I bring to my life, my relationships and my home will be all the richer for the time and energy I invest in myself. If it works for you, it will work for everyone else.
Your close friends and family will support you
I’ve been really overwhelmed by how supportive and encouraging my friends, my husband and my daughter have been. My daughter has helped my so much and I couldn't have done this without her. While I’ve been really surprised by people’s generosity, I see that there is something contagious and satisfying in seeing someone you know and love achieve something they want to do. Your family and friends will want that for you.