In my consistent experience, it’s the first step that promises to be the most difficult. Regardless how well I happen to understand this, just pushing off or typing the first few words can seem an almost insurmountable undertaking. It’s the right thing, obviously, and I also know that I’ll be pleased to have completed it… once it is completed. (That doesn’t mean I’ll be pleased with the final product, only that it’s final.) Still, it’s the getting started that is the problem.

Of course, once some momentum is established it becomes noticeably easier to keep things going. This paragraph, for example, is much easier to write than the one immediately above. It’s not a better paragraph, and while I’ve spent as much effort (so far) in typing it out, it’s only half as excruciating to complete. And my guess is the next will be less miserable still.

For this to work, which is to say to just get started, requires a deadline. Doesn’t matter what the deadline is, how defined or arbitrary or imagined it may be. There just needs to be one. It can be the first day of the month or the last, or a commitment I’ve made to someone. But having a deadline is key. Without it, nothing happens. (This website is the direct result of a self-inflicted commitment to launch a blog before May 2020… and COVID19 left me no other excuses to delay it.)

It also helps if someone else is expecting it. Either I told them I planned to do this thing that I have not yet started, or there’s some other driver (embarrassment, shame, obligation, or just should do it) to push me along.

Of course, once some momentum is established it becomes noticeably easier to keep things going. This paragraph, for example, is much easier to write than the one immediately above. It’s not a better paragraph, and while I’ve spent as much effort (so far) in typing it out, it’s only half as excruciating to complete. And my guess is the next will be less miserable still.

It helps if someone else is expecting it. Either I told them I planned to do this thing that I have not yet started, or there’s some other driver (embarrassment, shame, obligation, or just should do it) to push me along.

Of course, having started is a promising start but it is no guarantee of completion. (But note that it’s absolutely impossible to complete anything if you don’t first start it, so there’s that.) The endeavor, regardless how simple or complicated it may be, can yet result in the lamest of all failures – neglect. And to prevent death by neglect, two other coping mechanisms are necessary to ensure a satisfactory conclusion: 1) momentum, and 2) refusal to resort to self-loathing:

So, this is that start. There’s more in the days ahead, and most of it should be better than this. Suffer along the journey if you dare.