You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.
This is one of my all time favorite quotes.
As a recovering perfectionist, I’ve agonized over countless decisions in my life, both big and small. I guarantee that any of my close friends reading this right now are smirking because regardless of whether I was planning where to go out to eat or considering a career move, I was the queen of indecision, what ifs, and worst case scenarios.
I’ve definitely become a LOT more confident and decisive in the past couple of years (especially in the past year and a half!), but I honestly feel like I held myself back from SO MUCH in my twenties. I held myself back from opportunities by being scared of what other people would think. I held myself back from personal and professional progress by not trusting myself fully. I kept myself feeling stuck out of fear for what would happen if I didn’t execute something perfectly or if things didn’t go according to plan.
If you read through some of my old Fitness & Feta blog posts, you might catch a little of this.
“THIS is the year I ______.”
“I really want to ______.”
“No more ______, time to ______!”
I always talked about my goals and the things I wanted to do, but I never seemed to actually do them. I shared a million posts and articles that other people wrote and wished I could write about those topics in a way that would be considered half as good. I started SO many posts that I left unfinished because I thought they wouldn’t be good enough and that nobody would read them. I was too scared to hit publish.
I was the Athena who was always relentlessly wishing or planning but never decisively ACTING.
I mentioned this year being a pivotal year for me, and that’s an understatement. 2016 has been crazy scary, but it’s also been amazing, and I can 100% attribute this to finally getting sick of my own bullshit and saying eff it to all the what ifs. I stopped waiting for things to line up just right, and instead I decided to just make moves and act.
The human tendency is to wait and wait and wait for all the pieces to fall into place to FINALLY do THAT THING we’ve been wanting to do.
In my case, it was taking a leap of faith to start my own business. Other examples might include:
Signing up for a class to learn something new
Deciding to finally make a change for your health
Having a tough conversation with a partner
Putting aside some time for personal development and mindset work
How many times have you wanted to do something but didn’t because you thought it would be better to wait for things to “settle down?” Things never really settle down, do they?
So why not just take action now? Why keep putting it off?
Three Words to Help You When You’re Feeling Stuck
Today I want to share with you a little framework that you can use when you feel nervous, intimidated, fearful, indecisive, or hesitant to take action in any situation! My ACT framework consists of, well, three actions of course: ASK, COMMIT, and TRY. Here’s how these three simple words can help you stop stalling with the things you want the most and start making moves.
A – ASK
First, there are two questions I want you to ask yourself:
1. What’s the worst that can happen?
This might seem counterintuitive to not worrying about all the what ifs, but the difference is that I want you to not only picture the worst case scenario, but then I want you to outline all the ways that you WOULD and COULD handle the actual worst case scenario. You are basically flipping the script from “ugh, I can’t, what if this happens?” to “Okay, if this happens, here’s how I’ll handle it.” It’s more positive this way and will help you build the self-trust and confidence necessary to take the next step. For example, when I was leaving the corporate world, my husband and I decided that the worst case scenario would be either a) my online business wouldn’t take off, and/or b) he would lose his job while I was trying. Could we handle either of those situations? Absolutely.
2. What’s the alternative?
I love this one because it helps call you out on your own bullshit and excuses! For example, pretend you just started a brand new fitness program with a new coach. At first you are super motivated, but after a couple of weeks, you don’t see any immediate progress, so you feel frustrated and want to give up. Ask yourself what your alternative is. Going back to your old ways of diet and exercise that you know don’t work? Which is better, continuing to struggle and feeling unhappy with yourself or showing up with consistent effort everyday, even if reaching your goals might take patience and time? When you really think about the other option, it more often than not will remind you that NOT trying doesn’t actually sound that great.
C – COMMIT
Next, commit to taking ONE small step toward your goal. Some examples of committing to a first step include signing up for a 5k race in a few month, researching a coach who might be able to help you reach your specific goals, or asking a friend to help you with healthy grocery shopping. Once you’ve made your commitment, get accountable for it. Get accountable with yourself by writing your commitment down and putting it in a place where you will see it regularly, such as your fridge, mirror, or desk. You can also share your commitment with someone else. Tell a friend, post it on Facebook, or let your co-workers know what you are doing. One of my friends recently reached out to me because she’s been feeling a little out of her usual routine. She made a list of all the group exercise classes she was available to attend over the course of a week and texted it to me. This was her way of making a commitment to herself to get back into the swing of things. Similarly, I wrote a whole post last week on my recent fat loss focus. That blog post was actually my first step toward my fat loss goal, and knowing that all of you now know what I’m doing right now is helping me with personal accountability.
T – TRY
Finally, the last step is to just try, try, try. Remember the first commitment step will always be the hardest, but after that your success is a series of smaller efforts and choices along the way. After making your commitment, pick one thing you can do right now and focus on that until you get to the next thing. During the business retreat I attended in September, we discussed something called the Competence-Confidence Loop, a cycle where taking action leads to competency, which leads to confidence, which then leads to more action, more competency, more confidence, and so forth. Action always begets more action, right? I see this with my clients all the time: once they are comfortable enough to try something new in the gym or in the kitchen or with some mindset work, they get excited they tried. This builds their self-efficacy and belief in themselves. Rinse and repeat. The key with try, try, try is to have #alltheexpectations that you’ll put in the effort required to try, but to have #zeroexpectations for how the outcome will play out. There will be times you try and things don’t go as planned or you don’t reach a goal, but it’s all how you frame it from there that’s important. And… at least you tried! It’s better than the alternative of always staying stagnant, and if your worst case scenario comes up, you are equipped to handle it (and now we’re back to the top).
Me with Jill Coleman, Maryalice Goldsmith, and 70+ other online female fitness entrepreneurs… all of whom had to embrace the unknown at some point!