When a family friend recently went off to her first year of college, she asked me for my advice on this new adventure. I started with the obvious stuff that came to mind, such as don't post drunken pictures on Facebook and if the homework calls for reading, the professor is not bluffing.
But then I got serious. My best piece of advice to her: "Take the first step." She looked at me puzzled. I explained. There are many choices we can make in life. If you want something accomplished, it is you who has to take the first step.
Things don't happen because you want them to, they happen because you take action. Once you know the direction you want to go in, take the step and use the momentum to propel you forward to your goal.
As recently as five weeks ago, I bit the bullet and joined a gym. I have been talking for years about doing this and how scary I thought it was (see my article, , for proof!) My gym phobia, a.k.a. my complete fear of failure, kept me from taking that first step. I imagined every horrible scenario that could play out, including falling off a treadmill, passing out, or just plain looking really, really goofy.
When I did finally take that first step, it was honestly terrifying. I think the manager at could sense my fear when I kept asking where the "No Judgment Zone" was — (his response was "in the far right hand corner of the building.") But I asked for help, watched others, and — most importantly — set realistic goals. And then I kept at it. Each day that I go I feel stronger and healthier and can honestly say I think this is the best I have felt since I was a teenager.
I have even lost eight pounds. I always knew it was in me, I just needed to take the first step and let the momentum of that step move me forward. Now if only I can get my horrible eating habits under control!