#288 Just Get Started!

vs. Just Do It

Tim Pychyl is one of the world’s leading authorities on the science of conquering procrastination. He wrote a great book called Solving the Procrastination Puzzle and we featured him in Conquering Procrastination 101.

One of his Big Ideas is the fact that, although “Just do it!” sounds cool, it’s not always the best motivational tactic when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed or doubtful about being able to “do it.”

A much better slogan?

“Just get started!!”

Don’t worry about whether you “finish” or not. Just get started!

And you know what? Your odds of finishing once you’ve gotten yourself started are a heck of a lot higher than if you just sit there twiddling your thumbs stressed out about whether or not you can get your “big thing” done.

I thought of this Idea as I was wondering whether or not I could hit an ambitious goal I had set for myself with these +1s.

Little (whiney) voice in my head: “I don’t know if I can actually hit that target!”

Other little (wiser) voice in my head: “Dude. Just get started and keep on going!”

(Yes, I call myself, “Dude” when I talk to myself. (Hah.) Don’t you?)

Tal Ben-Shahar follows the same approach. He calls it his “5-Minute Ramp Up.” On those mornings when he’s not feeling inspired to write, he doesn’t focus on the big thing he wants to get done and whether or not he’ll be able to pull it off, he just tells himself to get started.

5 minutes. That’s it.

And, guess what? Once he’s gotten started, Newton’s First Law of Motion kicks in and bam! Mr. Mo is in the house and he’s crushing it.

As we’ve discussed, Spartan Race creator Joe De Sena tells us the same thing in a different context. He says that the hardest part of a Spartan Race isn’t actually doing it. It’s getting to the Starting Line.


Today’s +1. Are you procrastinating on anything?

Just get started!

And you’ll do it.