Quick Summary: The things you want to do are only difficult until you really decide to do them.
One of the things I write about here at Intentional Retirement is pursuing big goals. If you’re anything like me, sometimes staring a big goal in the face can be challenging, scary, complicated, and overwhelming.
Because of that, it’s sometimes tough to get started. I’ve found that the easiest way to overcome this “beginner’s inertia” is this:
~Actually decide to do what it is you want to do.~
It sounds simple, but deciding is the hardest part. I don’t mean hoping or dreaming that you’ll do it. Those are vague and passive. I mean actually deciding. Deciding is specific and active.
Until you decide, you can’t plan; you can’t act. Let me give you a small example. I’ve written before about my goal to get our daughter to all 50 states before she graduates. A few weeks ago we found out that she had a three day weekend coming up due to some teacher meetings. We kicked around the idea of getting out of town, but nothing really came together.
Fast forward to Tuesday of last week. I woke up that morning and said “We’re going to Colorado this weekend.” That simple decision shifted me into tactical mode. I looked at three different areas I had been talking with a friend about and decided on Colorado Springs. I went to www.avis.com and rented a car (ours are a bit small for road trips). I went to www.vrbo.com and rented a house for our stay. I made reservations for several things that we wanted to do, like a train ride to the top of Pike’s Peak. Wednesday night each of us packed a bag and when we picked up our daughter from school on Thursday we hit the road.
If you look at that sequence of events, the most important thing I did was decide that we were going. After that, everything was logistics. Most dreams die for lack of a decision. Keep that in mind as you plan your adventures for retirement. Dreaming is one thing. Deciding is another.
Practical Application: The 100 Day Challenge
I’ll give you a practical application to test your new decision making powers. As of today, there are exactly 100 days left in the year. Think about the goals you had for the year. Think about things you’ve dreamed about doing in the not so distant future. Pick something off your “to do” list and make the decision to do it before year end. If your goal is travel related say to yourself “I’m getting on Expedia today to buy a plane ticket to ____________.” If your goal is to save more for retirement, call the human resource department today and increase your 401(k) contribution. If your goal is to get in shape, decide that today is the day that you’re joining the gym.
Take the challenge and I think you’ll discover what I did. Deciding is the hard part. Once you do that, you’ll be amazed at how easily everything else falls into place.
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