Start when you want


I had to write an article about a technique that would improve some aspect of life in about 1000 words with some visualization. I decided to write about my personal hack to handle the starting of anything new when one wants rather than waiting for an ideal moment. I added a visualization that supported my claim of maximum people starting important things at specific timings.


How many times do we miss the perfect beginning to start something new and then wait till the next one comes up? I was typically the kind of person who would plan to begin anything and everything according to specific dates or days.

I am going to start exercing from the 1st of the next month. I will start working on my personal assignment from the coming Monday. I am going to start eating healthy from my birthday. I will change my schedule once this project is over.

We all tend to look for the ideal start moments and if we cannot start then, we shift our focus to the next correct moment. This leads to a snowball of unproductive days and even months. The fact is that most of us are wired this way.

There are 3 main scenarios that lead to waiting for the next "correct" time.
1. End of a month or week
2. Just missed the beginning
3. Middle part of the period

To start whenever we want and not wait for the "right" time, the stategy is to deceive the mind!

1. End of a month or week
When it’s the end of the period, it is very easy to shift to the next beginning since it is so close. We are not motivated to start a new regime on the 26th or 27th of a month since we feel the 1st of the next month is coming up and that will make the perfect start.

My technique of tricking the brain is to imagine that these last days are the prep days before the actual performance. Its like practice tests that we take to prepare for the final exam or like the preamble before the main content. Consider these moments as level 0.

So start what you want to and use it as a springboard for the actual moment which is the beginning of the next month, week or whatever. Envisage that this will make you ready for that perfect start.

2. Just missed the beginning
Next is the missed opportunity mess. It’s the 3rd of the month or a Tuesday and you are really frustrated that you could not start doing what you wanted on the ideal day. It’s a huge morale downer. We tend to feel demotivated and start blaming our inability to live upto our expectation.

This is when I take the analogy of sports. Tennis is my favorite game so I think of this missed moment as a lost set and then start refocussing. I will need to work harder but as we have seen in so many closely contested matches that the game is not over till the last ball. It is not important whether you won in 3 straight sets or made it in 5 sets. In fact the 5 setters are so much more memorable. So buckle up and get to work even if the start advantage is lost. You could use the analogy of whatever sport you like. Cricket maybe where 14 overs are finished and your team is 5 wickets down but the game is still on. Your opponent team has already scored a goal in soccer and its already half time but as you know, it is definitely not over till the final whistle blows. In this scenario, the demotivated or the lazy you is the opponent and they may have started strong but the real winner is the one who fights back. You just need to give it your best! For me, this strategy works till about the 10th or so of the month and maybe a Wednesday in week plan.

3. Middle part of the period
The last scenario is the middle part which is probably the most difficult. Half a month is already gone and you haven't even started. You wanted to lose 3 kgs in a month but now its not possible or healthy to do so in the 14 or 15 days that remain. Your project deadline is 3 days away and the work left is at least a week long. This is where we combine the 2 strategies that we saw earlier. The practice part and giving your best part.

Okay so you many not be able to lose 3 kgs at the end of the month but if you start now, you can lose 1.5 kgs and that can act as the perfect beginning for the next month. Maybe you have an event to attend and you may not be in the shape you wanted to be but you are definitely better off than before. And you can finish the 3 kg goal in the next 15 days after the event because its always good to be healthy, yeah?! Your project may not be finished but when you give your best, who knows? The client or your boss may extend the deadline. The worst that can happen in any case is that you fail! But when you start doing what you wanted, you will realise that you have it in you and next time you can make it work by starting earlier/on time. You may ultimately not achieve the goal in the given time period but you will feel great to have given your best performance and you will be ready to take on the next challenge. As we know in sports, you win some and you lose some. It does not matter. What is important is that you played and tried your best.

All the methods are also useful anytime you lose steam while working towards your goal. Be it the ending or the middle, if you feel the motivation waning, just realign your focus and think of how the marathon of life is not over till the last breath. You may miss out on winning some sprints but every effort is a step towards the end result.

Also use the life marathon analogy to rebuild the motivation for the next target once a specific goal is achieved. You wanted to lose 3 kgs and you have done it. So what next? Focus on building a healthy lifestyle since losing the weight was a sprint you won but the marathon of fitness is still on. Create new sprints or take a breather but remember to keep going and giving your best!
And of course, don’t forget to treat yourself to that sweet cup of coffee with extra cream or that decadent chocolate pastry everytime you do start exactly when you had decided to!