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How to Get Started When You Can't Get Started

Scroll down if making changes to your life feels too overwhelming.

I moved to a house in the woods for 6 months to crack down on finishing my grad degree and then traveled all summer long to celebrate. High stress and no structure is a great way to fall off track with “all the things”. The further away from the horse you get the harder it is to get back on. I couldn’t even SEE my horse. After I returned home, I expected I would just get back on track right away. Surely it would be easy after doing “all the things” for YEARS, right?


Instead, I had a month of total apathy- did nothing but binge-watch Netflix. In hindsight, I probably had to take some time to rest from the past 8 months, but I had to force myself to start the slow climb back up to “all the things” I was doing to maintain my health. Grueling! I wondered why it felt so difficult considering I knew exactly what I needed to do and how to do it. It felt like starting all over again. How did I get back into the swing of things?

Daily goals? Nope.

Micro goals? Nope.

“What’s a YES question? The question you ask yourself where you can honestly answer YES with complete confidence.”

I had to break it down even further. Nano goals- the most minute of goals! Instead of taking ALL of my supplements I just focused on taking ONE Vitamin C pill. Instead of meditating 45 min per day, I just listened to my alpha wave binaural beats for 5 minutes a few times per week. I had to start ultra small. I had to find my YES question and start there.

What's a YES question?

The question you ask yourself where you can honestly answer YES with complete confidence. That’s where you start when you can’t get started. It doesn’t matter how small it is. It's not even the “thing” you are choosing to start with as much as it is the attention and consistency you are giving it. That’s the secret sauce to getting started when you can’t get started- attention and consistency.


Here’s an example of a thought stream courtesy of the little voice inside your head…which can happen in a matter of seconds.

“I need to get healthy. I need to eat healthier. I need to change my diet. There’s SO much I would have to change about how I’m eating. It’s so overwhelming. I already have so much other stuff to do, but I need to stop drinking soda. Ugh, but I NEED my soda! I also need to start eating vegetables with my meals. I think they say ½ a plate of veggies? Can I do that, really? NO. Can I at least do that with dinner? No. Could I just do it on the weekends? No. Can I manage to eat 1 baby carrot per day? YES. Easy. Doable!”

Keep drilling down until you find your "yes" question. It’s a "yes" answer without needing any thought. It’s a no-brainer you can do that, there is no resistance in it. Then dedicate yourself to the nano goal, whether it's daily or weekly. Consider an inclusion-based nano goal vs exclusion-based. This is often an easier starting point.

Here is the bottom line to starting when you can’t get started… two things- 1) find your “yes” question (aka nano goal) and 2) be consistent (focus + dedication = consistency).

Cheers to a healthy 2020!

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