We’ve all been there; challenged to live out a new beginning. Maybe it was an inspiring biographical movie that left you thinking, “I need to get more out of my life.” Maybe it was a holiday church service that left you wanting less regret, more spiritual direction, and a deeper sense of purpose. Or maybe it was a mistake that blew up in your face, again. Enduring the consequences just isn’t worth it anymore; you know you can’t stay the same.
Whatever it is, the seeds of a new beginning are sprouting in your imagination. I’ve been there hundreds of times. I’ve watched some of those fresh starts turn into fruitful and fulfilling parts of my life. Not surprisingly, I’ve also watched many of those seeds whither away on the cracked soil of my discouraging failed attempts.
The problem is not that our aspirations are too low and our intentions aren’t genuine. The problem is not a lack of motivation or inherent personal weakness. Our new beginning attempts take a critical blow and can be destined to fail before we even begin because of one thing; idealism. Here’s what I mean:
Don’t Start With Why. I know I know, “starting with why” is phenomenal advice. How else will we stay motivated when times get tough? We need the why, the reason, the hidden source of emotional fuel in our tanks? How else will we have unswerving clarity about what we do and how to do it?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been able to purify or even clarify my motives to the point of perfection; I’m a mixed bag. The only way I’ve learned to effectively start anything is to start with just enough why. Just enough reason and clear motivation for the first few steps. If you wait for the perfect why, you’ll be waiting again tomorrow.
DON’T Expect Great Things. Again, I know, I know! We are supposed to aim for the stars and believe we can accomplish beyond our wildest imagination if we can just muster up the will. I’m not trying to discourage optimism here. However, every time I’ve taken a first step on the path to a fresh start, there have been no immediate lighting strikes, earthquakes, and Midas touch results.
Every seed I’ve ever planted in a garden was still covered in soil the next day; no green sprouts, no visible hope of dramatic change and unending potential. To get a new start that sticks, expect tiny results, which require difficult work with little initial payback. You don’t need great results and you don’t need to swing for the fences. You only need to swing.
The new beginning you are aiming for is absolutely worth it! Don’t wait for more crystal clarity, more purity of heart, or more promise of results. Just start in some small, very imperfect way today and return to the soil of imperfection again tomorrow.