How To Begin

Posted by on Apr 19, 2012

In my last post I shared about my struggle to exercise on a regular basis. Like everyone I have lots of great “reasons” for being lazier than I like. But regardless, at the end of the day, I’m still not stepping up to the call to move more. A call that is not just in my brain, but in my heart. Maybe you can relate?

Below are four simple steps that I believe led to my recent exercise success, and can be applied to most anyone in a situation that goes like this: “I want to do more _______. But I’m not.”


Steps For Beginning

Along the Camino de Santiago (Spain 2008)

1. Find the Gap.

In one or two sentences, state as plainly as you can where you are and where you would like to be. This is the gap. No need to be fancy or eloquent, just state it as you see it. For me it was  simply ‘I want to exercise regularly. But I’m not.’


2. Own It.

Many people skip this step. It is easy to focus on all the reasons why we haven’t started, or where we plan to get to ‘one day.’ However, I believe accepting and owning where we are is a critical step. And here’s why:

When we accept our present situation for what it is, we are actually accepting ourself as we are.

And when we accept all of who and where we are, we can stop disowning and blaming the part that “got us there.” Acceptance allows us to relax. Resistance causes us to contract. And it is always easier to embrace something new when relaxed. You don’t have to love where you are, but you have to love who is there – You.

Owning it can be as simple as saying ‘I have made choices to spend my time doing things other than exercise.’


3. Imagine

Spend a few minutes thinking about where it is that you want to be. Dream. Imagine. Hypothesize. Invite in your curiosity, and try to come up with as many details as possible. When doing this, make sure to include how you will FEEL, not just what it will look like.


4. Micro-move toward it.

Think of the SMALLEST imaginable thing that would be a movement toward you goal. This is not a time to think big (that was the last step) but to select an action step that feels so easy, so simple, you know you can do. For example:

Want to get to the gym? Put on your exercise clothes. (You don’t have to go anywhere)
Want to write a book? Open up an empty word document and save it with the title ‘Book.’
Want to write an article for the Huffington Post? Spend 30 seconds and google “Huffington post submission requirements”

My experience has been that micromovements (a term I first heard coined by SARK) always result in one of two things. I am either so inspired by my first micro movement, I immediately make another micromovement. Or, I don’t. But either way, it doesn’t matter because I have already begun. And I believe that any action made in the direction of our hearts calling, regardless of how large or small it may ‘look’ is huge and beautiful. And should be celebrated.


In regards to my “exercise experiment”…here is what happened, externally

The sun came out.
My coworker and I went to the track.
I did my exercise experiment.
I was thrilled.

Here is what happened, internally

I realized I loved the idea of a regular fitness check-in.
I would consider running once a month
In between these monthly runs, I would do a variety of other other things that I love enjoy.
I will begin jotting my exercise on my monthly calendar.

Maybe later I will set some goals for how much time I want to move in a week or month. But for now, I’m just happy to be happily in motion again.



  1. I absolutely love this. My biggest problem is that I will get all these ideas and then start something and never follow through. I used your steps in my one, simple goal to start keeping promises that I make. So today is the first day, I just have to keep micro moving towards my goal!
    Acceptance is so important, because making excuses is all you’re doing if you aren’t accepting the fact that you haven’t followed through.

    • Hi Michelle,
      Congrats on your micro-moving! I have to say I think your simple goal of keeping your promises is a very powerful one. Doing what we say we will grows our sense of integrity and self-confidence – from the inside out. For me, knowing I plan to keep to my word also makes me think twice before making promises that are too lofty/totally unrealistic (and ultimately disappointing when I don’t reach them.) So kudos to you!
      Great to have you here. 🙂

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