Crawl Before Walking, Walk Before Running

A few years ago, a good friend of mine set a New Year’s resolution of getting in shape. He was planning to hit the gym at least five times a week. On January 1st he went to the gym and worked out hard for two hours.

The next day he was extremely sore, but he insisted on “pushing through the pain.” He went in for another two hours…and ended up pulling his hamstring muscle. He was sidelined for a few weeks, and he never really gave the gym another try.

It was really too bad. He genuinely wanted to get in shape, but the immediate setback really dampened his enthusiasm.

A better approach is to take baby steps: crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. If you haven’t been to the gym in awhile, don’t try to push yourself too hard on the first day. Ease yourself into a routine; do a little bit each day. Over time, your body will get more used to the workout and you’ll be able to step things up a notch. This way, you’ll minimize the chance of injury and maximize your chances of success.

Of course, getting into a good workout rhythm is different from expanding your network and personal brand. These goals are even 

more long-term, and it’s important to constantly be taking little steps in the right direction.

Spend time with a different group of people: Once a month, try to make some new friends. Find people who are outside of your immediate social circle and call them up for lunch. The best part about this is you may even make some amazing relationships or business connections.

Try a different job function: Most people are very good (and are comfortable doing) one or two job functions. See if you can get an opportunity to try something new. For example, if you are an engineer, you might ask to go on a sales call to help explain the more technical aspects of your product. You’ll build confidence and you’ll develop some new skills along the way. As a bonus, your boss will probably like the extra initiative.

When in doubt, just ask yourself “what’s the worst that could happen?” You’ll be amazed at how a little perspective will help you feel more comfortable.

Stop procrastinating: There are two reasons we procrastinate – laziness and fear. Remember that if you are scared of something, putting it off isn’t going to solve the problem. In fact, the stress will only build up over time.

Instead, just do it! Tackle the tough stuff first and get it out of the way. This will relieve your mind of the stress of waiting for something bad to happen.

Over time, you’ll feel more and more confident, and can start taking larger steps. This positive loop will eventually produce big results.

Just remember, any step, no matter how small, is better than doing nothing at all.

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