Old Habits Die Surprisingly Easily

A Short Guide to Starting [Detail]

A month ago, to the day, I tried to kickstart my writing at Tiny Books, reflecting: “The first post – after a break – is always the hardest. The rhythm of writing, interrupted, is hard to re-ignite.”

How true.

They say, “Old habits die hard.” And, of course, that’s true for many habits, but – equally – old habits die surprisingly easily, if you’re not careful. Getting started again can be incredibly difficult if you find yourself out of practice.

After years of writing near-daily at The Standardistas and equally, elsewhere, my writing habit – once so critical to me – is flatlining, in need of a serious shock to the system.

Thankfully, Leo Babauta – of Zen Habits – recently published A Short Guide to Starting, if You’re Struggling. If you’re struggling, in need of starting, I’d wholeheartedly recommend reading it.

As Babauta puts it:

It’s hard to get going again, to get started when all the forces of inertia are against you.

Without going in to too much detail, it’s hard (from a personal perspective) to describe the feeling that, “all the forces of inertia are against you.” Suffice to say, inertia has been an almost immovable problem I have been trying to confront for months now….

I have found it incredibly frustrating that I’ve lacked the passion to write, when my purpose – trying to help others navigate the complex world of creative entrepreneurship – still burns brightly.

Babauta’s advice is down to earth and, if you’ve been struggling to get started, surprisingly easy to implement. The step that resonated with me the most was as follows:

Build trust with a single step. Every day, you just need to take one step. Just write one sentence in your journal. […] When you take that step, do it mindfully and with gratitude and joy. Smile. Enjoy that tiny victory. With that step, you’re building trust in yourself.

This post, somewhat more than a sentence, is my single step. It’s my tiny victory. It feels significant.

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