The importance of the first step

Many years ago I had to have some fairly major surgery and spent several days in the hospital. First stepI recall very vividly the day after the surgery, the nurse came into my room and forced me to get out of bed to take a short walk. I was absolutely convinced she had lost her mind. I wanted to say, “Don’t you realize what they did to me yesterday???” Honestly, if I had had a gun I might have shot her. OK. Not really, but I was sure that those steps were probably setting my recovery back by days or worse.

First steps

First steps are hard. It is much easier to just stay where we are, even if we aren’t particularly happy.

First steps are sometimes painful. Taking that first step may mean facing things we’d rather not face.

Sometimes we need a “mean” nurse to pull us out of bed and get us moving.

Sometimes it just seems easier to stay in our bed and live with the pain that we know, as opposed to taking that first step and dealing with the uncertainty of the unknown.

Being sick and tired of being sick and tired

I believe that one of the keys for making lasting change is being fed up with where you are today.  For my wife and I, this was the catalyst for getting out of debt. I reached the point where I was tired of feeling broke living from month to month when I made a decent income. We realized we needed to change some things at least in the short-term so that we could get out from under our debt and live a better life.

So where are you today? What are the pains that are keeping you in bed – at least figuratively speaking?

Money woes have you flat on your back?

Do you feel like your finances are out of control? Money comes in and goes out, but you have no idea where?

Are the debts piling up and you aren’t sure how to continue to pay them?

Just feeling overwhelmed that there is “too much month left at the end of the money”?

Take a first step!

  • Read a book. Dave Ramsey or Larry Burkett are great authors to start with.
  • Sign up for a class like Financial Peace University.
  • Find an older person who is doing very well, offer to take them to lunch and spend an hour picking their brain on how they did it.

I hate my job!!!

Maybe your problems are more on the career and income side of the equation. You know you are careful with your spending but the problem is there is just not enough coming in each month or perhaps you have lost a job and had difficulty finding re-employment.

Maybe you have a decent job but the truth is you really don’t enjoy it.   You have dreams of what you’d love to do, but to this point they have just been dreams. In the meanwhile it feels like trudging off for another day of drudgery in the salt mines.

Again take a first step.

  • Do you need education to pursue your passions or find a better paying job? Start today to find your options.
  • Find some good books. Jon Acuff’s book, Quitter, is a great place to start. Dan Miller has some excellent career books as well.
  • Do you know someone currently working in the field where you’d like to be? Ask them how to best break into it. Better yet if the opportunity arises, see if you could shadow them for a day or two to really get a feel for what the job is like. Obviously, this isn’t possible in all cases, but it is a great chance to really see what the job is like if you have the opportunity.

Clearly this advice could apply to all areas of your life. Health? Fitness? Relationships? If you aren’t satisfied with where you are, take action today. Do something. Take that first step even if it is small.

First steps are painful but worth it

So back to my story, do you know what happened after those first painful steps? I discovered the next morning I felt 100 times better. When she came back the next day to get me out of bed, I was a much more willing patient. I know now that she knew exactly what she was doing. Getting out of bed and taking those first steps, as painful as it may have been, was a critical step in regaining my strength.

So whatever your situation, I encourage you today to take that first step. It doesn’t have to be big. In fact, I think it’s better if first steps are small. Make your first step too big, and you may well get discouraged and give up. Those first steps the day after my surgery… I made it about out to the hallway and back. That’s as much as I could manage. By a couple of days later I was walking down to the end of the hall and back no problems. But that first day the end of the hallway was just a dream.

I would hazard a guess that everyone reading this has some area in their lives that they wish was different. Might be financial or career oriented. Might be something else. Whatever it is – Take a step today. You will thank yourself later that you did.

Before you close this web page, take 5 minutes to consider what one small step can you take today? Write it down and put it in a place where you will see it frequently. Post a comment here and let us know.

Photo credit: David Reber’s Hammer Photography (Creative Commons)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.