A marathon runner knows that, in order to cross the finish line at the end of the race, they must put one foot in front of the other. If they think of the 40,000 steps they’ll need to take to finish the race, they’d likely be stuck sitting at the starting line, hugging their knees to their chest, rocking back and forth, paralyzed by how daunting the task before them seems. Instead, they simply take one step at a time. One. The marathon, when tackled with this mentality, feels doable. And so, one step leads to one thousand, to ten thousand, and before long, the finish line is in view!

The process of parenting, starting a business, searching for a new job, planning a vacation, launching a new product or any number of lofty goals you envision achieving, is organic. It grows and changes as you, your kids, your clients, your boss and your surroundings do. So instead of being overwhelmed by the unknown, focus instead, each step of the way, on asking yourself the question: What’s the immediate next action I need to take?

Take developing a new product as an example. Thinking about the hundreds of steps and dozens of people that need to be involved to take the product through the stages of conception, prototype, promotion and launch can inspire such fear and overwhelm that you put off starting. You procrastinate because it just seems like too much.

Instead, think only of the answer to one question: What’s the immediate next action I need to take? Ask yourself this question until you arrive at an answer that seems so simple and obvious to act on that there’s no reason why you wouldn’t do it.

Your thinking may go something like this…

    What’s the immediate next action I need to take?

            Review the client research conducted in February.

    To do that, what’s the immediate next action I need to take?

            Get the research report from the marketing team.

    To do that, what’s the immediate next action I need to take?

            Email the marketing director for the research report.

And suddenly, you have something simple to act on. All you need to do right now, at this moment, to develop a new product, is to send an email. Do it, and then ask yourself the question again. And again. And again. You’ll be amazed at how things that once felt overwhelming and scary feel doable and exhilarating. You’re continually moving forward by taking action to get closer and closer to the finish line. Don’t think about everything it will take to get from here to there. Ride the wave of momentum you gather by pursuing the immediate next action every step of the way.

Talk to any author about the twists and turns their story took as it unfolded beneath their pen. There’s no way they could have anticipated this when they started writing. And if they had waited to write until they knew exactly where the story was going to end, pen would never have been put to paper.

Many personal and professional goals may feel just as daunting as running a marathon. So shift focus by continually focusing on the immediate next action that needs to be taken.

Want some help on your journey to kick procrastination to the curb? Let’s talk!