The New Year is typically a notable milestone in time. It causes us to stop… and take inventory. We inventory our personal growth. We inventory our goals and aspirations, in contrast to what we have actually achieved.
“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” – Benjamin Franklin
This quote is all about the present. Too many people, myself included, focus on the past or on the future. We can lament the past, and plan for the future, but we can only get things done in the present, today. This quote urges us to actually do something today, instead of waiting until tomorrow to get started.
Why is it important to not put things off? Besides the obvious answer of it won’t get done, it also creates a kind of momentum. Newton’s First Law says that “An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it.” So there is momentum in sloth, delaying, procrastinating and all the other euphemisms for the act of not doing.
The opposite is just as important. Avalanches start when just the tiniest of pebbles or snowflakes bumps into just the right spot. All that pent up potential energy is released, and gathers speed, strength, and momentum. By putting off until tomorrow, you are robbing yourself of the “mighty momentum”.
Tony Robbins has a saying, “never leave the site of a decision without taking action.” Does that sound kind of like Benjamin Franklins’ quote? What Tony is trying to do is to get you to help yourself by taking a step, no matter how small, to start that momentum, to start your own avalanche.
What have you been putting off in your life? A project to do, something to start doing, something to stop doing, some habits that need to be modified?
Can you find a way to break it into a couple different steps? Can you break one of the easier steps into a few chunks? Find the tiniest chunk, and do it! Put that object in motion, and feel the thrill, the expectation and, at times, the terror of having started something. Then follow it up.
What I mean to say when I say follow it up is that one push alone won’t get it done. As an avalanche needs gravity to constantly pull on it, so your task will require your attention. Perhaps not as consistently as gravity, but you will need to continue to take steps toward finishing the task.
Friction exists in the real world, and it tries to slow the avalanche. Your task will face a similar counter-force. It may be apathy, being too busy with other “high priority” tasks, and distractions. By keeping after it, even in the smallest steps, you will eventually get there.
The New Year is here. You made your resolutions, now go. Build that momentum, and see just what you are capable of.