Three ways to kickstart your progress (when it's unclear where to start) [the decorative image shows a woman's hands holding a cup of coffee by the handle in one hand, and a blank phone in the other.]

Three Ways to Kickstart Your Progress (When It’s Unclear Where to Start)

When it comes to getting started on big goals, there are plenty of things that can hold us back. There are goals where we know exactly what to do, but can’t seem to get motivated. There are goals that just seem too big to fathom. And then there are goals where we just don’t know where to start.

This is for those times. These are the times when we know what we want to accomplish, and we believe we can get there… but we just have no idea where to start. Here are three steps you can take this week:

1. Treat questions as tasks

Unanswered questions quickly overwhelm us. Where do you start when you have soooo many questions? The good news is this: If you have questions, you have your starting point.

Treat the questions as tasks on their own. Rather than telling yourself that you don’t know where to start, just begin with the questions you already have. Ask Google. Ask friends. Ask Facebook groups or forums. Ask your librarian.

You’ll find that as you tug at those threads, more will be revealed. Chances are, at first it will lead to more questions, but those questions will become more specific. And specific questions lead to actionable answers.

One word of caution: Set a time limit on this research phase. It’s easy—almost addictive—to stay in this phase once we build a comfort level with it, but at some point, you need to take action. Incorporate these questions into your search:

  • What are your options for action?
  • What results matter most?
  • What is the minimum you need to know to take action?
  • What resources do you need?

Which leads us to the next kickstart…

2. Review the resources already available to you

More often than not, when we start asking questions, we find our problem quickly becomes too much information. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with the resources already available to you. This could include online courses you’ve already purchased but never finished, books you bought but never read, web pages you bookmarked a year ago… Speaking from experience here!

This doesn’t always feel like momentum. Actually, it can feel like a slog compared to the initial rush of searching for answers and learning new facts. But it’s this steady acquisition of knowledge that will help you set your path and find the wisdom you need to move forward.


3. Create a simple system to organize your notes & action steps

This is in conjunction with the other two. It’s another move that looks unsexy, but will pay big dividends in making your next steps clear.

Keep it simple.

  • Create categories.

    • If you have a book that provides an overview of the topic, use the table of contents as categories.
    • Do a brain download and use the categories that come to mind
    • If you’re not sure yet, you can always use “who, what, where, when, why, how” in the beginning
  • Decide where to keep all of your notes. For example:

    • Document
    • Spreadsheet
    • Evernote
    • Pen & paper
  • Decide on a method. It can be anything that fits your personality, but whatever you decide, make sure to write it down so you can stay consistent! Here are some examples:

    • Pretend you’re going back to school and use one of these notetaking methods 
    • Create a color-coding system
    • Create outlines for each category with the questions you need answered
  • Create a table of contents so you can easily find specific information when you need it

Keep the focus on your action steps. For example, you could highlight them in a specific color, or have a separate section for them. 

Even if you have a long road ahead of you, look for things you can do now. Most of our goals begin with adjusting one or more of these:

  • Budget
  • Schedule
  • Knowledge base

Highlight these in your action plan. Stay grounded in the present, even as you work toward the future. And don’t forget to celebrate your progress along the way! 

I’m cheering for you!


Beyond Intentions is a step-by-step guide that will help you get out of your head, keep track of everything, and turn intentions into actions.

  • Identify goals, intentions, and priorities, then make a do-able plan based on them.
  • Align your actions to that plan using simple routines that can be easily adjusted to your personality and preferences.
  • Build consistency so you can follow through and see results from your work.
    • Rest well, trusting that everything truly important will get done.

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