Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Good Start

The other day I got a call from a friend that a property he and I have an ownership interest in was in need of attention. So I decided I'd grab my trusty sling blade (more appropriately called a "double edged weed cutter"). I figured I'd take a few swings at it - it was just a small area so it shouldn't be too much trouble, right?

Truth be known, I'm not an outdoorsy kind of guy. I spend most of my life indoors, often at a desk, looking at a computer screen, reading, on the phone, visiting, studying, etc. But still, it's just a small plot of ground. How hard can it be?

Did I mention we're going through a heat wave? Did I mention the weeds were over 3 feet tall? Did I mention I'm not an outdoorsy kind of guy? Did I mention I'm a wimp? It was hot! And the weeds fought back! They really did!

I had tightened up a couple of the screws on the sling blade that were loose and got with it. Not long into my work one of the screws (that I hadn't tightened up because it was really rusty) broke, leaving me with a crippled tool. So it was off to Ace Hardware to pick up a replacement bolt, nut, washers, etc. (To be honest, I didn't mind the break! [G])

After putting it back together again I went back to work. I had started out at a pretty good clip, but it didn't take long until I wasn't swinging as hard as I was when I started. Then I found myself taking an occasional break. Then my breaks became more frequent. I actually considered quitting at one point when I got dizzy and couldn't see straight. But I only had a few feet left to go at that point so I finished it off.

Finished. What a great word! In these days of 100+ degree temperatures with the heat index hovering around 110, I was glad to be through. But I finished! It wasn't a "finished" job in the sense of being finely trimmed. It definitely needs a lawnmower to get in there and chop it up good and give it that freshly-cut look. But we couldn't get the lawnmower in there until the tall grass was cut down.

Hopefully the before and after pictures give a little perspective to what took place. It needed to be done. It had to be done. The thing that kept it from being done was getting started.

As I think about that I realize there are a lot of projects in my life that need to be done. That have to be done. And the thing that keeps me from doing them is getting started. Too many times I get caught up in thinking it has to be done perfectly. Or it has to have that "freshly-cut look" when I get through, so I procrastinate, I hold off. And because I never get started, it never gets done. The point to me is to get started!

Here's a practical example - last year I lost over 60 pounds. It was a great accomplishment for me personally. But lately I've been slipping back into some old habits and I've let about 20 of those pounds slip right back on me. It was easy to justify - vacation, mission trip, schedule, etc. And then it seemed like the weeds just got so high. What I needed was a good start. I can't loose all 20 pounds right away. And I can't "not start" just because I can't finish it quickly or give it the "freshly-cut look". But I need to get a good start. I need to start.

And that's what I've done. I started. I've lost 3 pounds so far simply by starting. I made up my mind I was going to do this. I know it's going to be hard, the weeds are going to be high, I might have to run to Ace Hardware to retool, I'm going to want to quit. But I'm starting. And this post is more about accountability and reminding myself of what it takes to get to the goal. I'll never reach the finish line if I never leave the starting line. So I'm starting. And it's a good start. Anybody want to join me?

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