Things that have prevented me from getting started in the past

Procrastination: this is the big daddy that gets in most people’s way. It’s much easier to put off the thing than it is to start doing the thing.

Overthinking: if you think too much about something without doing it, you can start to come up with all kinds of reasons why it’s a bad idea or it won’t work, even though you’re probably wrong.

Lack of ideas/inspiration: sometimes I would want to get started, but I didn’t think I had any ideas, or any good ideas at least (see overthinking above). I later learned that sometimes the best ideas come from actually doing the thing and going where it takes you.

Option paralysis: I have too many interests, not enough time. I have the ambitions of a full-time artist, but the schedule of a hobbyist. If you want to do several things but only have time to do one, it can lead to paralysis. Which one do you do? If you can’t decide, you may end up doing none.

Doing too much planning, not enough work: I do a lot of thinking about what I want to do. I like imagining the finished product, thinking about how I’m going to do it, what supplies I need, etc. That stuff isn’t meant to stay in your head. You may have a lot of ideas in your head about how a thing may go, but unless you actually do the thing, you have no way of knowing whether your ideas correspond with reality.

Lack of time/No schedule: I have a full-time job and a family with 2 kids. That can make a person feel like they have no time for themself. If you don’t set aside a specific time every day to do something, you’ll probably never do it. I spend an hour a night making art after the kids go to bed. I’ve done a lot in those hours, much more than I would have if I didn’t make a schedule.

Lack of confidence: This is a cousin of overthinking. I’ve talked myself out of doing things throughout my life because I thought it wouldn’t be successful, I wouldn’t be good at it, I might embarrass myself, etc. The thing I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older and had more experiences is that most people aren’t good at something when they first start, and if I put the time and effort into doing something I usually do a pretty good job.

Distraction/Laziness: I don’t know if there really are more distractions today than there used to be, but it feels like there are. There are so many options for wasting time, it’s very easy to do something other than what you actually want to do. I could easily burn that hour I mentioned above just scrolling on my phone. If I played video games on a regular basis that would be another easy way to lose that hour. I could watch some extra TV, or go to a bar, or smoke some weed, or pick up another hobby that distracted me from my goals (see option paralysis). There are a lot of things in the world vying for our attention, it’s important to keep your attention in the right place.

Thinking it’s too late: As you get older you might think it’s too late to get started on the thing you want to pursue. If you do some research though, you can probably find stories of people getting started later than you and being very successful, no matter what it is. There’s a saying that goes something like: the best time to get started was 10 years ago, the second best time is right now. I could talk myself out of doing this by telling myself nobody reads blogs anymore, the time to do this was 20 years ago, etc, but as far as I’m concerned if I want to do it I should still do it!

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