Lunch most days consists of a salad. It's a good salad, but it's still a salad.
I head down to the café, grab a plate, and put some lettuce and spinach on there before I can change my mind.
And I would change my mind.
There's pizza, burgers, Taco Tuesday, and a whole number of other enticing menu options that I would enjoy for a moment and regret almost immediately after.
But that first step of grabbing the plate and starting to fix my salad makes it almost inevitable that I'm going to end up eating the kind of lunch that later, I'll be glad I had.
This morning, I didn't want to go for a run.
Some days I wake up full of energy and it's easy to bounce out the door and put in a few miles.
Other days (like today), I wake up exhausted.
I don't want to run.
I don't want to do anything.
I want to roll over and go back to sleep.
But I didn't.
I rolled out of bed, put on my running gear, and stepped outside.
I knew that if I could get that first step or two in, my habits would kick in and the run would take care of itself.
I don't have to worry about finishing the run... just getting started.
Every day, I experience this "first step" effect in a dozen different ways.
I know that if I can just get started down the path I know I want to go, pretty soon a tiny bit of momentum starts to develop.
That tiny bit of momentum grows like a snowball and eventually, it becomes unstoppable!
But it's that initial micro commitment that determines whether I'm going to succeed.
I don't finish 100% of the things I don't start.
Mentally and emotionally, it's much easier to commit to starting than it is to bite off the whole thing (whatever the thing may be... a run, a project, a massive initiative).
If I've already decided the type of person I want to be or what I'm trying to accomplish, I know what sort of actions I should take.
I can focus on starting those actions and trust that the rest will take care of itself.