First Step Is Not the Hardest and Here is Why

Eugenia Salnikova
3 min readSep 17, 2020

Don’t count on the first step to do the magic, do the magic yourself

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

They say it is supposed to get easier when you just start the journey. You put on the shoes and walk into the sunset, in the direction of your dream. Everything starts with an idea, a vision, and the first step to the final goal in mind. You can see it. It is in your head, on your dream board, in your affirmations, and in your five-year-plan.

You got the motivation, you wrote done the goal in your best handwriting, you get off the bed and you take that first step. This will work. You just have to take the same step every day and you will get there.

The problem is: motivation and the first step do not build momentum. They are just not enough for a proper momentum to keep you going.

They give you a “high” where you already see yourself successful and accomplished but motivatfion is a flaky lady.

She will turn her back on you the second you don’t see the first results. There will be the moment when you will ask yourself something like: “I have started! I took the first step! I know exactly where I want to be, where is my result?”. Often, this is the moment when you will give up.

When it comes to business, it may be within a few months. You are walking the road but you are nowhere close to your dream numbers and you start thinking about another possible venture.

When it comes to weight loss, it may be just a few weeks before you don’t see what you expected to see in the mirror. You remember you gave yourself a few realistic months or more to work on your body in a healthy way. Still, you are disappointed when you don’t fit into the dress.

When it comes to relationships, you might as well uninstall a dating app after a third unsuccessful date. Again, it was just two people with zero chemistry sharing a drink — you’d rather be eating pizza with your friends.

Then you publish an article on Medium and instead of going viral overnight, you get two claps. One of them is from your Mom.

You start doubting whether you are doing the right thing. After all, you are supposed to be happy and successful once you are doing what your heart and motivation call you to do. Maybe you should try pilates instead of cycling? Keto instead of paleo? Start a bakery instead of an Etsy shop? All those affirmations sound like a joke and you hide the dream board.

The hardest step is the one that you take when you don’t see any results, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, when your shoes are starting to wear off and your motivation has woven you “goodbye”. The glass is neither half empty nor half full, it feels like the wrong glass.

Here is where the magic starts because it is in your hands now to build that momentum. Keep taking those steps. Patience IS a virtue. However, patience is very often associated with stillness. I like to think of it as a quiet, regular rhythm you can maintain under any circumstances, no matter what.

“The first step is the hardest” is motivational fast-food from the first page of Pinterest. Ask any marathon runner after which step they hit the proverbial wall. Ask how many steps it took them to be ready for the run.

Unless we are talking about something that can be done in less than 5 minutes and bring the result right away (bungee jumping for example), one step is nothing.

Keep taking those steps even when it’s the darkest. Once you’re past the wall, you will see the magical sunrise and you will see why it was worth it.

Installing a language-learning app isn’t enough to learn Italian (looking in the mirror here). It is a good first step but without 364 more daily steps, when most of the time you don’t feel like it, you won’t be able to order gelato in Rome during your next vacation.

Don’t get me wrong, there is the first step in everything! Just don’t put too much pressure on it, you’ll need that force on the way.

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Eugenia Salnikova

Ukrainian in Paris. Doing things and writing about them. I love seeing casual daily activities as life-transforming experiences and finding some wisdom in them.