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The Secret to Getting Started by Jill Kemerer author

The Secret to Getting Started

As I write this, it’s Monday. I woke up in a crum-diddly mood, and that’s not a good thing. I can’t point to one specific reason. There were many reasons, and they all sound stupid. Regardless, I was not motivated to do anything–not one single thing–on my schedule.

Every weekday morning, after my Bible reading and coffee time, I exercise. But today? Wasn’t feeling it. In fact, my thoughts went to danger-zone territory.

  • I’m too tired.
  • It’s overcast and depressing outside.
  • Everyone else has a national holiday from work, why don’t I take one too?
  • The workout is forty-five minutes long. What kind of person ever wants to exercise for that long? Not this kind of person, that’s for sure.
  • I have other things to do. Better things. (I didn’t.)

At that point, I knew I’d be mad at myself if I chucked my entire schedule. However, I also knew today wasn’t going to light the world on fire as far as my productivity, so I decided to take a nap–with the firm agreement I would work out as soon as I woke up.

Then I’d get started on my day.

I woke up. My mood was slightly improved, and by slightly, I’m talking razor-thin. My desire to exercise, get groceries, write this blog, and do all of the other things on my list was still at a chilly zero.

Again, I knew I’d be made at myself if I didn’t do something–anything, really. So I made another agreement with myself. I would do five minutes of the workout.

FYI: The first five minutes of the workout is a warmup.

I tied my laces, got out my hand weights and turned on the video. I got through the first five minutes. Figured I could keep going since I was already warmed up. So I did. Throughout the session, I gave myself permission to quit early at any time. But I never did. I got through the entire workout.

My desire to tackle the rest of my list hiked up a notch to a solid 1 out of 10. Hey, I’ll take it.

Grocery shopping did not rock my world, but it got done.

I almost skipped my food-prep session. The thing is, though, I eat healthier ALL WEEK when I spend an hour chopping up vegetables and cheese, making hard-boiled eggs, or whipping up a batch of energy bites (if you haven’t had an energy bite, they are like little balls of cookie dough but healthier and delicious! The recipe I use can be found at Bless This Mess (I make the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Energy Bites).

Instead of skipping food prep altogether, I decided I’d cut up the cauliflower and that was it. But after I chopped the cauliflower, I got out my hard-boiled egg maker, and while the eggs were cooking, I whipped up a batch of energy bites and cut up a block of cheese.

So I got through the food prep, too.

I was still in a really ugly mood, but I went upstairs anyhow. I’d made it this far. Why not keep crossing stuff off my list?

That’s when my laptop decided it needed to restart and spend an hour “updating.” Great.

I could have quit. I mean, it was the perfect excuse, right?

Nope. I was seeing Monday through to the end. I had a few packages to put together, so I got those done while the laptop updated…and updated…and updated.

Didn’t matter. I had a blog to write.

You see the secret to getting started isn’t finding your motivation.

I had none today.

The secret isn’t giving yourself a pep-talk.

There was no pep-talk in me today, either.

The secret to getting started is setting the bar low. REALLY LOW.

I got myself to work out by bargaining with myself–just do five minutes.

I got myself to get through a food prep session by telling myself I’d just cut up the cauliflower.

I got myself to ignore the updating laptop by tackling a different project that needed to get done.

And now I’m here finishing up this blog post all because I set the bar so ridiculously low today, I was able to meet all my goals.

Don’t ask me how or why setting the bar low works–it just does. And that’s good enough for me.

What’s YOUR secret to getting started?

Have a great week!


Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. She hopes to encourage readers through her books the way so many books have encouraged her. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website,

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. My secret to getting started is to make myself do something. Even if I want to put off doing a task, I make myself do it. 🙂 I tell myself that I will be happy to have completed the task.
    Have a great week!

  2. Monday blues. I get those too. Sometimes on Mondays or Tuesdays or Wednesdays. By the time Thursday rolls around, things usually start looking a bit brighter. What gets me motivated? My pets and kids. And God adjusting my perspective (the ‘I get to’ instead of ‘I got to’). Like walking the dogs in the morning. It can be a tedious chore, but I get to exercise and pray while I walk. And all of a sudden, I am looking forward to taking the dogs out. 🙂

    1. Haha! Any weekday is ripe for the blues…
      Oh, I agree! Having pets and children relying on is really helps get us moving. I love your point about perspective. It’s so important. 🙂

  3. I had one of those days recently too (thank the Lord that I don’t have them very often!). I really didn’t want to do anything except guzzle coffee and snuggle with my fur babies. However, I knew that not doing what needed to be done would just constantly “bug” me and give me no peace, so I forced myself to start paying those bills. My heart was just not in it though. So, I bribed myself with some cinnamon-sugar toast with my homemade bread upon completion of this one chore. Before I knew it, I was in the groove, and my day turned itself around. I guess it was just taking that first step (and maybe the anticipation of one of my favorite childhood treats) that did it. Maybe my taste buds deserve all of the credit!

    1. Frannie, I love the way you think! (Now I want cinnamon sugar toast–yum, yum!) I agree that taking the first step is half the battle. And bribing myself just might be the other half! Well done!

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