Just start taking action

May 16, 2021

I've been thinking a lot lately. About the things I want to do in my lifetime, about the life that I want. A lot has changed for me over the past few weeks and I'm in the middle of a massive life change.

For years I have so many things on my mind, so many things to do, to see, to accomplish. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending to-do list. Sometimes it feels like a burden.

But every time when I pay close attention when I do not drown in the waves of thoughts, I realize how powerful I am. How many opportunities I have. How many things I'm actually able to do, not just think.

I feel blessed. By possibilities, by life itself. It's hard to get to this state, but when I do, it's so rewarding.

Then I see that all these thoughts don't have to be just thoughts. That they can transform into actions. Into reality. Into something great.

I often find myself feeling overwhelmed, yet I am so strong on the inside. I have the power to change my thoughts, my actions, and my life.

All it takes is to start. To go for it.

Pick something from that long list, something that brings value into my life, that makes me happier, that makes me feel fulfilled. Pick something and start doing it.

In the beginning, it's always hard. Especially when there are so many possibilities.

But once momentum is gained, there is no stopping. The positive effects of acting reveal themselves, the inspiration flows and happiness grows.

To start is the ultimate remedy to such an overwhelmed mind. The ultimate solution.

The first step is to structure all these thoughts, to sort them in order to be able to make a plan. To take action.

So this is what I'm doing today.

Though there are so many things on my mind, some show up more often than others, and some make me feel like pursuing them would make me happier than others. So that's where I'll start.

What I wanted to do for a long time, but never started

  • I want to share the photos I took from my travels and the nature around me with the world. I took the first step by developing a photography website, yet I never actively shared it. I want to start posting photos on Instagram, show them to people so I can make a difference for them. I want to actively make use of my photos rather than letting them just sit on my hard drives.
  • I want to take photos for other people. I not only enjoy landscape photography but also love to shoot people and cars. Because I like to have clear subjects, and because I like to make people happy. Let them keep some memories forever. I've always been afraid my work wouldn't be good enough. But I've heard they are. I just have to start.
  • I want to live in different countries, explore different cultures. Not only for a week of vacation but on a more regular basis. Not just visit, but live there for some time. Get to know locals, the way of living, and open up my mind. I want to travel the world and discover the variety it has to offer in landscapes, animals and cultures.
  • I want to volunteer to help people, animals, and the planet. I don't have any specific things in mind, I just want to do some meaningful work that directly impacts others in a positive way. Be it helping out with my local welfare organization, conservation work in South America, or social work in Africa.

That's for the bigger things, those that take some kind of overcoming in order to start. Things that feel so big at times that they don't seem realistic.

But I know they are. I just need to figure out small steps that will take me there slowly.

That's the approach I'm using for my never-ending to-do list in my head. To not feel overwhelmed and don't actually do any of it, I take a step back, watch at everything from a distance, in a rational way. Note the single things slipping through my mind and define steps I can take every single day.

Here is an excerpt from the big cloud of thoughts. What I filtered out already, what I can actually start doing and what's easy to start.

Snippets from my never-ending to-do list

  • Create my own recipe collection of tasty, healthy, and diversified vegan recipes
  • Actually try new recipes
  • Make a list of interesting places to visit, divided by country
  • Share a list of books I read or want to read
  • Share book summaries of books I read
  • Explore the surroundings of my home
  • Check in with someone every week
  • Take an inventory of all stuff I own
  • Structure all my finances, income, and expenses from the past years
  • Replace some old clothes with new ones

These are just a few things from that list, and those I actually can tackle. Not the ones that are too big to be accomplished in a single step, but rather the paths that lead me to them. Some I already started, some I didn't.

From now on, I'll do one thing from my list every single day. Stop letting so many things just exist and instead actually doing them. Living a more fulfilled life.

Realization is the first step to improvement. To change.

Sometimes it's hard to look through the mist.

Sometimes all it takes is a conversation with a loved one that shows you what you've been thinking about for years. What's always been there. What you always wanted.

For me, it's still an ongoing process. With every day I learn a little more about what I've been putting off, and with every day I get more certainty in what I want to try.

There are so many things for us to do. So many things for us to see. It can be overwhelming, but the possibilities exist.

We just have to start.

ジャーニー (Jānī) is Japanese for journey.