I savor the moments when I’m able to step back from the flurry of day-to-day activities, take an objective look at my life, and see where I am and where I want to go. Though these moments seem few and far between, it really only takes one quality self-evaluation to realign my trajectory and start heading in a better direction.

I’ve found that when I am setting personal goals, the longer-term the goal, the least likely I am to start taking immediate steps. So, in order to encourage more immediate action, I’ve started asking myself the question, “what’s keeping me from achieving this goal today?”

For instance, I’ve always wanted to record a solo album where I play guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, and piano. Ten years ago this was a 10-year goal of mine. Was 10 years an ample amount of time to accomplish this goal? Of course. Did I accomplish this goal? Nope. So, instead of writing down this goal as something to accomplish within the NEXT-TEN-YEARS, I simply started writing down the things that are keeping me from achieving it today.

The list included:

-Not enough money to pay for a professional studio and sound engineer.

-Not enough fully arranged songs.

-Not nice enough equipment to record myself.

-Not enough knowledge to record myself.

-No keyboard to record with.

-No bass to record with.

When I really started evaluating these preventing factors, I started realizing they were not even legitimate. Did I actually need to pay for a professional studio? Was I being perfectionistic with my song arrangements? Couldn’t I actually use GarageBand and the microphone from my Apple Earbuds to start recording my album? I could google any recording question I had. I was one phone call away from having a friend’s keyboard in my living room. I was one more phone call away from having my brother in-law’s bass in my living room.

Are the preventing factors for all my goals this easy to remedy? Not usually. But I have found even when I am not able to solve my problems the day of, just going through the exercise of asking the question, “what’s keeping me from accomplishing this today?” always leads to taking positive steps towards accomplishing that goal.

I say all this because I hear person after person say they’ve, “always wanted to learn guitar.” I’ve started asking people what’s keeping them from starting.

Typical answers are:

Not enough time.

Can’t find a teacher.

Can’t afford a guitar.

These are all valid reasons, if, they are indeed valid.

Could you not find 5-minutes a day to start learning guitar?

Would you believe I NEVER had a guitar teacher? I was eager to learn so I found books and resources online to help me learn.

I’ve played a few different guitars that cost $150 or less I would be confident going onstage to perform with. If you can’t swing $150, then music stores will rent you instruments for as little as $10 per month.

It really would be great if we stumbled upon the perfect time to start being the person we’ve always wanted to be. In reality, we aren’t waiting for a perfect time. We are waiting for an easy time. And, as I’ve come to learn, nothing of value comes easily.

You might be wondering if I started recording my solo album. I have. I have one track recorded. It’s a start, which is better then a stop.

If you’ve genuinely always wanted to learn an instrument then stop waiting for the perfecting time to start, because, “perfectionism is the enemy of progress.” -Winston Churchill