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nebule's avatar

Why is it SO difficult to start something in contrast with how easy it is to continue...

Asked by nebule (16446points) March 11th, 2010

This might seem like this has an obvious answer I know… (it simply requires more effort to begin any task) but I’m not entirely sure it does…and even if it does, shouldn’t motivation override this?

If there is motivation there to do something, however little or large, it still strikes me as incredibly hard to actually pick up ones tools and begin…even if all the tools are already there in front of you.

I am motivated to do many things at the moment…some more than others… but it seems like even when I feel I really really want to do something I still experience resistance to start. Once I have started it’s a breeze….

I think there’s possibly several things going on here, physical, psychological, perhaps biological… I’d love to hear some of your thoughts…

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17 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Think of it like pushing a car. The car is heavy, and difficult to get moving, but once you do the momentum that is built up makes it easiers to keep pushing and even go faster.

arnbev959's avatar

I think it’s familiarity. It’s daunting to begin something new because it’s new, because you don’t necessarily know what you’re doing. But once you break the ice on something your confidence increases and you can kind of get into a groove with it.

More often my problem is the opposite. I’m great at starting projects, but not so great at finishing them.

Fyrius's avatar

Like @petethepothead just said, there are also people who enthusiastically start new projects by the dozens and then get stuck in the process, leaving them in the fridge to gather dust until the end of time. I’m not sure who is worse off.
I think a solution to both problems is to figure out exactly what you want to do and how you’re going to do it before you get to work. It makes it easier to overcome initially being overwhelmed and not knowing how to approach the problem, and it makes it easier to keep moving once you’ve taken off.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’ll answer this the way my mother used to respond to something I would have said as a teenager:

“Do you want to start something? Well, do you? Because if you want to start something, just say that again…”

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’m the exact opposite. I have no problem with starting things. It’s staying with it that’s the problem. I’m really great at getting things organized to start something, but once it gets repetitive or routine, I tend to bail on it. Maybe that’s my ADD?

partyparty's avatar

My SO always draws out a plan of action before he starts anything. Then he works to that plan religiously. Personally I think he is too organised, but if it gets the jobs done, then I don’t have any room for complaint LOL

noyesa's avatar

Just like everything else in life, starting something new involves lots of uknowns. This is a roadblock disproportionate to its actual difficulty—filling in the unknowns could be very easy, but when you’re staring at a pile of them it can seem impossible.

I’m a computer programmer, and I start new projects all the time. Encountering a similar problem to one I’ve already done can even be daunting because programmers are the most efficient when the topic at hand is fresh in their head. Putting something down for a few weeks or months is almost suicide, because it takes a while to pick up where you left off—remembering what different variables are for, the meaning of certain segments of code. It can almost be more difficult to pick up and modify something you haven’t touched in a while because you’re not confident you understand it completely any more. I find this to be true of any type of project.

CMaz's avatar

I am in the same boat. I have all these things I want to do. They are all laid out before me.
All I have to do is do it. But I don’t. Almost like I can’t.

It is so frustrating. I am hoping it is just the weather. At least that excuse will buy me a few more weeks.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@ChazMaz… until you can blame the hot weather, or the rainy weather, anyway.

CMaz's avatar

Shhhhh, that is next months excuse.

elenuial's avatar

There are plenty of possible reasons. One of the most common is that, when the task is large, you see it as daunting and pretty impossible to achieve, so it’s hard to motivate oneself to do it.

If that’s the case, try splitting it up into smaller and easily achievable subtasks, and go about doing them one at a time, only focusing on that smaller part. A lot of people find success with that.

With that said, I’m someone who has trouble with both. Which works out okay, I guess, since I’m pretty busy anyways. But still. :)

Jude's avatar

Great question and the story of my life. Great responses, too.

JTSTs2003's avatar

I wish I had your problem!! I’m the complete opposite. I can start things easy as pie, but to continue is SO HARD and I rarely ever finish anything I start.

So I would say, in my opinion, this is an issue with how you view “starting” things. Change your belief about it, and it should become easier!

Maybe tell yourself “ohhh something new to learn!” or think of all of the great things you could do once you have begun this project, the praise you will get, the self esteem boost you will get from doing it. Think of all of the positive things and forget the negative all together – that’s what I do!

Now my question to you…how in the world do I keep my interest in something I’ve started so I can continue it!? haha

Good luck!

downtide's avatar

I think I have the opposite problem. I find it easy to start a project, and much harder to maintain it. My life is full of unfinished projects.

PacificToast's avatar

Familiarity is a wonderful things that once we have, is comfortable. Everyone likes to be comfortable. Unless they’re masochistic.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am one of those easy starter, and never finisher. I have projects all over my house that turned out to be easier than I thought, so I set aside, or worse, harder than I thought, so they are stored for ‘later’. I often start walking, which is what my doctor ordered, but before long, I’m back to making excuses instead.

Coloma's avatar

I have invented a word for my resistance to taking out the trash, call it ’ procrastatrash’ hahahaha

I have a very long driveway..takes a lot of momentum to roll that big can all the way up to the top.

Soloution: I just got a bigger can with bigger wheels so I can now go a fortnight till the next pilgrimage up the hill! lolol

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