Sometimes we delay starting because conditions are imperfect.

You want to exercise but can’t squeeze in a whole hour.

You’d like feed your body healthy, fuel foods, but you’ll start tomorrow because you had donuts and diet coke for breakfast.

I’ve got an idea, but the blog post might be out better if I do more research.

How often do we get stuck in the research? How often do we say we’ll start the diet tomorrow?

Do we delay indefinitely?

The most successful person is rarely the smartest or most prepared. She’s the one that ploughs through doubt.

The twelve step people say you that you cannot think yourself to right action. You must act yourself to right thinking. This is often correct.

We cannot afford to wait for inspiration or the right mood. If I want to change, I must begin right here, right where I am, despite my doubt or this morning’s donut.

So, with writing, even though there’s more research to do, even though I know I’ll be interrupted, even though I fear I’m inept, incompetent and just plain boring, I begin the mechanical process of putting words on the blank page. Without judgement, without even thinking, I just begin the act of writing and somehow, imperceptibly, the product shifts from stream-of-consciousness brain dump to some semblance of prose that I can craft into a story. Slowly, from a bunch of first attempts, a body of work emerges.

Ten years ago, after an OA meeting, I was bemoaning a bad habit to my friend Jeri. I used to leave my third-floor walk-up, in jammies, to pick out a shiny, saran wrapped brick of banana bread from the all-night bodega at the corner. Jeri stopped me mid-sentence and announced that I had had my last banana bread. I didn’t stop that night, because I wanted to complete my ritual one more time. I had to say goodbye to the banana bread. By eating another one.

With food, I’ll never wipe the slate clean. I cannot expunge food misdeeds or will myself into “normal.” But I can make the best choice possible in each moment no matter what happened the moment or meal before.

We don’t need a last hurrah before we start the diet. Don’t wait for a fresh start tomorrow morning or until the Vitamix arrives.

Start now.

Despite regret. Despite not knowing exactly what you’re doing.

Imperfectly.