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The First Step

"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."

This old proverb is used to encourage people to get started on a process that could be difficult and take a long time - taking that first step.

The thing is, in a journey of a thousand miles, it’s not the first step that is the hard one. On the first step, you feel fresh, are full of optimism, you have clean socks and you just ate breakfast.

...but you have clean socks and you just ate breakfast!

We can kid ourselves that we have cracked a new behaviour by the fact we got started, and when we experience some early success. In the same way, a person may feel excited about saving their first £5 towards an expensive purchase. We also tend to believe that regardless of the challenge that lies ahead, our motivation and enthusiasm will remain as high as it feels at the start. Of course we are going to eat a light salad for lunch every day for the next six weeks. Of course we will start all our college assignments early. Of course we will still want to do a 6am fitness class in a month’s time…

People feel great about taking those first steps.

It’s the ones that follow that may be more difficult, because the end goal can still seem so far away, while the initial excitement of getting started begins to subside. Going back to the thousand-mile journey analogy, it’s not the start that’s hard, it’s at mile 150, when you have blisters on your feet, you’ve run out of food, are tired and need a good shower – that’s when it gets hard. And you’re not even at a quarter of the way yet! That’s when you need to be digging deep into your reserve of motivation.

Supporting your customers to get started is important, and also exciting and fun. But what’s more important is how you can also support them at mile 150, and mile 362, and mile 509...

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