The courage to begin

“Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn and stretch and try to come to life
Jump in the shower and the blood starts pumping
Out on the street the traffic starts jumping
With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5.”

The 2020 version of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 song (written in 1980) likely would be a little different with the demands of today. Globalization, the gig economy (that favors temporary workers over a fulltime staff), and technology have us feeling busier and more “connected” than ever.

Over the past 40 years, workforce skills also have evolved. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of workers in occupations requiring average to above-average education, training and experience increased 68 percent from 1980 to 2015, and it continues to rise.

Time is a Resource

You are the caretaker, the hard worker, the problem solver, the loyal friend, and perhaps even the weekend warrior. Time is a scarce resource. With the demands you put on yourself for work, family, friends, and other life priorities, it’s difficult to imagine how you could possibly fit in anything else.

Pursuing your degree takes time, energy and commitment, and you may wonder how you could possibly muster more in your busy life. It's easy to make excuses and let our lack of time, confidence or resources get in the way of beginning something new. We give up the positive impact of “what could have been” by waiting for the perfect time.

To embark on the journey towards your goals and dreams requires bravery. To remain on that path requires courage. The bridge to merge the two is commitment.
– Dr. Steve Maraboli

News flash: There will never be a perfect time. There will always be a hurdle or an obstacle to help you remain onboard the procrastination train.

Take returning to school as an example. Whether completing a bachelor’s degree or pursuing a graduate program, millions of busy working adults return to college each year and somehow figure it out. It may not be the perfect time, but they know it’s a necessary step for moving in the direction of their inner North Star.

Just as the North Star in the sky serves as a navigation tool, so does our “inner” North Star. It's the part of us that knows our purpose and life direction. Returning to school can be a step in the pursuit of your North Star. Some tips to ensure procrastination doesn’t interfere:

Define Your Why

Identifying your motivation is key to sustaining your commitment and success as an adult learner. Most adults return to school for one or more of these reasons:

  • Pathway - to gain a competitive edge; switch career fields; improve job stability; advance a current career path; reinvent oneself
  • Passion - to achieve personal goals; be a role model for others, including one’s children; pursue a passion; learn for the sake of enrichment
  • Paycheck - to increase one’s earning potential

Define what differences in your life or career that earning this degree will make, whether it relates to your pathway, passion, and/or paycheck. Remind yourself of these on the regular.

According to psychologist and best-selling author Rick Hanson, Ph.D., “When you find your North Star, you know where you’re headed. That alone feels good. Plus, your North Star is wholesome and vital, so aiming toward it will bring more and more happiness and benefit to yourself and others. And you can dream bigger dreams and take more chances in life since if you lose your way, you’ve got a beacon to home in on.”

So, prioritize the desire to make an impact over the mental resistance to procrastinate. Embrace any shortcomings and banish your inner critic. Develop a support system. Rely on your family and friends; you’ll need them. And remind yourself of “why” with the courage to begin this journey. You won’t regret it.


Continue your research with tips to minimize your college debt, how to balance work, family and school or determine if a master’s degree is worth it. Prefer talking with another person? Regis admissions counselors are always available to talk things through and help you consider the options.

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