It’s human nature to put off uncomfortable or undesirable tasks. But if something is a legitimate priority, we’ll have to get it done eventually – and sooner is better than later.

Harvard Business Review’s Dorie Clark has a lot of strategies that can help you stop procrastinating. In her new book, The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World, Clark lays out strategies we can use to “trick ourselves” into getting started on projects that might feel onerous or overwhelming, but really need to get done.

Here are three techniques to try:

Start with easy behavior change.
Instead of focusing on the enormous task ahead of you, Stanford psychologist BJ Fogg suggests creating “tiny habits” that are so minuscule and doable that they’re impossible to resist.” When he wanted to create a flossing habit for himself, he decided to floss just one tooth. Because getting started is often the hard part, once you’re flossing that one tooth, it becomes far easier to keep going and floss them all.

The goal is that for any activity where you feel nervous or averse, lower the bar and find a small way to begin. If you find yourself overwhelmed by your inbox, try replying to just one email. If you’re uncomfortable at a networking event, go up to just one person and introduce yourself.

Commit to a deadline.
Sam Horn was a successful author and speaker – and she couldn’t figure out how to take a break. “For decades, I had associated a full calendar with financial stability,” she said. “It was a measure of my success.” And that’s exactly what she’d optimized for, booking her schedule so full, she was on the brink of exhaustion.

After one particularly brutal trip, she decided to realize a dream that she’d been pushing off for years: She wanted to spend a year traveling and working from the road. Most critically, she gave herself a deadline. For any major project, whether it’s starting a new business, or applying for an award or signing up for a course or a graduate program, she says, “If you do not have a date on the calendar, it is not getting done. Because life will intervene and you’ll say, ‘OK, well, not now, later.’ And then you set up that loop.”

She ran into plenty of obstacles on her path to becoming a digital nomad, from incredulous friends (“Sam, are you sick?”) to fears that her business would suffer if she went on the road. “Yet it happened,” she says, “because I circled October 1 on my calendar and made a vow to be out the door on that day.” Her biggest lesson? “A pre-commitment needs to have metrics if it’s going to succeed.”

Make it an experiment.
The key to overcoming this hurdle and getting started is lowering the stakes in our own mind, so we can actually get started. If we view a project as a defining moment in our lives, of course we’ll hesitate: If I don’t get the pitch deck right, no one will invest in my startup, and my entrepreneurial dreams will fail!

Instead, we need to reframe our actions as an experiment, because it eliminates the risk of failure. Failure is upsetting to so many of us because it implies finality. You tried to accomplish something, and it didn’t happen. But an experiment, which you recognize from the beginning has an uncertain outcome, can hardly be called a failure. You know it’ll take multiple iterations to get the result you want, and you set your expectations accordingly.

Instead of becoming a podcaster for life, you commit to one season of six episodes. Even if no one listens, or you realize you don’t enjoy it, you haven’t failed: You’ve gotten data that helps you refine your approach, so you can succeed in the future. When the pressure is off, it’s a lot easier to motivate ourselves to get started.