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There is extensive literature available online and countless books written in relation to how we can learn to take action in our every lives. I must confess, this was never one of my greatest strengths. I am sure that others along with myself have been crippled by fear, procrastination and the daunting “maybe I shouldn’t”, or the “maybe I will do it another time” excuses. But have you ever thought about what you have either missed or would have benefited, if you just took action?
What some people fail to understand in my view, is that taking action is never as easy for some as it is for others. Many persons have been trapped in a cycle of self-sabotaging habits that continues to stifle their ability to successfully achieve their desired goals. It takes more than just writing down affirmations, reading books and listening to inspirational videos. It requires commitment, discipline and consistency to take decisive action.
There are many persons who right now are comfortable with their excuses, so they will never do what it takes to take action or to change their circumstances. On the other hand, there are others who have no idea where to start; and others who just need that ‘push’ to help them to leap into action. Whichever category you may fall, I am here to offer help to all.
So you have identified that you are ready to take action, what are some of the things you need to keep in mind before, during and after.
Get clear on what you want to do and where you want to go in your life:
This is never an easy decision for many people, but it is a necessary step that one must make. The truth is, not having some clarity about what you want may result in you going around in circles (especially in your mind), taking on activities (for example a job, relationships etc.) you have no interest or care for and then, you end up feeling frustrated with people in your life and the world in general. Deciding on what you want for your life, may not be as frightening as you think. Sometimes, making resolute decisions about where you would like to see yourself in a year’s time or two makes all the difference in the world. Making a decision to start small may be the best step you take in this process, especially if you are not able to visualize your future as clearly.
Write down the things you want to do or to get done:
Yes, I know many of you struggle to find time to do many things, but what better way to get clear on what you need to do, than to actually write it all down. In this way, you will be able to track your progress overtime and keep track of what you need to get done by whom, when and how. Also, it’s a great way to see whether or not you will need additional resources to get the task (s) accomplished.
Set your timeline to achieve these activities/goals:
Many people set goals and do not have a deadline for when they would like to accomplish them. Without a projection of when you intend to realize this goal, you will find that you place more focus on activities that are not contributing to your overall life’s desire. You may not only be wasting time but also precious resources. Setting a timeline will help you to maximize your time and increase your productivity.
Scan your environment:
This is a critical step in that, you should identify what are some of the things or people in your environment that are causing distraction, for example, the television, social media or that cousin who always wants you to do something for them. No matter where you turn, there is always something or someone that is demanding your attention which does not contribute to your own personal goals. Therefore, ensure that you manage these distractions carefully so that you keep on track with your goals.
Seek an accountability partner or someone to hold you accountable:
The first person you are ever accountable to is ‘yourself’ and no one else. Start treating your life as yours and you will quickly realize that everything you do or don’t do affects you more deeply than those around you. I know that there are some of you who do not have support and will find it difficult to commit to your goals. My advice to you, is to begin to look closely at other groups or an individual outside of your circle who you think can objectively offer you the support and accountability needed to ensure that you remain committed to your goals.
Start making small changes to get your mind right:
In order to take decisive action which would lead to meaningful changes, one must begin to make baby steps to help you stay grounded. By this I mean, pray, meditate, exercise and practice gratitude. All these on their own have amazing benefits. These practices will enable you to stay motivated and in good spirit on those very challenging and dreadful days. No matter what your day brings, there is always one of these activities you can do to get your mind and mood right!
Do the things that will create a greater impact first:
So we all sometimes procrastinate, not because we don’t know what to do, but because we don’t know where to start. For this step, you should apply the 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle), which postulates that you do the very important things first that will generate significant results. Of course, there are countless other ways you can use the 80/20 rule in your everyday life.
You know the saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, well I’m sure you don’t want this to be you. Therefore, it is very important that you take the time to stop and acknowledge your own efforts for getting things done on your ‘to do list’. Treat yourself to the spa, lunch or simply a day off from doing anything. This is a great way to rejuvenate and replenish your energy. So go right ahead and treat yourself!