Letting your thoughts take you over to a point where you don’t take any action towards your goal is the worst thing you can do to hinder your progress.
Personally, I know the feeling of disappointment when you have a goal in mind, and you take the necessary steps but only to fall short. It can be very discouraging and prevent you from taking further actions.
Let’s say you have this sudden urge to learn a new language, or get that 6 packs abs, or write a blog. You commit to one of these ideas and start gaining knowledge by reading, watching videos and thinking. You do all that, but miss the important piece of the puzzle – EXECUTION.
Why do we do this? One word – HESITATION. We are hesitant to taking action. We are doing everything except taking action. We have been telling ourselves, we are going to start tomorrow or next week for so long, that after some time, our whole process of wanting to achieve something, is just that: wanting to achieve something. We spend too much time thinking, and hesitating on the outcome, which makes starting actually difficult.
I’ve come to one realization about action. Thinking will only lead to more thinking, and the ability to take action will always be dominated by endless thoughts in our minds.
I personally wanted to accomplish a lot of things, but failed in many because of this very reason – I drowned in my own thoughts. For example, I wanted to start a blog and share my life experiences and the ways which we can improve our lives. I’ve always put this off because I carried a heavy feeling of fear. Fear of rejections, fear of mockery and fear of so many other things that are only illusions. All I did was talk the talk, but didn’t walk the walk. At one point, the self talk caused too much guilty feelings within me, that all I can do is talk. I knew I had to take action, or else I might live with the feeling of guilt for the rest of my life. And instead of taking action, I started to look for distractions to occupy myself. I fell into a loop hole of instant gratifications. I devoured in T.V shows, video games, YouTube and other monsters. And guess what happened? I didn’t end up with a blog site. The only thing I did was wasting my time on Game of Thrones episodes.
This was my turning point and I realized the longer we stay in our conditioned minds, the harder it is for us to take action. The only way to get out of my mind was to take action, and just make the damn blogsite. I had to act so fast before my mind can think. Now I have finally created this blog, everyday I spend at least an hour working on tweaks, writing blog content, finding ways to improve the website. My only regret is that I didn’t start earlier.
Fear is the fire, time is the wood." The longer you focus on your fear, the larger it grows. ~Anonymous
Here’s how I learned to take action:
Take out a piece of paper and a pen that works. Write down your reasons behind your ambition to achieve something. If you want to lose weight, you reason could be “I want to feel more confident, healthy and energetic”.
Your reason is critical to know. In times of hardship, or inaction, just looking at your reason and asking yourself why you started may just be enough of a kick in the butt to get you moving again.
Once you have your reason, it is time to set goals. I follow a special type of goal setting that works wonders.
First set a long-term goal. In the case of body building, “What kind of body do you ultimately want to have?” Or if your goal is to launch a start up company, “How do you envision people using your product?” Let your imagination run wild and dare to dream. Don’t listen to people who say it can’t be done. You can’t have this type of negative thinking. (Rewire your mind here).
Next, set a one- year goal. A one year goal is especially important milestone. Ask yourself “In one year, where do I want to be in terms of life, in terms of this idea?”
Then set your six -month goal. Ask your self “What do I want to accomplish in the next six months that will bring me closer to my yearly goal?”.
Then the three-month goal which is the most important goal you will set. Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve in the next 90 days with my idea that will bring me closer to my six-month goal?”.
Then your monthly goal, weekly goal and your daily goal. Each small goal should lead you to a bigger goal.
Setting goals like this will keep you focused, and act as a compass to point you in the right direction. It also helps to have accountability buddy to keep you accountable of these goals.
The 5 Second Rule
Because of the way your brain is wired, when your thoughts and feelings are at war, when there is a discourse between what you know you should be doing and what you feel like doing, your feelings are always going to win. If you don’t feel like doing it, you won’t do it– that’s why you need the 5 Second Rule.
If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.
So if you have a goal of gaining more respect in the workplace, you have to raise your hand the next time you’re in a meeting and you have a great idea. If you have a goal of losing weight, you can take action right now by researching healthy meal options and setting daily reminders on your phone that will prompt you to go to the gym.
If you have a goal of launching your own business, and you have no idea where to start, get on Google right now and research other companies in your field of interest, see what they’re doing and decide what you’ll do the same and where you’ll differentiate yourself. Then google a free business plan template, and then fill it out. Get serious about it and put your intentions in writing.
Whatever your goals are, show the world, and yourself, that you’re serious by taking action, however insignificant that action may seem, RIGHT NOW.
Avoid Instant Gratification
You will find at times to do something else other than taking action. Our mind is very powerful and it can trick us into believing we are doing something worth our time. For example, checking Instagram likes or browsing the internet while we’re trying to work won’t help us work. But it will give you a feeling of instant gratification for a moment or two, before your mind starts craving for that again. Few more times of this, couple of hours have passed and you’re distracted and haven’t accomplished anything. So, when you are working towards your idea, isolate yourself completely. Keep yourself away from your phone.
A lot of people when they look at their dreams, all they see is the summit at the top of the mountain. They don’t see the stairs leading up to it. Instead put your focus on the first step. Conquer that then, look at the second step. After that look at the next step and so on. By doing this, you won’t be discouraged and before you know it you have achieved a lot of things and are closer to your goals. Remember it is the sum of small things that makes the biggest difference.