"Action is the foundational key to all success." ~ Pablo Picasso
We all feel stuck sometimes when our hopes and plans get muddled up with self-doubt and perfectionism, plus a multitude of daily distractions, impeding us from moving forward in life and accomplishing our goals.
While I’m not a big fan of multitasking, I also believe that it is very important that action must be taken in creating the life you want to live. You can be your own agent of change, but you can’t make this happen unless you act upon it!
In saying this, I realize that sustaining momentum can be a challenge, and motivation frequently dwindles as results are slow in coming. Even so, I’d like to share with you my twelve tips for creating and sustaining action in your life!
1. Don’t overthink it!
Doing too much thinking can create inaction, resulting in you to go around and around in circles! Think about your action enough to have a clear picture of the direction you’re headed in or why you’re going there in the first place, but don’t get stuck in the thinking phase. Just get on with it!
2. Start now
You can have good intentions to put everything in order before you start, but all the planning in the world can often get you nowhere! Just take the first step today, no matter how small or haphazard, and don’t put it off until Monday. There’s no time like right now!
3. Focus on what’s important
Decide on what the most important one or two things you must do today and focus on those, dispensing of all other distractions. When you’re done with the most important things, move on to the next ones.
4. Scrap perfectionism
Probably the biggest obstacle to creating action is perfectionism. Stop it now! Striving for perfection can bring all action to a screeching halt, but accepting things the way they at present can help you maintain the momentum to do better next time. Forget perfect and get on with it!
5. Small steps
Trying to do too much all at once can hinder action, but taking smaller steps can be extremely effective for sustaining momentum. Remember also that each step is a victory to be celebrated, compelling you towards future actions an victories.
6. Be deliberate
Whatever your action, it doesn’t need to be done at breakneck speed. In fact, going fast often leads to mistakes, and while perfection isn’t necessary, neither is making careless mistakes that could have been avoided with a little bit of conscientious care.
7. No more negativity
Self doubt? Making excuses? An urge to give up? Stop that right now... seriously! Negative thinking gets you nowhere, but as clichéd as it seems, positive thinking can boost your self-esteem and get you moving! What we tell ourselves has a strange way of becoming reality, so watch your self-talk!
8. Shut up already!
Don’t mistake talking about it for real action. You can talk about the action you need to take until you’re blue in the face, but never actually get around to making a start! Not that communication isn't important, but sometimes talking is just talking.
9. Motion doesn’t equal action
A frenzy of activity doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually getting anything done. If you find yourself moving too quickly, or trying to do too many things at once, use this as a reminder to slow things down, get focused and stop multitasking.
10. Planning doesn’t equal action
Yes, having a plan is important. It’s not like you don’t want to be clear on what the action is you’re about to do, but keep it brief so you get on with the actual action.
11. Research doesn’t equal action
Reading all around the topic of your action or simply reading about action doesn’t not equate action. Stop procrastinating and get on with it!
12. Take a moment
If you find yourself spinning your wheels, sometimes you can be doing more harm to achieving your goals than good. Pause for a moment to rethink your action, and consider if you need to begin again, take a different approach, or whether the action is even necessary. Only proceed when you’ve made up your mind!
"Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action."