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“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there” – Will Rogers
Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in following the right path, setting goals and making plans without following through on many of them, right? How many times have you felt like you’re sitting in the middle of the train tracks, waiting for success?
What Leads to Inaction
Before we get to what to do about getting our butts in gear and taking action, it’s a good idea to understand what lead to inaction. While I read quite a few blog posts and articles looking for different answers out there, I really like how simply Chris Winfield put it in his article for Inc.com
He splits the article into a few sections, and says that there are three items responsible for our inaction:
That’s referring to those little voices of doubt that pop up and tell you why you can’t do something. Keep that negative energy away!
Those irrational things we believe that stop us in our tracks. Try talking to someone about facing your fears. Sometimes, you are simply forced to face them through life events that occur. If not, do your best to talk to someone about them so you can truly take action. Is the outcome of your goal worth more to you than your fear?
These are real, Winfield says. The real, live obstacles that stand in our way. Don’t let them! Keep going! I think my odd and usually slow fitness journey (and maintaining motivation throughout that) is my best example. (You can read about it here if you’re interested).
Everyone procrastinates at least a little. Personally, I find that I procrastinate most on items that don’t fully align with where I want my life to go.
I often procrastinate on my PhD work (though that’s now changed, with deadlines fast approaching). This may simply have been because I realized a little over halfway through my PhD that academia isn’t my true calling. So, taking action on a project simply to finish it is a bit less motivating that truly wanted to embrace an outcome.
5 Ways To Take Action Now
Despite being de-motivated for such a large goal, I have managed to kick-start a new motivational streak for the same goal by following these 5 tips:
1. Create A Vision Board
Whether that’s simply magazine photos glued on a collage, a photo collage online, lists of words that describe your perfect future, or a giant whiteboard timeline of where you see your life going, it’s a must. Without my vision boards and lists of goals, I’d be lost.
2. Tell A Friend – Get An Accountability Buddy
Now this has definitely been the best one for me! Tell a friend about what you will accomplish and by what deadline, and have them hold you to it. Tell them to nag, tell them to ask, and make sure you tell them the truth about taking action. You’d be surprised how much harder it is to let someone else down, too, rather than letting only yourself down.
3. Write It Down!
4. Divide That Plan Into Calendar Events (Invite Your Accountability Buddy)
It’s no secret that I love Google Calendar! One simple way to hold yourself to taking action is to create events with strict deadlines. A friend once pointed out that it’s really easy to move your own deadlines. Well, this my friend is where accountability buddies come in. If you need to take that extra step and “invite” your accountability to the event (or create a separate calendar for you and him/her to share for this purpose), do it.
5. Reward Yourself For Action (& Not Before!)
Yes, this takes discipline! That accountability buddy could help you out here, too (Mine sure does!). Schedule in an event, a treat, or some other reward and invite your accountability buddy, or at least tell them about it. No reaching your milestones, no rewards.
Hopefully, these tips will help you start on your goals now, instead of “someday”. What are your favourite ways to get yourself or your students to take action? Share them with us in the blog post below – I love hearing from all of you!
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photo fans, the photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took of the train tracks from Prague to Kutna Hora in 2008.
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