.“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Leonardo Da Vinci
Do you sometimes feel stuck and unable to take action?
To get what you want out of life you can’t sit around wishing for it to happen. And wishing that someone else will do it for you don’t work too good either.
In this article I’d like to share 4 simple habits that help me when I get stuck in inaction and that have worked very well for me to go from a lazy guy who spent too much time on the sofa watching TV to becoming a focused and effective person of action.
Start your day in the right way.
How I start my day has probably become the most important factor for how much action I take during the day and how the day turns out in general. A good start often leads to a good day. A bad or indecisive start often leads to a pretty mediocre day.
So create a morning routine with breakfast, perhaps a short work out or a short meditation and other things you find gets you off to a great start.
Then add doing the most important task of your day at the end of that morning routine. That usually works well for me to build a productive day where I take quite a bit of important action.
On some mornings I may feel low in energy, unmotivated or have extra inner resistance to taking action. Then I start small instead of starting with the most important task.
I do maybe some decluttering or clean up a bit. I may do a deal with myself to just work for 5 minutes on a relatively easy task. Or if that feels like too much I make a deal with myself for 2 minutes of work. The most important thing is that I get started and get moving. If I do that then I will continue to keep moving forward.
Break down it down into small steps.
Work can become overwhelming and filled with negative feelings when you look at a big project or task.
You want to escape. You procrastinate. Then you become stressed because there is a deadline somewhere down the road and you are giving yourself less and less time to complete this thing as you procrastinate.
A big help here is to form the habit of breaking down big things into small, manageable steps that you can have done pretty quickly today and that will not give you anxiety or pump you full of negative emotions.
So break down a task into small, practical steps that there is an end to. If you have to read a book then break that task down into reading for 30 minutes. After you have read for 30 minutes check this off of your to-do list or just tell yourself that this task is done.
In my experience, it is very important to feel that you have finished tasks at the end of your day and to not have them hanging over you as you go home, spend the evening trying to relax and as you go to bed. Your mind wants to know that a step is finished – even if it is a small step like reading for 30 minutes – to be able to relax fully and to not create vague stress inside of you.
So break it down into small steps. Look at and focus on just that first step single-mindedly until it is done. Then continue to the next step and focus on just that. Do that and you’ll waste less extra energy on worrying and on your work.
Celebrate what you did today.
This is something I am still working on and something I can do more of. But it makes a big difference when I do it. You have to appreciate your good work to feel even better about your life and yourself.
So take two minutes out at the end of the day to think about what you can appreciate about what you did today. Or write down a couple of self-appreciative things in your journal. Have a tasty treat or a bigger celebration. Tell someone how nice something turned out or how proud you are over something important you did today.
Reward yourself for the things you did right today to strengthen your action taking habit. And remember to be kind to yourself for the things you may have missed or not gotten done. No point in trying to beat yourself up. No point in trying to be perfect. See what you can learn from it and perhaps try another solution tomorrow instead and see if that works better.
Take one small action right away to get the ball rolling.
What is one thing you can do to pretty much make sure that something will get stuck your I’ll-do-that-when-I-have-the-time list for a long time?
Read about something and get excited about it. And then do nothing about or tell yourself that you will take action tomorrow.
Instead, take one small action today, as soon after you have read about whatever you are excited about. Call up your friend and make arrangements to meet this Sunday night at seven to start working out, trying yoga or eating at the new restaurant.
If there is an exercise you can do in whatever you read about and it looks promising then do it today. If that feels hard make a deal with yourself to only work on it for 5 minutes.
If you want to travel somewhere in particular then don’t stop at a vague dream. Take a few minutes and look up prices online and then look at your budget and see how much you need to save or earn extra to be able to take that trip.
That’s it for today. Now get that ball rolling.
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