Taking action is a critical part of being successful. If you take absolutely no action, you are dead. The beating of your heart and each breath you take are actions necessary to keep you alive.
If you decide that you want to thrive instead of just survive, than you must take some voluntary actions in addition to these automatic actions. You must think about some new actions that you can take to get you closer towards your goal. This is another instance of where asking questions will help you out.
What is there that you can do towards achieving your goal? Is there anything you can think of that has some probability of getting you closer to your goal? Try taking the smallest possible step towards your goal. Just get some momentum.
Who else has achieved something similar to your goal? It is most likely that someone else has tried to do something similar to what you are trying to achieve. What did they do? There is no reason for you to come up with all of the ideas, copy what other people have done.
Who could you ask for help? Even people that have no knowledge about how to achieve your goal can be helpful. It doesn't hurt to ask, especially if you can't think of something on your own. What do you have to lose?
The key is to find some way to take action, on a regular basis. Think again about if you want to improve your physical condition. How often might you have to exercise to improve your body? Once a year? Once a month? How about 3-5 times per week, and keep doing that for at least 6 months or longer. That seems like a formula for success. Do the same with your mind.
Take action 3-5 times per week and keep up this habit for at least 6 months and you should be amazed at what you can accomplish.
Action is the time when you achieve your success. Goals help guide you as to what you want and what actions you should be taking and it is the actual actions that will allow you to achieve your goals. Actions can be many things, including both doing and learning things that will help you achieve your goals.
Sometimes it seems difficult to find what action you should take or the necessary action seems overwhelming. This is common and that's where the idea of chunking can help you out. This idea is that if you break something down into small enough pieces you can accomplish almost anything. There is the joke about how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Now with this said, I think it is also important to keep a sharp eye on your goal and use any small action to help you to generate momentum. It is possible that you will start taking small actions and then be satisfied with the small actions and give up on your goal. In reality, it is not going to be all small steps that will allow you to achieve some of your goals. At some point, you will be required to take some big steps and actions, and it is OK if you aren't ready or able to take them right now, though they must be taken sometime.
I like to use weight loss analogies, so here's another one. Let's say you want to lose weight and you realize eating more vegetable and exercising are some of the key actions to being healthy, it is just too hard for you. A small action you decide that you are able to take is to switch from regular cola to diet cola. This is a great first step and if you stop there, I hope you don't expect to get much of a result. Take this small step and then take another small step by maybe putting one piece of fruit in your bag each morning and eating it as an afternoon snack. Then maybe add a salad to your lunch or dinner each day.
The key above is to take the first small step and celebrate this success and then to take another step that is maybe just a little bit larger. Use the momentum of that first step to take another step and another. If at some point you fall down, that's great. Pick yourself up and take another small step, whatever it is. It is by taking many small steps that anyone who has climbed Mount Everest has gotten there.
What action are you going to take today to achieve one of your goals?
Maybe it's just me, but there might be times in your life when there is something that you are pretty sure that you could be doing to get what you want, but you just don't feel like doing it. It could be that you know that if you were too pick up a book and start reading and learning, you would be closer to having that knew skill you want. Maybe it is to exercise or eat right, though you just don't feel like doing it. Maybe it is contacting someone that you keep putting off.
I'm a huge fan of doing what you want to do, so the first thing I would recommend is to try and see if there is some way you can find to enjoy, or at least be able to tolerate what you think is important to do. Is there someone who can help you? Can you try another way or method? Can you change the time or place that you perform the activity? Can you shorten the length of the activity? Just keep asking yourself, "How can I want or enjoy doing this activity?" Keep reading and learning and maybe a new idea will allow you to find the way.
One good way to try changing how you feel is to change your body. It is well established that the way that you hold your body and especially your face will change the way you feel. Put a big fake smile on your face, get up and move around, jump up and down if you want to. Listen to your favorite music as you are doing this. Get your blood pumping.
Now, if you truly can't find a way to want do this activity, than you can choose to not do it. You can accept that you won't do it right now, and will maybe do it some other time. Now when you make this choice, be honest with yourself that you accept responsibility for giving up on your goal. That's fine, just be honest about it. Be honest and say "I accept that I am poor, because I am not willing to do what it takes to grow." or "I accept that I am fat because I decide not to change." or "I accept that I am alone because I am too afraid to take the risk of connecting with another human."
The above might seem like crazy advice for a success blog, though it is just honest. We are all at different stages of our life and can maybe only handle focusing on one or two areas at a time. It is perfectly acceptable to say that we will ignore a certain area for now because it is too difficult for us. That's fine, just pick another area that you can handle. Do whatever is within your reach. Would you expect a toddler to go out and run a marathon or would you praise them for making one small step?
If there is something you suspect you should be doing and you can't find a way to want to do it, or can't pump yourself up enough to do it, and you still want to achieve your goal, so you aren't willing to give up, then the only advice I have is to just do it. Just knuckle down and do something, no matter how small. Try to pick the smallest thing that you can do and do it. Get some momentum built up and see where it goes.
A great teacher once told me "Stop telling me it doesn't feel right, just do it 100 times and then come back to me and tell me how it feel."
How you taken 100 actions to achieve your goal?
In general there are two reasons why we do something: Pain and Pleasure.
We can be motivated to escape pain or to achieve more pleasure. In general, the self development and positive thinking teachings focus on getting more pleasure. They talk about how we will achieve that which we focus upon. So if we focus on achieving pleasure we will receive more pleasure. How about if we focus on escaping pain? Does it mean we will achieve more escape from pain or will we just get more pain?
I propose that pain is the most powerful motivator in the world. Think about it. How quickly do you respond to the pain of your hand being place on a hot stove versus the pleasure of petting your favorite animal? I suspect most of us respond with great urgency to pain, and the more painful, the more rapidly we respond.
How do we solve this paradox? Pain is a powerful motivator, though if we mostly focus on pain than we may mostly achieve pain. As with many things we should strive to achieve a balance between these two motivators. To ignore pain as a motivator is to throw away the most powerful motivator in our toolbox.
I was thinking about the saying "No pain, no gain" and now when I think about it, I interpret it more as, if we want to experience pleasure, we will have to endure some pain as opposed to trying to escape pain in order to achieve pleasure. It is more that pain usually stands in the way of the pleasure we want. So, in this context, pain isn't a motivator, pleasure is the motivator and pain is just another obstacle.
I'm still trying to figure out how utilize both pain and pleasure as motivational tools. I'll try it by adding one question to my regular goals review session. I'll ask myself, "What am I most afraid of?" I'll let you know how it goes.
What do you think? Is it worthwhile to think about our pain points and use them to motivate us, or is it sufficient to think about what pleasure we want to achieve? If it is useful to use pain? If so, how can we do it? Do we reinforce every day our deepest pain/fear and use that to drive us to action?