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We all know how important it is to organize, plan, and to set priorities. However, without action a plan is nothing more than potential. Successful people know this and therefore act quickly and as often as they can.
Although it may come to you as a surprise and might also seem counter intuitive, but successful people act before they feel ready. They have the “Let’s get on with it, and start anyways.” attitude. While others would be quick to come up with excuses, the highly successful take that all-important first step, even when it seems like a crazy one to take at the time.
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Taking action is one of the most important steps in achieving life changes. Unfortunately, most of us know how difficult it can be sometimes to take that first step and actually commit to accomplishing a goal.
So this begs the question, what do you need in order to take action? At first thought, you might think motivation is all you need. Surprisingly, there’s a misconception that motivation is the reason for taking action. In actuality, motivation is the result of action, not the cause. Understanding and knowing this means you don’t necessarily have to wait to feel inspired before putting a new behavior into action. You begin right away by simply gathering your willpower and having the discipline to push through something difficult and not procrastinating. Take going to the gym for example. You can’t expect to see any real results after just one week of training. If you stick to it however, you can begin to see changes after 2-3 weeks and that would be your motivation to continue to go to the gym. That makes sense, right?
Since you’re reading an article about taking action on your goals, I’m assuming you already know how to schedule actions, including the ones you’ve been putting off. My question then to you is, what’s holding you back from scheduling a time to start your action?
The secret here is to think of motivation as the desired outcome for completing that action you’ve been delaying for whatever reason(s). Simply put, motivation is the last step, not the first.
To help you analyze your motivation and be able to achieve a desired outcome, there are three questions I suggest you ask yourself:
- Why am I completing the task?
- How will completing the task make me feel at the end?
- How will completing the task improve my life?
I firmly believe when you make a decision from a place of choice, you can create a positive change that will definitely be aligned with your life’s priorities, while at the same time making a clear commitment to accomplishing any desired goal. Ultimately, when you have the desire to make a change, it becomes a goal. The next thing you have to do is actually follow through and complete that goal.
I want you to think about this for a second. How often do we hear people say they want to start changing their diet and eating habits, or want to start going to the gym regularly, or want to change their career for years, but haven’t done anything about it? Why do you think they haven’t been able to convert their desired change into a goal? There are two reasons; one of which is obvious while the other is hidden.
The first reason is they lack the self-discipline to stay persistent in achieving a goal.
The second reason is they have low-self-efficacy, which is the hidden or inner disbelief that you can complete a goal before you even start taking steps toward it.
First, we’ll discuss self-discipline: the first barrier to achieving a desired goal.
Time management and persistence are the two things that will fuel your self-discipline. If you’re wasting your time and allowing yourself to be distracted from progressing towards your goal, you’re basically welcoming unsuccessful habits instead of the more desirable, successful ones. Not only that, but you’re also instilling those bad habits in your daily routine. So how do you change your routine and sustain your perseverance? You do it by deliberately and methodically focusing your thoughts and energy on the goal you want to reach.
Every time you’re faced with a task or goal, you have the choice to demonstrate excellence or mediocrity. You need to ask yourself, do you want to live a successful life, or an average one? If you choose success and excellence, you’ll have to fight and commit yourself to that level of excellence you want to achieve. Sometimes knowing exactly what you don’t want in life makes your self-discipline sustainable over the long run.
Second, let’s talk about low-self-efficacy, which is the second obstacle in converting your desired change into a goal.
Self-efficacy is the strength of your belief in your ability to achieve goals. If you have low self-efficacy, you don’t believe you can achieve your dreams, and chances are you’ve been leading a rather un-glamorous life instead of realizing your full potential.
On the other hand, people with high self-efficacy take on challenging tasks as things they can master, as long as they stick to them. People with low self-efficacy usually avoid challenges and almost never commit to their life goals. In some cases, they don’t even believe that change is possible, so it seems logical to them to give up before they even start.
So how can people with low self-efficacy try to deal with it? They need to identify the negative self-limiting belief that keeps them far from a certain desired outcome.
Having said that, here is a committed action plan that successful people implement weekly:
1- Identify your reason for achieving your desired goal.
2- View your desired outcome as a positive change.
3- Construct a routine of self-discipline while focusing on progressing toward your desired goal, and not looking back.
- Use time-management and keep progressing by staying persistent and repeatedly choosing your desired outcome.
4- Increase your self-efficacy by:
- Realizing those limiting beliefs slow you down and impede your progress.
- Replacing those limiting beliefs with new, powerful beliefs.
5- Write down the action plan with specifics and completion dates.
6- Find a partner to share your daily goal’s progress with.
7- Reward yourself weekly for staying on track.
8- Repeat items 1-7.
Now that you know the secret routine of successful people, you’re ready to take control of your life and infuse it with actions. Remember, if you want to win, you need to start and progress daily in life! No race was ever won by standing on the side lines and thinking about winning that race!