Whether you are trying to get ahead in your career, start a new business, lose 15 pounds, cut sugar from your diet or just be a calmer and more peaceful person, chances are you are frustrated with your rate of improvement. You wish you were making more progress. You think you are doing everything right, you just don’t know why you don’t see the results.
Planning vs Action
Those of us on the improvement track all do it. We create a list, a plan, a budget and we spend hours reading and learning how to take better care of ourselves, our families and our future. It is remarkable. We have access to an amazing amount of information to help us become better versions of ourselves. Wiser financially, stronger emotionally and healthier physically and yet so few of us actually see the results we want. The results we want to see are had with less planning and more daily practice. We need to take action and work the plan.
We need to practice every day, just the way professional athletes, writers and artists do. We need to go pro.
Getting Ready to Get Ready
This is how it is for many of us who become fixated on the emotional high associated with personal growth. We might make a little progress and feel pretty good about that. It’s easy to keep learning and studying new inspiring ideas, creative methods, and techniques while convincing yourself that you must be making progress simply because you’ve invested a lot of time and effort in learning and growth.
We spend our time getting ready to get ready to improve our situations. We’re reading all the books, watching the videos, listening to the podcasts. One of the big traps is believing that you’re making progress when there’s no actual evidence of it. This idea of going pro and stepping up your game, is inspired from the quote below and the book Turning Pro.
“To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.”
Read more in Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work
Execution is the Elixir
Planning without action creates a false sense of security. You may feel more confident if you meet with a life coach, financial advisor or spiritual guide, but scheduling time with them, listening to a TedX video or attending a seminar is not doing the actual improvement work. Journaling, note taking and writing the ultimate goal list is not going to make the difference. Action and practice every day will.
From Procrastinator to Producer
Perhaps you consider yourself a procrastinator and that is why you don’t move into action. “The Procrastination habit catches people in a vicious cycle: get overwhelmed, feel pressured, fear failure, try harder, work longer, feel resentful, lose motivation and then procrastinate.” Read more in The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
Propel then Practice
Every single morning I give myself the ultimate rallying cry, a trumpet call. I call it my $25 million dollar life. I’ve printed it out on a double side of copy paper and I recite it out loud every morning. It’s my manifest destiny and it reminds me of the greatness I want to achieve and the action necessary to get there. If you try this, I would love to hear how it is working for you.
Better, Not Perfect
Execution is the real elixir, the secret, the answer to self-improvement. We just need to get better, not perfect. Sure we can still learn by the book, but we need to go out and test our new found knowledge.
What you Measure Tends to Improve
Taking action begins with making sure that whatever you are setting out to do you have –
- broken it down into daily doable habits
- created projections for success
- continue to track measurable milestones
- have a clear vision of what success looks like
For example, if you want a calmer more peaceful day, than begin to practice 10 minutes of morning mindful meditation. Measure your heart rate and breathing before, during and after with Spire, the newest device to help us navigate this chaotic modern life. Now, what does a calmer and more peaceful day look like to you? What are you doing? How are you behaving? Be mindful of the success you want to achieve. You will know you are successful after many hours of practice and the way your life improves.
Put your Emotions in Motion
Anger and frustration are huge motivators for me. If I feel really frustrated I don’t linger around and complain, I get into solution as quickly as possible and then do something about it. I make the call, put on my workout clothes, apologize. . . whatever will help me move away from frustration.
I don’t know anyone who likes ruminating about negative thoughts, so get creative and find a solution to what is nagging you and just do it.
Next time you feel like you just can’t get motivated remind yourself what you don’t want and use those emotions associated with it to propel you out the door.
Ready, Set, Action
A friend of mine told me about the 60 second tip. When you are gearing up to do something good for yourself but you are not in the mood or you are too tired, try it for 60 seconds. See how it feels. Check out this site “Know more in 60 seconds” http://www.knowmoreinsixtyseconds.com
Re-Commit Every Day
“Turning pro is like kicking a drug habit or stopping drinking. It’s a decision, a decision to which we must re-commit every day.” Steven Pressfield, Turning Pro
What are you trying to accomplish? What tips do you have to help take more action?