“It had long struck me that top performers seldom sit back and let something happen to them. They went out and things happened. “
Leonardo da Vinci
One of the biggest and most common problems with improving your life or your desired success is that you may not take consistent action for an extended period of time.
Consistency isn’t the hottest or most exciting word.
But it is, coupled with time, that will bring you real results in your life.
Sticking to the program and doing something consistently – and not just when you feel inspired or something – is very, very powerful.
I’ve struggled with that a lot in the past. And some days I still do.
But over the years I’ve found a few things that really help me with this.
1. When you take action, focus only on the process.
For example, I use these when I’m doing my workouts and when I’m writing. I am not responsible for the results in my head.
I take responsibility for showing up and doing my training / writing. That’s it.
The results come from this consistent action anyway. And that makes it easier for me to take this action because:
- I know that’s all I have to focus on. And so my energy and attention is only one way and I’m doing a better job.
- I feel a lot less pressured. And so, I’m more relaxed and prone to moving on than if I blindly stare at myself at the possible outcomes that never come as quickly as I might want, and when I’m on an emotional roller coaster ride day by day.
2. Think about why you are taking action.
Find your top priorities and reasons for why you do what you do.
It can be looking after the family, saving travel, getting the job you really want, or building your self-esteem. Or something else.
So that you don’t lose track of why you are taking action and stay focused:
- Write down your top reasons. Take a few minutes, sit down with a pen and paper, and write down the top 1-3 reasons you want to take action and do it right now in your life.
- Put this note where you can see it every day. For example at your work place or near your bed so that you can see it every morning when you wake up.
3. Reminder: You don’t want to hurt yourself.
When you disappoint yourself and don’t think and do what you really want, you are hurting yourself by lowering your self-esteem.
Whatever you do during your day sends signals back to you about what kind of person you are. Do the right thing, be effective, kind, go to the gym, or just rest and you will feel good.
Get lazy, negative, or just plain mean and you tend to feel worse after a while.
You don’t escape, there is no escape. And there is always a price to be paid.
4. Take smaller steps on the days when the big ones seem too daunting.
On some days, getting started with one of the most important tasks can seem daunting. And so you start to hesitate.
When that happens, it has helped me be kind.
Pushing me forward instead of beating me up.
So at such times I take:
- One small step. I can make a deal with myself to work just 5 minutes on part of a bigger and more difficult task.
- An even smaller step. If this little step feels too much and I start to hesitate, I’ll make a deal with myself for 1 or 2 minute of work.
Sometimes this results in putting a few dents in a large task, doing a few smaller tasks, and taking many breaks throughout the day.
And sometimes it just takes an easy start or restart of the day to get going again and have a good and very productive time before the evening comes.
Either way, instead of standing still, I move forward.
5. Celebrate what you did today.
Valuing your good work will make you and your life feel even better.
And over time it becomes possible to do more with less internal resistance, and you associate action with more positive emotions than you do now.
- At the end of the day, take two minutes to think about what you can appreciate about what you did today. Or write a few things in your journal about self-esteem.
- let it be well with you or a bigger celebration.
- Tell someone how beautiful something turned out to behow you learned a good lesson or how proud you are of something important you did today.
Reward yourself for doing things right today to help build your habit of action.
And remember to be kind to yourself for the things you might have missed or not done.
There’s no point in beating yourself up. There’s no point in trying to be perfect.
See what you can learn from this and maybe try another solution tomorrow and see if it works better.