What in your life have you always wanted to do? What has been your lifelong dream? Why haven’t you done this yet? Maybe you think it’s a little too risky or you just don’t feel like it could really happen. Making decisions is a part of daily life, and some decisions are a more difficult than others. We can have mixed emotions and be unsure of what to do. The most important and life changing decisions are often the most difficult. We may have a very strong desire to change, but at the same time be too scared to take action for fear that things won’t turn out as planned. When have you wanted to make a change but were having trouble moving forward? Don’t pass up on an opportunity to achieve your dreams to play it safe this New Year. It’s time to break the cycle and take some major action. Here’s how!
Stop playing the waiting game – Do something!
If you’re feeling concerned and frustrated with your current situation it’s time to pay attention to how you feel. These unsettling feelings are there for a reason – to prompt you to take serious, and responsible action. It’s easy to hope things will change and simply wait…wait…wait until something comes our way. But, inaction will only strip you of power. Don’t passively watch your life go by. Empowerment comes from knowing you have a choice to act and taking responsibility for the circumstances in your life. There is a proper response to every situation. You just have to examine all the possible options and respond in a way that you believe will give you the best outcome. Deciding not to act is just as serious and risky as taking action and making a mistake. In my opinion, not taking action and passing up the biggest opportunity of your life is a much greater risk than making a tough choice and running into obstacles. Taking action provides exhilaration for life and leads to personal growth. Inaction will only heighten concern in the long-run. No one wants to look back and say they never tried.
Get comfortable with change
You may have learned to get comfortable in your current surroundings. Even with all the frustration and unhappiness, you have simply adjusted to this way of living. Because of this, being stuck might be quite a habit for you. It might be all you know. There is a time to stay and adapt to a situation, and a time to change and move forward. Knowing when to move on is powerful self-awareness to gain. It takes serious courage, practice, and persistence to change course and approach something new. Fortunately these are traits that can be developed. Change takes practice and you can learn to take healthy and productive risk. Gradually taking risks and stepping outside your comfort zone will eventually increase your level of response-ability. You will start to believe in your ability to expand who you are start making healthy and positive decisions that reinforce this empowering self-trust.
Stop letting yourself down
How many times have you told yourself you were going to do something and didn’t follow through? How did this make you feel? Making idle promises saps our confidence and self-esteem, making us feel incapable of achieving our goals. We lose trust in ourselves. Don’t just set goals. Make some promises to yourself this New Year. Promise yourself you will do something each day to get closer to your desires and aspirations. Make sure to see progress and stop letting yourself down by letting your goals and dreams slip by. Find someone, whether a coach, friend, or family member, whom can hold you accountable and keep you motivated. Take control of your situation and stop blaming external circumstances. If you want something bad enough, you will make sure to get it regardless of your environmental limitations. The most important thing is that you start to trust and believe in yourself.
Even with self-trust and confidence in place, without persistence and hard work our decisions can flop. Staying motivated is the final key in taking action and moving forward. Here’s a few tips on staying motivated. Avoiding pain and seeking pleasure People will do anything to avoid emotional and existential pain, and as we established earlier, we must pay close attention to what causes us pain and let this motivate us to change our situation. If you want to change: 1) Associate serious pain with what you don’t want – and – 2) Associate great pleasure with what you do want Many times, changing circumstances can actually be painful and very stressful. Why then, would someone want to change if it will actually lead to more pain? Start focusing on the the immense pleasure and positive aspects of your goal, instead of all the potential complications and hard work it will take. As well, don’t focus on the potential loss that could occur, instead focus on what could be gained. People are less likely to take a risk when they consider what could be lost in the process. Keeping your eye on the prize will help you stay motivated. Change your expectations Would you consider yourself more of an optimist or a pessimist? I used to be very pessimistic, and it really impacted my belief and expectation about what was possible, which in turn influenced my behavior and goals. I was very practical and unwilling to take any risks. I thought, “Why take a risk when I have a logical and safe plan?” What I learned was, first off, no plan ever goes exactly as expected, and secondly, you will never be more than mediocre if you’re unwilling to break free from your comfort zone. Start believing that you will get the positive outcome you desire. Expect to see the results you want. Even when setbacks occur, don’t let these alter your big picture expectations. No one will be motivated to take action if they believe they are going to fail. Set-backs can be viewed as an important part of the process. Almost as if they happened for a reason. Obstacles aren’t a hindrance but are providing you information about what needs to be done. Take ownership Lastly, your goal must belong to you, and you must feel incredibly passionate about it. If you want true intrinsic motivation, you must really take ownership of your goal and know you will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. Achieving anything great requires effort and commitment, and external validation isn’t always present. We must be motivated by more than external rewards if we are to stay resilient and dedicated to our goals. We have to decide to take action and make the next step despite sacrifices that we may make. This New Year, get unstuck and break free from inaction. Really think about your dreams and desires that have been on hold, and consider how seriously you want to make these happen. If your desire is strong enough, you have faith in the outcome, and you’re willing to put in the effort and commitment, there is little that can stop you. What dreams that you’ve been keeping on the shelf are you ready to reopen? What promises are you making to yourself this New Year that you are unwilling to break? What inspiring examples of taking action do you have to share? I would love to hear from you!