Taking action is the first key to success. So often, we are inspired by a great idea but we are not exactly sure where to start. It is easy to procrastinate, over- think, wait for the timing to be better, etc. The most successful high achievers are often those who had a great idea or a vision and despite their lack of formal education in that particular area, financial backing or “perfect” timing, they took action relentlessly until they achieved their goal.
There is a famous quote by Mark twain: “80% of life is simply showing up”. If we show up in our lives with a clear vision of what we want to achieve (perfect health, career success, financial freedom, or amazing relationships), we simply need to start...take action, ANY action, and we will be further ahead.
A few years ago, my husband found himself exhausted, heavier than he wanted to be and uncomfortable in his body. He knew he wanted to feel better, lose weight and have a higher level of energy but he felt overwhelmed by committing to a consistent workout routine since he had such a heavy travel schedule for his job. He didn’t feel he had time for a personal trainer since he would not be in town for weekly appointments. He did not spend weeks creating a plan with the perfect exercises targeted to the specific body zones he wanted to work on or finding the perfect diet regimen. What he did was so simple it is truly inspiring.
He took action.
Tiny, simple, seemingly insignificant, action. He committed to go to the gym everyday no matter where he was in the country. When I say “go the gym” that is exactly what I mean. Nothing more and nothing less. He would go to the gym every single day and even if he only stepped inside the door and then left again he would count that as success. What happened over the next few months was absolutely amazing. By taking that simple action everyday something wonderful happened, he found that once he was there (dressed in workout clothes and in the space), he always decided to stay. He figured out quickly which machine was most enjoyable for him and once he started feeling better he wanted to stay longer and longer every day. After about 4 months, his average stay at the gym was about an hour and a half each day. Once he saw his body changing shape and knew how much effort it took to reshape it, he had no real desire to snack on the unhealthy foods he had enjoyed in the past. That simple act of committing to ANY action at all (just putting his body in the space), helped him see what workouts he liked and which he didn’t, inspired him to take other actions related to his eating habits, and eventually create a whole new way of taking care of his body. The point I am making here is that any action will get you somewhere. It may show you what doesn’t work, which is often just as valuable as understanding what does work. It can help you see new paths you weren’t aware of until you took the action.
Where can you begin to take action?
Today, you can move toward a more joyful life by simply choosing one area of your life you would like to improve, and commit taking action, any action. For example, if you want to start spend more quality time with your kids, you could commit to taking a walk together for 10 minutes after dinner each night or walk to the bus-stop a few minutes earlier in the morning so you have 5 minutes before everyone else arrives. See where it leads you. Wish you had more money in savings? What about taking the simple action to set up a direct deposit from your paycheck for $10 a week straight to savings? That one small action will give you $520 more per year in savings and you probably won’t even miss the $10. The action is the key. Excuses are easy. Action is almost never as hard or time consuming as you think it will be.
Don’t over think, don’t worry about it being the perfect action, just do it. I promise, the act of taking the action itself will leave you feeling more positive and energized. Go for it!