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If you've ever wanted to stop wasting time procrastinating and actually achieve your goals, you can benefit by learning a thing or two about how to take action. In all honestly, most people have been found guilty of procrastination at one time or another… I know I have.
But over time, I've learned to manage my problem so I can make progress in my life every day. For example, when I can't decide what to eat, I give myself a couple of minutes at the most to figure it out. Then if I'm still not sure, I just pick something. And even if I don't like it, at least I made a decision.
You, too, can make decisions more quickly and learn to take action right away. All it takes is a bit of practice and a smart plan.
After all, your dreams won't happen by themselves… you need to make them happen. One of the keys to doing so is to set realistic and manageable goals, so that you don't become stuck or disappointed. In this post, I'll discuss some simple steps to help you figure out how to take action in life.
What Does It Mean to Take Action?
Taking action means you need to stop talking, thinking, and dreaming about doing something… and just do it. There's no time like the present and you never know if there'll be a tomorrow. This means we need to prioritize exactly what we want from life and take the appropriate steps to make it happen.
In my case, nothing seems to hold me back from getting what I want out of life more than toxic people and procrastination. Professionally speaking, when negative or condescending people get in my head, I try shifting my focus and energy on work. This helps me achieve my goals.
In my personal life, I’ve had to stop being friends with some people so that I could live my own life and be happy. Rather than let toxic people destroy you or hold you back, it may be necessary to stay away from them. Otherwise, they'll literally control you to your dying day.
13 Simple Steps to Take Action… NOW
Despite the fact that you might be thinking excessively about doing or achieving something… it’s not enough. Nothing happens unless you make it happen. Plus, you'll likely feel a lot better once you’ve made the first move.
Not only will you be closer to achieving your dreams, but you'll be more content too. Knowing how to take action by following these steps can help you get what you want out of life in a healthy and productive way.
1. Visualize Your Goals
Firstly, to gain a clearer picture of your goals, it can be useful to visualize them. While you may have an idea of what your goals are, visualizing them in detail can give you a clearer picture of how to move forward. In addition, you can enhance your motivation and increase the attainability of your goals with visualization.
2. Recognize What Motivates You
While it’s not always good to be overly or naively idealistic when you'd like to take action, inspiring yourself can be a great motivator. If music makes you feel something, turn it on! Or if a podcast floats your boat, get sailing.
You can also try something new. Read inspiring quotes every morning, do a creative activity, meditate or start a gratitude journal. Just be sure you're motivated to do something because you genuinely want to… and not because someone else tells you to do it. Not doing something for yourself can make it less satisfying to do.
3. Set Goals
Since you won't get the results you want from only dreaming, you have to create a plan and set goals. You need to be practical and stop being too imaginative. You can figure out your goals and the steps to achieve them by writing your ideas down in a journal, or try creating a vision board.
4. Remember to Take Breaks
In this hectic world full of successful people, everyone seems to desire a piece of the pie. This can lead you to overwork yourself and avoid taking care of your health and well-being. Instead, it's wise to take breaks whenever necessary.
I had problems with overworking myself when I was in college and it nearly broke me. I had anxiety and ended up choosing the wrong degree. I was excessively focused on achievements and not focused enough on what I actually wanted.
5. Eliminate Distractions
Whether you can't stand how noisy your neighbors are, or you check your email or texts too often, distractions can be a time-waster. To reduce noise, you can put on noise-canceling headphones or earplugs, or head somewhere else.
To avoid the smart phone temptation, try downloading a management app or turning off push notifications. You can also commit to only checking your phone a certain number of times per day.
6. Take Care of Your Health
Not taking care of your mind and body can make it difficult to think clearly or be productive. To be successful, you'll need to focus on taking care of your body, mind, and spirit.
If you're not active enough, you won't have enough energy to keep you going throughout the day and you'll likely feel lazy. Regular exercise boosts energy and mood, and promotes better sleep quality.
You can also engage in yoga or meditation to relax the mind; as well as add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet and practice good hygiene.
7. Perfection is Overrated
While it may seem as though you need to be perfect to do anything right, this isn't true. In actual fact, you'll be wasting your time waiting to be perfect, because perfection isn't possible.
Instead, try accepting yourself for your flaws and working towards self-improvement. Finding happiness and peace within yourself is the closest thing to perfection life has to offer.
8. Spend Time in Healthy Environments
When you spend time with people who are consistently negative and aren't committed to achieving goals, you'll be prone to adapt to their mindset. However, if you're around people who have positive goals and are dedicated to accomplishing them, you'll start thinking like them. You can find optimistic people everywhere you look, if you keep an open mind.
9. Have Realistic Expectations
Imagining your life being different can be fun and inspiring, but it won't take you any further than your own head. You can think about eating a sandwich all you'd like, but you'll have to make one if you actually want to eat it.
If you set a goal to increase your empathy – you'll have to take action by doing good deeds, volunteering, and focusing on the needs of others in an authentic way. Another goal you might have is finding a career you love. To accomplish this, you might want to earn a college degree, gain experience, and try out different careers to see which one fits you best.
Realistic expectations are the roadmap guiding you one step closer to your dreams and desires.
10. Keep a Daily Planner
Planning each day out leaves less time for procrastination and gives you extra time to do what matters to you. You'll know what's ahead for the day, which means you'll be able to take action without overthinking anything. There’ll be no surprises.
Furthermore, writing down specific steps can help you stay organized and help you keep your thoughts in order. Try using a daily planner in the mornings or evenings.
11. Stop Procrastinating
Overthinking something can make it a challenge to get started on doing anything. When you quit procrastinating, you can have extra time to do what you enjoy, have peace of mind, fewer worries, and have greater success.
You can stop procrastinating by setting goals with time constraints, keeping a to-do list, and breaking down goals into smaller tasks, among other things.
12. Stay Focused
If you have trouble staying focused, you need to take a closer look at your lifestyle habits. Lack of sleep, an unhealthy environment, inadequate physical activity and poor eating habits are among the most common culprits negatively impacting our concentration.
You can improve focus by decreasing multitasking, getting enough sleep, connecting with nature, exercising regularly, listening to light music or nature sounds, eating a healthy diet, or meditating… among other things. You can also try memory games and word searches.
13. Commit to Taking Action
Staying committed to taking action can be a challenge, as it often takes practice and self-discipline. You can motivate yourself habitually to take action by keeping a positive mindset, cultivating gratitude, joining groups of people who have positive goals, and rewarding yourself.
Final Thoughts on How to Take Action
It’s never too late to start taking action… and we’ve made it easier with these simple steps. Just remember: it's best to focus on taking one step at a time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the flight or fight response has a tendency to kick in… and you’ll likely abandon ship.
Although you may be inclined to change your habits all at once, slowing down is the way to go. Trust me. If fact, you may see that going slower actually speeds you up. Just be patient and don’t ever give up.
We don't have to let anything or anyone bring us down. It’s up to us alone to take charge of our own lives and stay on task, committed to getting what we want and deserve. If you enjoyed reading this article, we have another one you might like about writing and setting SMART goals.