We can always find a lot of seemingly good reasons to not do something:
- It’s not important enough, or not worth the effort
- I probably can’t do it anyway
- The timing isn’t right, or before I do that I must do this
- It doesn’t fit into my schedule – I don’t have time
- It’s too complicated to organize
Another way to avoid actually taking action is by planning to take action (make a schedule, create checklists, do online research, buy and read related books, design spread sheets to track progress, etc.). You can easily get caught up in the planning and then never get around to actually doing anything. This is especially dangerous because planning feels like action. I don’t say that planning is bad. Planning is invaluable but it needs structure and a defined end.
All the excuses listed above often translate into “I’m afraid”. Afraid of failure, afraid of success, afraid of change; it’s normal and natural but it doesn’t have to be acceptable.
I have a list of personal commandments which describe how I try to live my life; the values that I want to demonstrate to myself and those around me. One of those commandments is “Just Do It” (which I used long before the good folks at Nike).
Just Do It has been a great driver for me in breaking out and trying new things, or simply getting things done. Because I know that I can use “planning” quite effectively to not take action, when I feel myself starting that cycle, I’ll stop and Just Do It.
Some recent examples:
- Instead of “Start trail running”, I “Put on sneakers and walk out the door”
- Instead of “Find more time to cycle”, I “Bike to work”
The great thing about actually doing, is that it builds momentum. Once you get going you realize how easy it can be to just take action.
My goal is to create the habit of taking action. Why a ‘habit’? Because your habits are the framework for what you do in life. If you want to change your life or any part of it, you have to create the habit or habits that will support your change (more on habits later…)
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
– Thomas Jefferson