Happy New Year!
It’s gotten to a point where many people shun new years resolutions (goals, plans, intentions etc.). They assume they won’t last so don’t see the point in bothering.
A common example of a new years resolution is to lose weight.
After indulging in an abundance of rich and unhealthy food over the festive period a large amount of people rush to the gym in January hoping to losing weight. However, I think the reason this tends to fail time and time again is because it actually works a little better when the focus is on the action instead of the outcome.
What if your new years resolution was to create a weekly exercise routine that you enjoy and then stick to it?
As much as it is important to have a clear goal, if you’re more focused on the end result than what is required to achieve it, you’ll probably end up giving up.
We often unknowingly run from doing the work that is required because we’re more focused on thinking about what we want than carrying out the actions to get us there.
Focusing on the action tends to result in habit building. Once these habits are ingrained into your routine they eventually become part of your everyday life which makes reaching the goal much easier.
Sometimes in life when you want things to pan out a certain way you end up putting in a grand effort hoping to increase your chances of an ideal outcome.
In some cases this might work but in other cases it doesn’t. And when things don’t work out you might find yourself frustrated wondering what you did wrong and what you should have done differently.
The answer is often much simpler than we anticipate. You don’t need to work yourself to the bone, having life turn out the way you want doesn’t require hard energy draining labour. Often all you need to do is set things up and allow them to fall into place.
Around 5 years ago or whenever it was that bullet journals became all the range, habit trackers were an incredibly popular thing to have. You’d create a list of habits that you wanted to keep track of for the month and then put a cross in the box when you did it and left it blank when you didn’t.
Bullet journaling didn’t actually work that well for me. In theory it was a great tool to stay organized but in reality I couldn’t commit to keeping up with it. However, years later I decided to return to using a habit tracker. I was at a point where i wanted to add some new habits to my daily routine and I thought a habit tracker would help me stay motivated.
I wanted to see if having a chart with what I did and didn’t do each day would make me better at implmenting habits I felt would benefit me. After less than a week I noticed that I was making more of an effort to carry out some of my new habits because I liked the feeling that came with ticking them off. It was also because they were easy to do and didn’t take much time.
On the other hand, the things that were more time consuming were much harder to get into. This is because once you get that ‘good feeling’ for crossing a few things off, you don’t have to do more work in order to feel good. This reminded me that I need to just take action and do the thing instead of using the idea of needed to be motivated in order to get it done.
Sometimes all it takes is to tune into a random passing thought.
Perhaps there is something that has been on your mind for a while or maybe it’s something that you’d totally forgotten about. Either way, you’ll get a thought that serves as a call to action that gives you an idea of what to do next or how to progress with something.
Often, when we feel stuck or we’re not sure what changes we need to make, we think we need to brainstorm, plan and come up with ideas.
We unknowingly try to force something because we feel like we need to know now and that to wait is to waste time.
But your mind is rarely clear when you’re trying to rush something, it’s actually more beneficial to slow down and patient.
Then all of a sudden, something will come to you and you’ll know exactly what you need to do next.
When you think of a fresh start, what comes to mind?
A new city, a new stage in education, a new country, a new relationship, a new job, a promotion or a new home.
As much as those things are the beginning of new chapters in our lives, they don’t necessarily mark a fresh start. I think what matters so much more is the mindset. Sometimes people find that they move to a new city and get a new job but everything they wanted to escape from stays with them. They find themselves in a new city with the same old problems.
It’s possible to change your mindset, stay in the exact same place and still get the effects of a fresh start. Things like moving to a new city, changing your hair or getting a new job all serves as visual signifiers for ourselves and also to the outside world that something has changed.
…the hard part is following through.
When you end up being focused on the short term things like how liberated we’ll feel when you say it or how the other person will think of you when they hear your words, you distract yourself from the long term.
It’s the long term that matters most, things like how it will feel to follow through with what you said, the effort it will require, how long until you see desired results or what you’ll need to put in place to make it easier to keep to your word.
Sometimes doing what you said you’d do is easy but other times it’s a little more challenging. And so I think it’s worth focusing a little more on the action required and a little less on talking about it.
I think it could be said that there are 2 types of limbo.
The first is where you’re caught between 2 options and do nothing. Instead of taking action and making a choice, you end up freezing instead. In this case it may result in life forcing your hand and you end up having to go with
The second is a much broader type of limbo. It’s when you’re caught between 2 options and instead of doing nothing you pick both. This results in being what Ziglar would call ‘a wondering generality’ or what is perhaps more common and referred to as a Jack of all trades, master of none. Sometimes, we think we can find a way around choosing by committing to 2 things but deep down we know that we only have the capacity fully focus on one thing at a time.
And whether you choose to do nothing or you attempt to choose both, either way you’re not making any real progress. That’s the problem with limbo.
Complaints can be categorised into 2 groups, things you can change and things you can’t change.
If you are able to sort the issue that feel the need to complain about, it’s probably not worth the effort to complain. Instead take action, do something about it.
Lets say that you’re cold. You could fix this by putting on another layer or closing the window. But instead you choose to complain. Maybe you’re usually the one that has to close the window and you want someone else to do it for a change.
If you can easily fix something that bothers you and you choose to do nothing then maybe you don’t actually care, maybe you just like complaining. I think that can be a difficult thing to admit but it’s the truth for many people even if it’s just for something small.
And sometimes the case is that you care but you want someone else to fix the problem. Perhaps you feel like it’s always on you.
However, as much as that’s understandable, it is also of very little benefit to you.
If you know what the issue is, do something about it.
You might be nervous or feel like you don’t have the confidence but the issue will only persist if you don’t take action.
And don’t be half-hearted, tackle it with full gusto.
Have the conversations that need to be had and do the things that need to be done.
And most importantly, trust that you are capable.
When people procrastinate they often tell themselves they are waiting until they are ready or waiting for a feeling that will push them to begin.
But the truth is you just have to start. Instead of waiting for some kind of magic to turn you into someone that gets things done straight away, make it a habit.
Any habit or behaviour takes practice to implement and practice to change.
So, instead of hiding behind the label of being a procrastinator start making a conscious effort to be the kind of person you want to be. The kind of person that gets things done sooner rather than later.