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How To Be More Action-Oriented: Obstacles And Tips

How To Be More Action-Oriented: Obstacles And Tips

Action speaks louder than words. This is a very common expression that explains a very crucial concept that is associated with our life. There are times when words are not suffice enough to complete a work in hand. Words compose planning. Planning on doing something, taking elaborate measures to complete the task consume a lot of time. In certain instances, you may not have sufficient amount of time to make plans. It is in those times, you should keep aside your planning, and start acting out. Express yourself through actions, and not by mere words. For example, you want to bring changes in your community. You open a page in a social media, successfully gather your neighbors to sign up, or to agree to your plans. Then what? Everyone gets busy with their hectic lives, including you, and the page remains as it is, with certain amounts of advices and no action taking place, and therefore, no changes.

What makes people less action-oriented?

Lack of motivation

Once you lose your motivation in doing a certain task, you won’t feel the urge to transform it into action. It happens to people who get easily over-excited about one thing and go for a prolonged plan. By the time the plan is completed, they lose every motivation to carry out the plan because they are distracted doing too much planning.

No self-confidence

In order to be action-oriented, you need self-confidence. You have to believe in yourself. If an ordinary person can climb up the ladder to success, then I believe everyone of us can, too. In order to climb the ladder, you must be actively involved and must be willing to take the risk.

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Being a perfectionist

There is no harm in being a stickler for impeccability, but insisting too much on perfection can lead to waste opportunities in life. Fast feedback loops from your mistakes are more realistic than aiming for perfect performance in one action. People learn from mistakes. If you can learn from the worst times of your life, you’ll be ready to go into the best times of your life.

Confused about your goal

Getting distracted is fairly easy. At one point in time, I wanted to be a doctor. I prepared myself for that too. But it didn’t work out for me. I didn’t put my 100 percent on it because I just didn’t feel right about it. Sometime later in life I realised, my goal is to write. Ever since then, I got stuck to it, I worked hard and I never looked back.

Getting used to procrastination

Many of us have the habit of leaving the work for the last moment, thinking, “It won’t take much time”, but in reality, you are frantic because you have so much to do in so little time. The end result? Not satisfactory at all! There is no procrastination in action-oriented chores. There’s no need to pressurize yourself when you have ample of time.

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Analysis paralysis

You want to do something, but there is a lot of confusion racing through your brain: What to do first? Is it the correct path? What if it backfires? How to deal with the consequences? The prime way to over come analysis paralysis is to differentiate a bigger problem from a smaller one. Prioritise your problems, and act accordingly.

I am not saying that planning is not important. Planning is very important if you want to carry out your action. Without planning, you won’t know the ‘4 W’s and the H’ – What, where,, when, why and how. What I am saying is too much planning will kill your choice for action. There should be a striking balance between planning and acting out. It is because what we think and plan sets a ‘motion’, and it only becomes an ‘action’ once we out it into practice.

‘Motion’ vs ‘Action’

Motion doesn’t necessarily mean action. Motion sets the platform of the task which produces no results on its own. However, action is what that will produce an outcome. For example, you want to know a certain recipe of a food that you have enjoyed at a friend’s house. Searching on the internet, getting hold of it and saving it for the future, that’s a motion. But if you actually buy the ingredients and cook the food, that is an action. To be successful, set your motion to action, because that is how you will reach your desired goal. Here are 6 tips for you to be more action-oriented in life:

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1. Set a limited time-line for planning before acting out

Naturally, you can’t be action-oriented if you don’t know what to do. For this, planning is important. Time management is also valuable too. Therefore, set a limited time-line for planning. Jot down the important things you want to remind yourself before action, so that at least you know where you are going. Don’t over plan or over think. It should be more of a brainstorming for you.

2. Failure shouldn’t dishearten you

Failure is part of life. If you don’t fail, you can never taste success. You may break down many times when failure runs over you, but never give up on yourself. Learn from the mistakes and try not to repeat it again. Instead of stopping a child from climbing a tree, encourage them to do it. If they fall, they’ll be more careful next time, and will continue to do so until they are successful. Be that child.

3. Discipline yourself

A person who leads a disciplined life is more action-oriented than those who lazy around. Being lethargic to work is a deadly weapon. You are not only killing valuable time, you are also wasting opportunities that may come your way if you maintain discipline. Set tasks for yourself and complete them accordingly. Organise your works.

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4. Reward yourself

If you successfully complete an assigned project on time, reward yourself. Be it a treat or some shopping, encourage yourself that if you cut down on procrastinating and work harder, you will be rewarded. But, if you complete a task at the eleventh hour, refrain from celebrating. This will transmit a message to your brain to be more action-oriented.

5. Being curious and impatient

If you want to be action-oriented, you have to be the curious cat. Also, being impatient is just fine. If you are curious and impatient to know the outcome, they will push you to be more active. For this, you need to sharpen your curiosity and urgency.

6. Picture yourself to be the person you want to be

Start from the beginning. When you set your goal, picture yourself there. If you want to start a business, visualise yourself as the chief, and slowly work it up there. If you want to be a successful musician, start from scratch, aiming for the ultimate prize that awaits you. Picturing yourself to be the person you want to be will pave the path for you to be an action-oriented individual.

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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