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Published on June 22, 2020

How to Get Yourself to Take Action Towards Your Goal

How to Get Yourself to Take Action Towards Your Goal

We’ve all been there. We get motivated to accomplish a goal, and we feel like we’re making real progress for the first few days.

However, after a week or two we notice that our motivation fades and with that, so do our efforts. Our progress tails off and eventually, we may quit altogether.

This is something that we need to avoid if we want to accomplish our goals. We can’t fall into some of the common traps that the average person falls into.

So, in this article, I am going to cover how you can take action toward your goals and get yourself to where you truly want to be in your life.

1. Study Those Who Came Before You

A little motivation never hurt anybody right?

On top of that, studying the people who previously accomplished the goal that you’re looking to accomplish can save you a lot of headaches in the long-run.

From these practices, you can begin to determine what challenges the person faced when they started to take action towards their goals. Furthermore, you can also gather information about what strategies they used to overcome those challenges.

Though what worked for someone else may not work exactly the same way for you, it’s definitely a good starting point. From this point, you can then begin to create and tailor your strategy based on the path that you want to take.

Once you know what path you want to take, you can begin mentally preparing yourself to take action.

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2. Mentally Prepare Yourself

There are a lot of traps we can fall into as we try to take action towards our goals. The first one is failing to mentally prepare ourselves for the journey.

Doing this means that you need to be able to visualize the obstacles and challenges that are going to confront you when you begin taking action and making progress. It also means that you can visualize yourself accomplishing the goal at the end of the journey.

Think about it this way, who do you think is more likely to overcome a challenge, the person who just dives into a task without any preparation or the person who has taken some to carefully consider the challenges and obstacles that they may face?

Obviously, the person who has taken the time to consider these challenges is more likely to succeed. But why?

Well, the answer to that question is that this individual has mentally prepared themselves for the challenges that they were likely to face. That way, when they begin to take action towards their goal, they have two crucial advantages in their back pocket.

First, these individuals know that these challenges are likely going to present themselves and that they will need to overcome them to achieve their goals. This means that they won’t be surprised or get negative when the obstacle presents itself because they already mentally prepared for it. They can continue taking action without being phased by the obstacle.

Second, because they knew this challenge was something that they were going to have to face, they will have been able to make a plan to cope with and overcome the challenge. This goes a long way to helping someone continually take action towards their goals.

3. Make a Plan

After you’ve studied what other people have done before you, figured out what works and what does, decided what’s likely to work for you, and then finally mentally prepared yourself for the journey, it’s time to make a plan.

This is the plan that you will follow as you begin to take action towards your goals. It’s often best to write these plans out in areas that are easy for you to view and access. This keeps your plan at the forefront of your mind and reminds you to keep your priorities at the top of your priority list.

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In this phase of your journey, you are going to create a step-by-step progression that you can follow. You’ll set the mini accomplishments throughout the journey as well as the milestones that you’ll achieve and surpass along the way.

You’ll also write down the challenges and obstacles that you mentally prepared yourself for in the previous steps and what your plan is to overcome them.

This can get overwhelming when it’s all done at once, so break your plan down into sections. Start with a section outlining the steps you’re going to take action on to accomplish your goals, and include the milestone you’ll pass in this process. Then, create a separate section where you outline the barriers and challenges you’ll face and how to overcome them.

Overall, just make sure that the plan makes sense for you personally.

Once you’ve created a plan, your next step is to figure out how you can begin tracking your progress as you begin to take action.

If you want more help with this check out this article.[1]

4. Track Yourself and Your Progress

Once you’ve created your personalized plan that you can use to take action, you should try to find ways to track your progress.

How you do this doesn’t really matter. You could create a habit tracker where you track the habits that you need to implement to achieve your goal. You could create a map of your milestones that you check off as you accomplish each of them. You could also even download an app that could enable you to track your progress with ease.

Just do something that makes sense to you.

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This allows you to figure out what’s working best for you and what isn’t working, and make adjustments accordingly. This is the crucial reason why we track our progress as we take action towards our goals.

Because it’s highly unlikely, regardless of how well you prepare, that the initial plan you create will get everything right. There will be things you didn’t think about and you will have to remain adaptable. Tracking your progress will enable you to do just that.

You’ll be able to take action and identify what habits allow you to make the most progress.

They say 20% of the things we dedicate our time to bring about approximately 80% of our results. If that’s the case, tracking your progress like this will help you figure out what moves that needle you and then adjust your plan accordingly.

If you want additional tips on staying motivated check out this article.[2]

5. Make it Fun and Stay Motivated

This is one of the more fun parts of learning how to take action towards your goals. If you want to make real progress, you have to make achieving the goal fun. Find ways that make it appealing to you.

For example, a reward system is often a good way to make taking action fun, and it’s a great way for us to remain motivated. This could be a small and fun reward after accomplishing a particular habit, such as going for a walk after writing a few pages of that book you’ve been working on forever.

You can very easily apply this to your goals as you take action.

Make a particular habit that you’re implementing as you work towards a goal something that you regularly reward yourself for. If your goal is to jog, maybe reward yourself with some relaxation time post-run. If your goal is to eat healthier, maybe go out for a fun activity after a week of healthy eating.

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Get creative and make it fun for you.

Doing this will help you stick with it through the tough times because there will be tough times. You’re going to be challenged on this journey, and that is the only thing that you can be sure of.

So, finding ways to stay motivated while you take action will go a long way to helping you continually take action towards your goals.

Bottom Line

So there you have it. Used effectively, these strategies will help you to take action towards some of your massive goals.

To sum things up, you’re going to study what people before you have done to accomplish similar goals and learn about their journey. Then, you’re going to mentally prepare yourself for the journey that is going to lay ahead of you as well as the challenges and barriers that you’re likely going to have to face, confront, and overcome.

Following that, you will have to create the plan you will follow as you take action. The important part of this is to remember that your plan has to be uniquely tailored to you and what you want to accomplish.

Then, find a way that works for you to track your progress so that you can figure out what works and what doesn’t, and invest more of your time and energy into the things that are working for you as you take action.

Then finally, make it fun for yourself so that you stay motivated to continue working even through the tough times.

More Tips if You Want to Take Action

Featured photo credit: Brad Neathery via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mark Lynch

Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

5 Reasons to Follow Your Heart to Live the Life You Want 8 Things to Remember When You’re Saying “I Can’t Do It” How to Use the Wheel of Life to Live the Life You Want 9 Ways to Stop Complicating Life and Start Living 8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

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Last Updated on November 3, 2020

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

How to Use the Prioritization Matrix When Every Task is #1

It takes being productive to get things done correctly and on time. So how do you know which tasks are essential and which can wait? The answer is in the Prioritization Matrix, also known as the Eisenhower Matrix.

The matrix took its name after Dwight David Eisenhower.

Eisenhower was a general in the US army and the 34th President of the United States from 1953 to 1961. As a five-star general and a Supreme Commander in the US Army, he drafted the strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe.[1]

Eisenhower had to make tough decisions every time about which tasks to prioritize out of many he needed to focus on daily. So, he came up with the famous Eisenhower Matrix, or the Prioritization Matrix.

What Is the Prioritization Matrix?

The Prioritization Matrix is a tool for rating your tasks based on urgency. It helps you know the critical activities and those tasks that you should bypass and can be useful in project management, small businesses, or personal tasks.

Eisenhower famously said of the matrix:

“Most tasks that are urgent are not important, and most tasks that are important are not urgent.”

This quote became the maxim for Eisenhower in managing his time.

There are four quadrants in the Prioritization Matrix, which help in comparing choices of what to do first and last, allowing you to prioritize projects and create strategic plan[2].

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Eisenhower Matrix Template

    The quadrants are:

    • Do
    • Schedule
    • Delegate
    • Eliminate

    Do

    Do is the first quadrant in the Prioritization Matrix, and it incorporates important activities. That is, those tasks you need to carry out urgently — crises, deadlines, and issues that need your urgent attention and are highly relevant to your life mission.

    Hw do you know which task falls into this quadrant?

    Start by analyzing your priorities, and then establish if it falls within the ‘do it now’ criteria. If the task is achievable within a day, or within 24 to 48 hours, it’s urgent.

    Another approach you can adopt in prioritizing tasks in this category is to adopt the “eat the frog” principle by Mark Twain. This principle recommends that you do the most urgent activities as soon as you wake up.

    Here’s a practical example.

    Let’s say you need to draft a content strategy and submit a report to your manager. It’s Saturday, and the deadline for submission is Monday. Can we say the activity is urgent? Definitely!

    Schedule

    The second quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Schedule. The Prioritization Matrix classifies tasks in this category as important but not that urgent.

    They are long-term objectives and tasks with no immediate deadline. Those tasks could include meditation, journaling, studying, family time, and exercising.

    You can plan out activities in this quadrant for some other period. For instance, you should exercise for good health, but you can allocate time to do it.

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    Schedule these activities in such a way that they don’t transfer to the “Do” or “Urgent” quadrant. Ensure you have sufficient time to carry them out.

    Delegate

    The third quadrant of the prioritization matrix is Delegate.

    These tasks are not important to you but are quite urgent for others. This is where teamwork comes into play.

    You can technically perform tasks in this category, but it makes sense to delegate them. Delegating tasks will ensure you have more time to pursue activities in your first two quadrants.

    You should also monitor the tasks you have delegated. It will only amount to a sheer waste of time if you don’t have a tracking system for delegated tasks.

    Eliminate

    The last quadrant highlights your productivity killers. They are tasks that are not important to your goals and not urgent. The only way to boost your productivity is to eliminate them.

    Some examples are constantly checking your phone, watching movies, or playing video games.

    They could also be bad habits that you need to identify and delete from your daily and weekly schedule.

    Successful people have learned how to prioritize and stick to what’s important. They have learned to find a better person for a task or eliminate less significant tasks.

    Let’s consider two inspiring personalities that have designed their prioritization system.

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    Warren Buffet developed a two-list prioritization model to determine which task deserves his best attention. The bottom line is bypassing things that are important and useful but not top of the priorities.

    Mark Ford, a business advisor, marketer, self-made millionaire, and author devised his strategy:

    “Start work on the most crucial priority, take a break, work on the second most important task, take a break, then sort out the less important activities and any tasks he received from other individuals by afternoon.” [3]

    How to Use The Prioritization Matrix

    Using the Prioritization Matrix can be tricky if you’re new at it, but by following a few simple steps, you can learn to utilize it in the best way possible.

    1. List and Rank Your Priorities

    Highlight all the tasks you need to carry out in a day. Then, classify them with weighted criteria based on urgency and importance.

    Identify any activity that requires prompt action. I’m referring to a task that if you don’t complete that day, it could produce a grave consequence. For instance, if you don’t submit your content strategy, other content writers cannot work. It means you need to check for high-priority dependencies.

    2. Define the Value

    The next step is to examine the importance and assess which of them impacts your business or organization the most. As a rule of thumb, you can check which tasks possess higher priority over others. For instance, you need to attend to client’s requirements before you take care of any internal work.

    You can also estimate value by examining how the task impacts the people and customers in the organization. In a nutshell, the more impact a task has on people or the organization, the higher the priority.

    3. Take out the Most Challenging Task

    Procrastination is not a symptom of laziness, but avoidance is. The truth is that you will typically avoid tasks you don’t want to do. The former CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, once said he would take out the most dreaded task first thing when he got to the office.

    Brian Tracy called these tasks the frogs you need to eat. That will remove the nagging dread, which mounts pressure on you when you postpone necessary tasks[4]. This is where the Prioritization Matrix can help; eat the “Do” frogs immediately.

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    If you need help overcoming procrastination, check out this article.

    4. Know What’s Important to You

    As long as you are in this cosmos, you will always encounter different choices that may be contradictory to your goals. For instance, a fantastic promotion that requires excessive travel will isolate you from important relationships. If you are not priority-conscious, you may accept it, even though your family is your priority.

    Therefore, it makes sense to identify what is important to you and to prepare yourself not to compromise those important things for immediate pleasure or gain.

    Yogi Berra captioned it this way:

    “If you do not know your destination, you might end up somewhere else.”

    5. Establish Regular “No Work” Time

    YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki established a rule not to check her emails between 6 pm and 9 pm. According to a CNN Business report, she was the first woman to request maternity leave when Google just got started. She prioritizes dinner time with her family despite being the CEO of YouTube[5].

    Is it possible to cut out time for our relationships and interests outside of work?

    Of course, and that’s why you need to set out your “no work” time. This approach will enable you to renew your energy levels for the next task. Also, you will be in the best position to introspect as you are not in your usual work zone.

    6. Know When to Stop

    You can achieve everything on your list sometimes. After you have prioritized your workload and assessed your estimates, remove the remaining tasks from your priority list and focus on your most urgent and important tasks.

    Conclusion

    It’s not enough to be successful at work. Ensure you make out time for your family and an important relationship in your life.

    Getting started and finding time may be tricky, but with some practice using the Prioritization Matrix, you’ll find that you are more productive and better able to divide your time between the things that are important to you.

    More Tips on Prioritizing

    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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