How to get into action?
Definition of action – The fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.
We all have dreams and goals, yet it seems few people ever transform their desires into reality. While I have written about this topic frequently, the question still remains, why is this?
Have you, like so many other people often wondered what prevents you from doing the things you know you should do to achieve your goals? And then, exactly how to get into action and achieve your goals and fulfil your dreams?
Here are a few of the reasons I hear frequently:-
‘I might be judged’
‘What if I get it wrong and it’s not perfect?’
‘I might feel embarrassed.’
‘I know what I need to do, but I just can’t seem to do it.’
‘I always procrastinate.’
‘I keep getting overwhelmed and then paralysis sets in.’
‘I set out with great intentions in the morning, but by the end of the day, I still haven’t done it.’
‘I have a voice in my head that says I can’t do it.’
‘I can’t get clear on what I need to do.’
‘I need to know more/ research more/ discover more etc..’
‘I need more time to think about it.’ blah, blah, blah.
Any of these sound familiar to you?
How to get into action?
While I am adept at helping people get out of their own way, changing poor habits and creating better behaviours and habits so they can do the things they truly want to do, the last comment – ‘I need more time to think about it,’ really resonates with me. Yes, I will admit. I am a thinker, and I love to think! It’s been something I have done all my life. As we tend to fall back into our habitual ways of doing things, unless we identify and address this, it can block forward momentum. It’s true, we are great at getting in our own way, yet most of the time we aren’t even aware we do! Chances are, you are possibly the one getting in your own way too? And you probably aren’t even aware that you do?
When I travelled the world and had many hours sitting on rickety buses going across Asia, or the miles and miles of Africa, my head would drift off into the land of imagination, or percolate on some concept or idea and get lost in nowhere land. The trouble is if we hang around here too long we get nowhere fast in the action arena. My love of thinking was further endorsed when I took the Myer Briggs Test many years ago and discovered, much to my excitement that I was in the in the same quadrant as Carl Jung – a philosopher and thinker. While it explained so much to me at the time, it didn’t give me any strategies to transform this thinking into implementation and how to get into action.
When I hung up my backpack and entered the world of business, and a 9 – 5 job, I had to find a strategy to stop myself daydreaming! Consequently, I developed a simple action plan. When I got stuck, lost focus or when I couldn’t get clear on what I needed to do I decided to simply focus on taking one small step, one small action step. I stopped thinking about what I should or could do and asked myself the question:-
‘What one small action step can I take right now?’
Then I took instant action. Non-negotiable. READY FIRE AIM, rather than READY AIM FIRE…
This strategy can be used in any area of life, and in December I modified it to help me get back into sport after quite a severe injury. I tripped while running and ruptured my talo-fibular ligament (Level 3) in my foot. Apparently, level 3 is the worse, as it is completely ruptured? As I have always loved sports and physical challenges, to go from being a runner to being on crutches, in pain and with so many different words ringing around my head from well-meaning professionals it was hard even to imagine running again. One Dr. said surgery may be required, but after turning to google to check the latest research on treating ruptured ligaments changed his mind.
Another health professional said it takes much longer to heal as we get older! And a well-meaning Facebook ‘friend’ said he was still struggling with his ankle 18 months after rupturing it, so expect the same. Another medical ‘expert’ said I might not be able to run for at least a year. So, while I have never taken much notice when people tell me I might not be able to do something, I decided I needed to take charge; make an action plan, work out how to get into action and create a focus on getting back into running.
How to get into action is as simple as one small step at a time
I called my plan ‘Every step is a step nearer.’ Exactly the same words I used when I was competing in the Hawaiian Ironman to help me get through the exceptionally tough 42.2km run leg of the triathlon. Just focusing on the next step. Then the next, and the next. My plan meant that every day I took at least one small action step to heal my ankle and get back into running. First, it was walking gingerly on crutches and doing some simple ankle exercises; then it was doing squats on a wobbly ball, walking, flexing and stretching my ankle and more advanced ankle movements, courtesy of the amazing Dave Liow. I also did healing techniques at night (taken from my vast tool-box of techniques) and progressed to treatment with a new technology by an amazing client, Jenny Van Leeuwen, a caring and expert physio. ‘Lorenzo’ is the machines name! Later it was walking, walk/run, then short runs, before going back to the Park Run (5km), back into yoga and then longer runs. I set an Intention and created my own mantras and POST’s (Positive Statements) that I said every day, plus other Mindset Strategies including mental rehearsal, visualisation and creating the feeling of having completed the race.
Eight months later, from what seemed such a massive task, I have completed a 17 km run and clocked up several one-hour runs, and ran three to four times a week. It’s been challenging getting back into running, at the level, I used too. There have been days when I have felt lacking in energy, where my body has not wanted to move beyond the old ‘slow’ plod of former distance running days and days when I have felt like stopping. I have had a few pains in my ankle and a slight tendency to wobble as my ankle still doesn’t quite feel entirely attached to my leg!
Despite this, I find myself in a place where in a few days time I will be lining up at the Sunshine coast half-marathon to fulfil the goal I set not long after I ruptured my ligament. Small steps taken consistently have gotten me here. Even when I wasn’t sure I would be fit enough, I kept taking small steps. Despite the doubts, I kept taking small steps. Despite what anyone else said I focused on small steps, how to get into action and keep going. This is how to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions.
‘Big transformational wins are preceded by lots of little wins’ Mandy Napier
My small action steps have built my fitness, belief and my vision of seeing myself crossing the line (when I hurt my ankle it was a hard picture to see). The clarity has fuelled more action which has built belief and again, fuelled more action. Ticking off the small action steps meant my brain regularly sent me a short of serotonin, ensuring I felt a sense of achievement; fuel to keep going.
So don’t wait for the right time, the perfect conditions, until you have enough money, belief or clarity. Get into action now. Simply do it. Get READY, FIRE and AIM. Implement your own Get Into Action Plan and in the words of Nike, Just Do It.
Keep this question where you can read it often.
‘What is one action I can take right now that will move me forward in the direction of my dreams?’
Then simply ask ‘How can I get into action easily right now?’ Note, you don’t have to answer this one. You are asking for help from the Universe! If that doesn’t cut it, how about the following straight to the point quote below?