Hi, friends! It’s Elizabeth here, and I am so excited to share Episode 714 of Primal Potential with you today! Primal Potential is a podcast all about you — your ability to change is not defined by yesterday and doesn’t need to wait until tomorrow. Your transformation is now, no matter what stage you find yourself in life!
Do you ever feel like you’ve come to a standstill? Like you’re spending all your time thinking and planning and dreaming and hoping… but not doing? You have all these fantastic goals for yourself, your family, your business, or anything else, but for whatever reason, you just can’t figure out how to get started and put your plans into action.
If that sounds like you, I want you to know that you’re not alone!
This feeling of inability to take action is one of the issues I hear about most frequently from my clients. They get on calls with me and say, “I know that I need to take more action, and I want to take more action, but I continue to put it off. So how do you suggest that I become a person of action?”
I really want to help every single one of you with this problem! That’s why I’m sharing all my best advice, perspectives, and tips for becoming a more action-oriented person.
Now keep in mind, maybe not all of this advice will be helpful for you. That’s okay, not every tip and trick you encounter is going to resonate with your particular situation! But I’m confident that if you implement even one little tip I offer in this episode, you’ll take more action and feel more confident and empowered as you work toward your goals!
So with that, let’s get started!
Feel All Your Feelings… But Don’t Let Them Make Your Decisions!
Think about your number one, top priority dream right now. Do you want to start a podcast? Do you want to get into an exercise routine? Do you want to find a new job, learn how to cook healthier food, or finally start investing your money?
All of those are fantastic goals! But they come with a lot of obstacles, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that those obstacles can be overwhelming.
I hear clients talk about this all the time, and trust me, I get it. When you’re unclear on exactly what you need to do and can’t guarantee success, it’s easy to feel fearful (What if I fail? What if it doesn’t work out?). You start to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and unmotivated about whatever you want to work on.
And those negative feelings can be totally paralyzing! They prevent you from taking any action at all. You can overthink and over plan yourself into this deep hole all day long, but you’re too scared and overwhelmed to take the necessary action to climb out.
Here’s the thing: those negative feelings are inevitable. If you’ve chosen a goal for yourself, there will be days when you just feel discouraged. You’re going to come home from a stressful day at work and order a pizza instead of eating the salmon and brussels sprouts you prepared. You’re going to wake up one morning and just feel too tired and unmotivated to call your CPA and wade through your finances.
Here’s the crucial thing about negative feelings, though: You don’t have to let them drive your actions. Feel those feelings all you need to! It’s okay and completely natural to feel fearful, unclear, or stressed out sometimes! But choose not to make decisions based on those feelings, and never let them prevent you from taking action. You really can take action even if you feel afraid!
In fact, taking action is exactly what makes the fear go away.
Let me give you an example from my own life recently. You guys know that I have been pouring my time and energy into Primal Potential — I love you guys so much, and I want to keep delivering this podcast to you! But I remember when I was looking to hire a Director of Operations — this HUGE position at my company — I was completely overwhelmed. What if I hired the wrong person? What will I have this person do? What if this doesn’t significantly increase our reach and mission, but now I have this financial responsibility for this person?
Those are all big questions, and I felt a lot of fear through that hiring process! But here’s the thing: the more action I took, the less fear I felt. I started reaching out to candidates, and that helped me feel more in control. I began setting goals for bonuses and establishing how my Director of Operations would be paid for doing certain things, and taking action to create that clarity for myself is what ultimately dispelled my fear.
There’s a really positive cycle that begins to happen when you take action. I genuinely believe that the more action you take, the more clarity you create, the more action you take, the less fear you feel, and so on. The key is that it starts with action. Don’t expect the fear to go away on its own — it won’t. But choose to take action anyway, and the fear will go away by itself!
How You Start and End Your Day Matters
“But how can I just choose to take action even when I feel fearful?” you may be asking me. Fair question! Let’s talk about some specific things you can do.
I want to tell you guys that how you start your day really matters. Setting some intentions for your day at the start of it is an excellent tool for becoming an action-oriented person. The way you spend the first moments of your day can determine how confident you feel and can make the difference between a day filled with action and a day filled with more overthinking and stress.
It’s such a good idea to start your day with a journal. My clients who participate in my 12 Weeks to Transformation do this every morning, and it doesn’t have to take more than 30 seconds. At the beginning of each day, establish your priorities. A simple ‘To-Do’ list is a great way to do this! Write down everything you want to get done that day.
Writing down all the actions you want to take on a given day keeps you right on track! When you don’t have a solid list of things you are going to do, you end up going with the flow. You float through your day. Your day owns you more than you own your day!
Once you have your list of things to get done, pick something to do first, and resist the temptation to pick the easiest thing on the list. It’s easy to pick the low-hanging fruit, but always doing the most comfortable thing first sometimes doesn’t help you feel excited and motivated, and it can just get harder to keep working your way through your list.
Instead, knock out one thing that makes you proud of yourself first. If you prioritize the things that are sure to make you feel accomplished and proud, you’re so much more likely to keep taking action toward achieving your goals. Maybe for you, you wanted to meditate or learn to eat healthier foods. Do those things early in the day! Even if you meditate for just five minutes first thing in the morning or have a breakfast that aligns with your health goals, starting your day by taking action towards reaching your goals makes a strong impact.
But it’s not just about the start of your day; the way you end your day matters, too. At the end of each day — and seriously, this doesn’t need to take more than a few minutes — make time to reflect. Get your journal back out, and write down a few thoughts you had about your day. Ask yourself questions like, “What’s something that I did today to make progress toward my goals? What did I do today to improve myself?”
Taking a few moments before you go to bed to evaluate your day can help you figure out where you’re succeeding and where you need to do a little more work. Again, it doesn’t have to take a long time! Just writing down a few thoughts is fantastic. Journaling like this can help you reprioritize the goals you’ve set for yourself, and that goes a long way toward helping you get into action.
Small Deeds Done Are Better Than Great Deeds Planned
Okay, hopefully by now, you’re feeling a little more empowered! You know that you can choose to take action even if you feel afraid or unmotivated, and you know that having a concrete list of tasks, starting with an important one, and finishing your day with a little reflection is essential. But I have one more perspective I want you to keep in mind as you become a more action-oriented person, and I think it’s summed up well in this quote from Peter Marshall:
“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” – Peter Marshall
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned… What exactly does that mean? It means that it’s so much better to take some small action—any baby step toward your goal—is better than imagining really big and beautiful dreams for yourself that you never actually pursue.
So often we’re tempted to over-commit ourselves to some big goals, but we end up under-delivering when our goals become just too huge to accomplish all at once. Have you ever said, “I’m going to stop eating sugar!” only to give up on that goal the first time you have a stressful day and end up choosing to eat a big bowl of ice cream?
I know I have! Those of you who have followed this podcast for a while or who have read my book, Chasing Cupcakes, know that I have seriously struggled with my weight. For me, a big part of the problem was literally ice cream! I used to eat a pint almost every day. So I set myself the goal of eating healthier, and part of that goal was giving up eating that much ice cream.
But I had to take it in small steps. That meant that every time I had ice cream, I put the first few spoonfuls down the disposal. Was that a perfect solution? No, I was still eating a lot of ice cream. But was it an improvement? Heck yeah! Eating slightly less ice cream was better for me than eating the whole pint! Even though putting just a few spoonfuls down the drain doesn’t sound like a significant accomplishment, it made a big impact on me and my ability to lose weight and get healthy.
Here’s another example I like to use: Think about flossing. Maybe you’ve never had the habit of flossing your whole life, but you’ve set yourself a goal of getting in that habit, and you want to take action now. Start by setting yourself a tiny target and just floss one tooth. Maybe that’s what you write down in your journal: “I’m going to floss one tooth today.” Then you go to floss, floss one tooth, and then floss two or three more because it feels ridiculous just to floss one… and there you go. You’ve already over-delivered on your commitment! And even though flossing only a couple of teeth might sound silly, over time, it really will make an impact, and you’ll be in the habit of flossing every day!
So remember: When it comes to taking action to achieve your goals, it’s really not all or nothing. You don’t have to take all the action and lose 50 or 100 pounds or launch your podcast or totally give up sugar all right now! Those goals are way too big to accomplish all at once. Instead, celebrate the little 1% increments of change you’re able to make and be confident that the small improvements you make today will have a considerable impact on your future.
Are You Ready to Take Action?
Friends, I know what it’s like to feel fearful of taking action! I felt that fear through my personal life and my professional career, and it can be tough! But I am here today to tell you that you can do it. You can start taking small steps today to become a less thought-oriented and more action-oriented person. You can make progress toward your goals.
It sounds like a cliché, I know, but there is no limit to what you can accomplish if you set your priorities and start taking steps to reach your goals. I bet you’ll even surprise yourself with what you can do!
If you want some extra support, a little more coaching, and accountability, I want you to get on the waitlist for our next 12 Weeks of Transformation! In this program, I work with people in a much more personal and structured way to create change in their lives. We tackle our excuses head-on and find the core values that will motivate you to take action. If you’re not sure what to do next, I encourage you to check out 12 Weeks to Transformation and get on that waitlist!
I’d also love to connect with you via text! I send out text messages with my daily mindset upgrades and daily encouragement that we could all use during these uncertain times of COVID-19.
You can do this! You can become a person of action, and I am here to support you!
Becoming A Person of Action
- How you start the day matters – do something impactful early!
- Know what you want and be specific!
- Identify what is in the way & what you can do about it
- Remove the feeling from it
- Focus on the day you’re in!
- Stop thinking about what you can’t, won’t or aren’t ready to do
- Choose incremental improvements
- Put the past away
- Refuse to place blame
- Partner up
- Recognize a pattern of overthinking
- Have a mantra
- Surround yourself with doers