6 Simples Ways to Take Action Today to Achieve Your Goals
Last Update: Jul 29, 2016
6 Simples Ways to Take Action Today to Achieve Your Goals
Usually it is the simple things in life that have the biggest impact. If you want to change your life and achieve success in reaching your goals, start with a few simple actions today. Remember, it is always taking action that is key. Don’t get overwhelmed by grandiose plans and lose your motivation to even begin. Start with the following 6 simple action steps to put you on the road to achieving your goals.
- Pick one thing. Whatever your goal is, pick just ONE quantifiable thing you can do today to push you toward reaching your goal. A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. Don’t get overwhelmed making a list of 50 things you need to do to change your life, and then feel guilty when you don’t do 45 of them. That’s a surefire way to lose your motivation. If you are trying to begin living a new healthier lifestyle, then make your goal for today something as simple as, “I will walk 2 miles after work at 7pm” (see below for why putting an exact time to it is important). Once you have mastered just that one thing and incorporated it into your life, then add another. Then another. Pretty soon you will have ten actionable steps you have taken towards reaching your goal. In a sense, you are doing the reverse of what you are usually told to do. Instead of making a long list and failing to get to half of them and then feeling like crap for failing, you are starting at zero and adding one positive thing at a time to move you toward reaching your goal. You will be far more motivated and successful focusing on the things you DID do. If you really want to feel empowered and motivated, keep a list and write down each new step you have taken toward reaching your goals and watch that list grow.
- Write it in your Calendar. Attaching a date and a time to something makes it feel more like an appointment, and less like a wish list. According to several scientific studies, you are also more likely to do a thing if it is attached to a particular time and place, regardless of your level of motivation. Pick a single quantifiable action that you need to accomplish to reach your goals and put it in your calendar. For instance, don’t tell yourself, “I will walk 2 miles tomorrow.” Instead, put it in your calendar, “ Wednesday, April 7th, 7PM – Walk 2 Miles.” Setting an alarm is even better. “Tomorrow” is not on any calendar and it never seems to come, but April 7th at 7:00PM definitely will. Do this for all important action steps you must take and keep to your appointments!
- 15 Minutes of Solitude. I don’t care who you are, everyone has 15 spare minutes in their day. Even the President of the United States. These 15 minutes are the most vital minutes of your entire day, but most people don’t take advantage of them. I’m talking about 15 minutes of solitude, alone without noise or distractions (no cell phone, no computer, no screaming kids, etc.) to contemplate what you want to accomplish with your day, to plan, or brainstorm on how you are going to solve a current problem or reach a particular goal. If you are into meditation or affirmations, then do that. Ideally, do this in the morning before you start your day, but it could also be 15 minutes at lunch, or at night before bed. Today we are constantly bombarded by noise and distractions 24/7 and it’s nearly impossible to find solitude, but a few moments of solitude is vital to the human psyche. Make it part of your routine. Take your morning coffee outside to your patio and enjoy the quiet while you contemplate and plan your day. Take a notepad with you and jot down your thoughts and ideas. I’ve had some of my best ideas pop into my head when I wasn’t even thinking of anything in particular but just enjoying a moment of peace and quiet. If you are seriously having trouble finding 15 minutes of alone time during your day, then try taking 15 minutes of silence without the radio on your drive to work or drive home. Just please make sure you pay attention to your driving as well! Or, if you get really desperate, do what my father did when he needed a few minutes of alone time with four boys constantly running around the house. He would lock himself in the bathroom with a newspaper. My brothers used to joke that he was “in his office,” but hey, it worked for him and probably kept him sane all those years.
- Ignore the Urge for Immediate Gratification. Stop letting immediate gratification run your life and focus on the long term goal. Most of us don’t even realize it, but we let our addiction to immediate gratification control our lives. Decisions made in an instant based upon a strong desire for immediate gratification are usually bad decisions we soon regret. Be acutely aware and force yourself to focus on the long term goal, not the immediate gratification. Spending money gives you immediate gratification, saving money gives you long term gratification. Eating gives you immediate gratification, exercising and a healthy lifestyle gives you long term gratification. Sex gives you short-term gratification (even shorter for some people…), but love gives you long term gratification. It’s easy to spot when you are being tempted by immediate gratification, because of the intensity of the desire. It is usually focused right in your gut like a burning hunger. Acknowledge and identify that hunger for what it is – a temporary feeling, then ignore it and immediately visualize your long term goal in its place. The desire for immediate gratification will go away in minutes if you ignore it. For instance, don’t focus on some expensive, fancy new gadget you desire but don’t really need, focus instead on the freedom and stress relief you will experience by paying off your credit card debt. You can spend an hour and a half at the gym exercising and ruin all that hard work in two minutes by scarfing down something like a piece of cake because you gave into the craving for immediate gratification. Don’t do it! When tempted by immediate gratification always turn your thoughts to your long term goals instead. With practice your addiction to immediate gratification can be beaten and you’ll be a better person for it.
- Change Up Your Routine. We all are guilty of letting ourselves fall into a rut. We have the same routine day after day: get up, eat breakfast, drive to work, work, lunch, work, drive home, dinner, TV, bed, repeat. That’s not living, that’s surviving. Choose to live your life on purpose, not by habit. Living your life by habit means just more of the same in an endless loop. If you want your life to change you have to change your life. Don’t keep your brain on autopilot. Even little things can have a big impact. Changing your routine by doing even things as simple as taking a different way to work, stopping at a new coffee shop in the morning, trying a new hobby, or attending an event you’d usually pass on can bring you new opportunities that would never be presented to you had you stuck to your same old routine. Most importantly, new experiences spark your brain to build new connections and increases your creativity in all areas. Never turn down a chance for new stimuli. In addition, life is funny and amazing. Sometimes when you least expect it you stumble upon a “lucky encounter.” One new contact or fortuitous meeting can completely change a person’s life and that’s only going to happen if you venture out of the safety of your little bubble and into a new domain. I have had random encounters with total strangers that ended up changing my life, and it never would have happened if I was following my normal routine. So, mix it up. Have fun and be open to experiencing something new every day.
- Morning Exercise. Yes, yes. I am stating what we all already know by now. Scientific studies have proven over and over again that daily exercise benefits your mind and body in innumerable ways, and this will lead to helping you to achieve your goals no matter what they may be. You cannot be your best if you do not feel your best. However, what I want to emphasize is that it is also important WHEN you do your exercise. I am a firm believer in doing exercise in the morning. First of all, the benefits gained from exercising in the morning last throughout your entire day. You have more energy, your metabolism is kicked into high gear, your brain functions at a higher level, and you are more focused and less stressed out when you exercise. Exercising in the morning also helps you sleep better at night (while exercise in the evening my actually give you insomnia). From a pragmatic standpoint, it is also better to exercise in the morning for another reason. Gym traffic. If you belong to a gym you know that the hours from 5-8pm are like a traffic jam on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. Instead of actually exercising, you spend the majority of your time watching other people exercise. It’s a complete waste of time. After 8pm, your chances of being motivated to exercise dwindle from slim to none. If you work for a living, that leaves the early morning hours. Think your morning routine is too busy? New studies have proven that you can get more benefit from doing high intensity exercise over a shorter period of time than you get from low intensity exercise over a longer period of time. In other words, working out hard for 30 minutes is better than working out at a slower place for 1 hour (or not at all…). Check out interval training if you want to make real strides in your stamina and fitness level. Not a morning person? You underestimate your own body. Your body can adjust to anything. You can reset your internal clock in a few weeks to adapt to getting up 30 minutes earlier if necessary in order to get in your daily exercise. The first week is the hardest, but if you suck it up and commit to it, your body will adjust and start waking up by itself at the earlier time. Lastly, if you get your exercise out of the way early in the day, at night when you get home from work you can focus on other important things like your family. Don’t make excuses or think you can skip exercise and still achieve your goals. The odds are very much stacked against you if you skip this crucial action step.
One of the many faults I have is...picking one thing and sticking to it...what you have just posted is fantastic and just like someone else who pointed me the direction of your post...I am going to print it out and stick it up on my wall...if I don't get some of these things sorted out fast I am will keep floundering and get nowhere! Thanks for this wonderful post!
Excellent advice Randy! If it weren't for making a short list of things to do each day, I'd never get anything done at all!
As for adding things to a calendar and a specific time that too is something that really helps so it doesn't get overlooked.
Thanks for sharing...it's a great reminder to myself. In fact, I better get back to doing what I was supposed to be doing, lol.
Best wishes :) ~Sherry
Thank you for that Sherry. Calendaring is super important. It's like setting your alarm to wake up to go to work. Even if you hate your job. Lol.
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:-)) thank you