We all have them. The items on the to-do list that never get crossed off. The weekend projects that never get done. The big long-term goals that never get started. Think about a particular task or goal that’s been on your radar a while and see if one of the below is a reason you’re not taking action.
1. Paralysis by Fear – Identify it, then get on with it
Fear is often apprehension of the unknown. If the action requires you to do something you haven’t done before, it may cause fear or anxiety about the projected outcome.
What if the results aren’t perfect, what if you fail, what if you succeed?
If you’re held back by fear, think of an example of something you’ve accomplished that involved a risk – or doing something new – that brought about positive results. Acknowledge your growth and achievement. But also acknowledge that this is proof of your capacity for success when you venture out of your comfort zone.
Equally, if you’ve ventured out and had less than positive results it is important to acknowledge that the world didn’t come to a halt, and most likely you gained invaluable experience and learnings.
>>Decide NOT to be held back by your fear and all the ‘what if”s’. Identify what the fear is about, make a plan and take steps no matter how small to get started.
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
2. Paralysis by Overwhelm – Break it Down
Sometimes the task is simply too big or too complex and we get bogged down by the enormity. We don’t know how to attack it or where to start. Instead we’re left stymied, making no progress at all.
If a task seems insurmountable, you’re probably looking at it as a ‘completed whole’ and wondering how on earth you’ll ever produce it.
Remember, nothing big happens overnight, but rather one step at a time. …We all know the saying about how to eat an elephant.
>>Decide that you will indeed eat the elephant and take the first step by breaking him down into a series of manageable bite-sized chews. Then plan the best way for you to continue action by scheduling it into your diary. Allocate a block of time daily or weekly, or plan to work on a small segment each day.
Monitor your progress, not how far you have to go. Don’t forget to celebrate the steps along the way.
3. It’s not Compelling Enough – Ditch it
If it’s not fear or overwhelm keeping you in your tracks, it may simply be that the task itself isn’t compelling enough for you.
Let’s face it, when something is really important to us, we make the effort to make it happen. So why do we keep stuff on our list that we never do anything about?
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of an old intention because we’ve formed an attachment to it: an obligation to fulfil it. We said we were going to do it, and to not do it may feel like a ‘fail’.
Don’t beat yourself up for not taking action on a goal that has been on your life’s to-do list. Acknowledge that priorities, circumstances and interests change over time. There’s more to do than time available, so if other interests are more exciting to you, it’s time to let go.
>>Decide that the task or goal is simply not compelling enough and give yourself permission to ditch it.
Not only will this release the obligation, but it will also allow you to better channel your focus and energy on goals that truly are compelling and worthwhile to you.
Note the common thread in each of the reasons above. To take any type of action, you must take a firm decision. Once you’ve decided, take action immediately with the next logical step.
A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action.
If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.
Are you ready to take action?