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Episode 194: Taking Action Today

Whatever your goals are it's fair to say that reaching them won't happen by accident or through luck.
Luck might have a small part to play. But what are the chances that it's the only part when compared to the effects of the deliberate action that you take yourself?
Deliberate action wins any day I'd say.
So to do that there are some basic principles that you might need to follow so as to help you on your way and they don't involve starting tomorrow. They involve the present moment, right now.

I often find that one of the biggest setbacks to achieving our goals is the lack of urgency. Now, I'm all for being chilled and taking things in your stride, after all too much anxiety isn't good. But neither is an attitude of "Oh I'll do it tomorrow."

Because when you look at your goals and your ambitions, the only day you actually have to do anything about them is today.
Yesterday's gone and tomorrow hasn't even happened yet, but here's why we get a problem.
As far as our instincts are concerned, the only place we have, when it comes to predicting the future, is the past.

So if yesterday was unproductive then our instincts will expect it for tomorrow too.

But if today is slightly better, then when today becomes tomorrow's yesterday it will help to create some optimism and positivity that the future will be productive.

But that starts today. It starts with realising that right now, there is no past and there is no future, there is only right now, there is only today.
If change needs to be made then whatever gets the ball rolling HAS to be done now rather than putting off until tomorrow. Whatever steps you need to take to be closer to your ambitions need to be taken today. No matter how small that step is.

It doesn't matter how long an old habit has been going on for, it doesn't matter how long you might have perceived yourself as useless or watched your life going in the wrong direction, you can start a new direction today. You can start a new habit today.

If you're not happy with a certain area of your life and you'd like to change it then you can start that happening today.
If you need to make a list of goals for the next 12 months then you can make that list today.
If you've been angry at someone for 20 years and are still holding a grudge for not being invited to someone's wedding in 2001! Then you can make the decision to let go of that today.

I'm not saying that these things can be DONE in a day, but the decision to make it happen can start not just today, but actually right now. Right this very second.

Do you know why?
Because it starts with a thought.

It continues with action, direction and repetition, but it starts with a thought.
When you simplify it like this then actually you can achieve absolutely anything that's within your capabilities, and it starts today.

But if it really is that easy then why are so many people struggling? Why are so many people saying that they want to change jobs, but then don't. Why do people say that they're unhappy in their relationship, but then don't do anything about it?

Because they have a desire but no action and no direction. Just a vague idea that they'll do it at "some point in the future" or "when the time is right".
But the future doesn't exist, so things need to be done today. After all, how do we know when the time is right? Is it because it feels right? That depends what feelings we're looking for because feeling comes AFTER action.

Emotions come out of habit, an unconscious expectation. So the only way to create unconscious expectation is with repetition, and that starts with action.
A single step in the right direction must come first, not feeling, but action, today.

If you're someone who puts everything off until tomorrow then you've got to get into the habit of taking advantage of the time you have today. That doesn't always mean finishing something today, but it does mean starting something today.

Getting the most out of today can give you some hope or optimism that you CAN achieve things. It helps create a feeling that the time IS right. So if you do that every day and discipline yourself to make each day count, then those lazy days don't become habit.
If, instead, what is consistent is action, no matter how small, then you're on the right track. But only having a daydream about doing something "one day" isn't enough.

In fact studies suggest that daydreaming about succeeding your goals has more potential to actually hold us back and prevent us from achieving our goals.
If you want to become slimmer, if you want to pass your driving test or finish a degree then spending time imagining the end result means, according to studies, that it is more likely you will NOT achieve your goal.
This is because the benefits of using your imagination don't come from imagining the end result, but from imagining the steps you need to take to make the end result happen.
The problem we have with our stupid brain is that if you imagine the end result it tricks your brain into thinking you've already achieved it and because of that it actually DEmotivates you to take the steps to make it happen. So focus on the steps instead.

So, what do you want to achieve in the next 5 years?
Do you want to learn how to make little ornamental puppies out of clay?
Do you want to learn French?
Do you want to learn how to engage more in social situations and learn confidence?

If you have something like this then ask yourself this question.

What are you going to do about it today?

Because how you spend your time today can seriously influence how your life ends up in the future.
Good luck.