The best way to have the life you want is to take action, but unlike some other habits that are easy to build, taking consistent action on hard things can be tough. It’s much easier to make excuses and not get things done. And, it’s much more enjoyable to do nothing than it is to do something hard.
Because we tend to do what makes us feel good, making excuses and doing nothing wins out. As Tony Robbins puts it – the desire to avoid pain is a greater motivator than the desire to obtain pleasure. This is why kids put off cleaning the house when their parents are gone until the day their parents are going to be home. They would be grounded for not cleaning, so to avoid that pain they become motivated to clean.
In short, we are biologically wired to avoid pain. We will do whatever it takes to avoid it, including taking action on hard things if need be. So, to develop the action habit, we have to make not taking action more painful than taking action.
To do this, write down what you have to or want to take action on. These should be the tasks that will help you reach your goals in all areas of life, such as health, success, relationships, and spiritual well-being.
Your list may look like this:
– Exercise for 30 minutes daily
– Read one thing to further my knowledge about my business
– Wake up 30 minutes earlier
– Do one kind thing for someone else daily
– Work on writing three pages of my book daily
– Spend 2 hours per week working on my relationship
That list requires action. It’s obviously something that you want to work on that is different from what you are doing now, so you have to make not taking action on those things more painful than taking action.
On the same list, write down why it would be more painful for you to not to take action on those tasks.
– Exercise for 30 minutes daily: If I don’t do this, I’ll feel sluggish and unfit in life.
– Read one thing to further my knowledge about my business: If I don’t do this, I’ll be slowing down my success drastically.
– Wake up 30 minutes earlier: If I don’t do this, I will miss out on an extra 30 minutes per day (10,950 minutes per year) that I could put to good use.
– Do one kind thing for someone else daily: If I don’t do this, I will miss out on the only chance I have to make the world a better place daily.
– Work on writing three pages of my book daily: If I don’t do this, it will take a long time to finish my book and I may even give up on the dream.
– Spend 2 hours per week working on my relationship: If I don’t do this, my relationship will suffer and I may end up alone in the near future.
Make sure the reasons you give are actually painful to you. The more painful they feel, the more likely you will be to take action on your list without fail.
Now, make copies of your list and keep them where you need to take action: your office, the kitchen, the bedroom, or wherever. Make sure you are constantly reminding yourself of the pain that not taking action will bring, and you will find that the action habit becomes much easier to develop. Soon, the pleasure that comes from doing what you need to do will make the pain of not doing it very visible, and you will easily take action over doing nothing at all.