I don’t know about you but I have an action-bias. Whatever happens in life – good, bad, indifferent – I feel the need to take action. Action moves me towards my goals, and it also helps me resolve my issues and challenges.
It’s not always a helpful response. Sometimes instead of having patience, pondering, reflecting and allowing things to unfold, I take “action”. I often do this (unconsciously) to avoid feeling my emotions – instead of allowing my feelings so I can process and learn from them! But I digress. Sort of.
This week’s article is about CONSCIOUS action. Planned and thought out action instead of reacting and avoiding the tough stuff as I (and perhaps we all!) tend to do. And if you take these two actions today, I guarantee you will feel brilliant – excited, proud and seeing the possibilities of your life!
So, in order to customise these actions to YOU personally, here’s what I’d like you to do:
- Quickly write a list of up to 10 things you NEED to do. Not “shoulds” and “ought tos”, but things that NEED doing, but for some reason you’ve been putting off. They can be big, small and tiny! Write as many as you can think of – but there should be at least 3.
WHY: When we find excuses to avoid doing what we need to we lose respect for ourselves AND give our inner critics more ammunition. We literally drain our energy and waste time every time we think about them.
Examples could include paying a bill, dealing with that email, writing the thank-you card, finally doing your computer back-up, buying a birthday gift, booking a dentist appointment or having that difficult conversation.
- Now quickly write a list of 10 things you WANT (to be/do or have) in your life. These can be big or small but should be fun, meaningful or creative – and you get excited when you think about them! What do you wistfully think about or wish you had the time for? Optional extra: Add a couple of “naughty” items – things that are out of character for you, but you keep thinking about…
WHY: When we take (positive) risks and action it builds our self-respect and self-esteem. Life can easily become routine and ensuring life is fun and enjoyable gives us energy. It also helps us be nicer to ourselves and others – and that spills over positively into other areas of our lives.
Examples could include a goal you have for this year, learning a new skill, something beautiful for your home, creating or finding romance, travel, having a massage, new haircut, going on a retreat.
- Now, look at your two lists – and choose/decide on one action for each list that you will do TODAY (remember you have the evening too).
The actions MUST be done today, so make the action smaller until it is something you CAN do today. Try asking, “What would be the first step I could take to move this forwards?”.
Examples could include search online for dance studios in the area and write down their phone numbers, talk to one travel agent, sign up for that course. Set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes – but DO something!
“Inspiration does not beget action. Action begets inspiration” Chinese Proverb
Each time we DO something, new opportunities and life-paths unfold. And when we do things consciously that make us feel good, we are creating a positive base for our life to grow from. When we do what MATTERS to us, we grow in self-respect, esteem and trust ourselves more, we grow in confidence.
NEXT STEPS: Either 1) Use the two lists you’ve written, and do one action from each list for a week! 2) Do this exercise once a week for 1-3 months.
Do this regularly and at the end of the week a month or quarter – see how much better you feel – and how much closer you are to the life you dream of…
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