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The Green Bay Packers never lost a football game. They just ran out of time.
-- Vince Lombardi


Daily Motivator Special Feature

Get yourself to take action

by Ralph Marston

How do you get yourself to take action now? Here are some powerful suggestions.

Focus intensely on the positive things that your action will accomplish. In your mind, visualize in great detail and richness what your actions will bring you. Whether it’s something you’re seeking to accomplish, or something you’re seeking to be rid of, visualize exactly how your life will be after the work is done. The more intensely you can imagine it, the better.

Focus on the negative things that will happen if you don’t take action. The only real reason you have for avoiding action is because you associate some kind of pain or discomfort with it. Even though taking that action could eventually bring you much pleasure and fulfillment, your desire to avoid near-term pain or discomfort can often be even stronger than your desire to create something pleasurable and fulfilling in the long term. The way around that dynamic is to associate something even more painful with not taking action. Instead of focusing on the relatively minor pain of taking action, focus instead on some major pain of not taking action (such as lifelong regret, for example).

Lay all your excuses out on the table and deal with them. Think of all the reasons you can come up with to not take action, and then destroy all those reasons with a single word. What’s that word? “But.” It is an enormously powerful word that you can use to obliterate every excuse you can come up with. Simply state the excuse, put the word “but” after it, and then finish the sentence.  For example, “I’m too tired to work on this tonight, BUT it will make a big positive difference in my presentation.” The word “but” will absolutely negate anything that comes before it. “I’ve never done this before, BUT I can learn.” Stick the word “but” in there and challenge yourself to finish the sentence. Go through each and every excuse, and rid yourself of them once and for all.

Fully feel your frustration with the way things are. Use the energy of that frustration to get you moving and to get you taking action to make things better. Frustration is your way of telling yourself, in no uncertain terms, that some changes must be made, that some kind of action must be taken. Unfortunately, frustration can be so painful that when you feel it you start looking for other places to direct your focus. You might complain for a few minutes (or hours, or days) and then move on to something else, without really resolving the issue. Yet just imagine what would happen if you were to dive completely into your frustration and feel it with your entire being. Consider letting that frustration run its whole course in your awareness, while you’re listening intently to everything it has to say. Even the most negative-feeling frustration can bring you powerful positive motivation. So feel that frustration fully, and let it compel you to immediately take positive, effective action.

Take the first small step. Don’t even concern yourself with committing to the whole project or course of action. Just do something very easy and very small. The point is to get a little momentum started. If you’re going to clean out your garage, for example, find one little thing that you can throw in the trash, and then do it. Once you take that small action, let yourself fully enjoy how great it feels. Then climb aboard the momentum train and let it help you keep the effort going.

Make it fun. Think of something that you consider to be fun. Does anyone have to talk you into doing it? Of course not. If it’s fun, then by very definition it’s something you would do without any coaxing. Realize that just about anything can be fun if you’ll think of it as fun and enjoyable. Find a way to make something fun, and not only will you want to do it; you’ll also be better at it. The best players enjoy the game. The best musicians have a love for music. The highest achievers enjoy the achievement. Do you detect a pattern here? Whatever you must do to achieve success, find a way to enjoy it. You can either do what you love, or love what you do. It doesn’t matter which. What matters is the “do” part. Taking the action is what brings success. Yes, you can struggle against your own desires, be miserable, and eventually accomplish your goal. But why? You’ll be far more effective and consistently successful when you enjoy doing the things that bring you success.

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