Action > Motivation
Updated: May 28
Another year, another resolution, another opportunity to better yourself.
This is the year you lose the beer belly, the year you get married, the year you drop toxic friendships, the year you start your own business, the year you quit smoking, the year you save more money than you make. Right?
So where does all the clarity and drive and focus evaporate to say, around mid March? Why do we go back to those unproductive patterns of the past after swearing we’ll change? In fact we not only go back to them, we embrace them with even more passion than the previous year!
Then we comfort ourselves with the notion that we’re not alone, everyone else has fallen back on their resolutions anyway, the economy is tough, God is still in control and hey, there’s always next year to look forward to. After all, we’re still alive and healthy and that’s a good thing, right?
Two words that keep us in that hamster wheel to nowhere: Comfort. Zone.
It was back in early 2011 that a single sentence from a podcast I was listening to awoke me from my comfort zone, ‘It’s the good things that prevent us from being GREAT!’..simple. Good house, car, family, job, salary, health…those are some of the good things can hold you back from making the changes that are paramount to taking you to the next level. See, when you’re good it’s all good. Going the extra mile isn’t pretty – it requires sacrifice and is always uncomfortable. So fueled by fear we justify our inactivity by asking, ‘Why rock the boat? Why wake up early, give up sugar, go on a diet, quit my job, move to another country, start writing that book….why do all that at the risk of disrupting the good I’ve already worked so hard to achieve? I’ll do all that soon, just not this year.’
Valid points. Stepping out is not for everyone.
The basic anatomy of procrastination in a nutshell looks something like this: Resolve, Inactivity, Fear, Justification and then Retreat. And then back to Resolve in 2018 and so on and so forth. It’s a never-ending cycle…the hamster wheel.
In a bid to understand my own failings regarding self improvement and resolutions I’ve read, interviewed and worked with a number of so called ‘super-achievers’, men and women who push the boundaries of spirit, mind, body, relationships and finance. I’ve realized they all have one thing in common, one thing that separates them from everyone else and ensures they achieve their goals no matter how crazy: ACTION.
The goal writing, the motivational memes and sayings, the sermons, the seminars, the trainings and clubs – all these things are good but in of themselves are an utter waste of time if you live there. They become that same thing you are trying desperately to get out of, they become : a comfort zone. Kind of like the Edward Norton cast character in Fight Club who seeks therapy in various self-help groups to deal with his personal demons only to become addicted to attending those same self help groups!
What I’m basically saying is that we have to move from being motivated to actually doing stuff. We have to put down the ear-phones, the phone, close the lap top and get out there and actually do something. Stuff happens when you stop thinking about something and actually start doing it for a change. So deceptively simple you’d miss it if you blinked.
Talk to that girl or boy, write that book, open that website, register that business, start that Facebook Ad, post that product on Instagram – whatever you do, just do it! There’s no amount of diary scribbling, kneeling down in prayer, coffee dates, Netflix series watching and positive meme postings that will get you to the place you need to be if you don’t marry those intentions with an actual action. Stop creating psychological safe houses aka comfort zones and start embracing discomfort. See, it’s only in challenges that we realize progress, only in obstacles that we realize opportunity. And please do not get motivated by this article if it will not move you to action otherwise it’s just a collection of hogwash fonts and indents.
‘But Jan, it’s all easier said than done! And what’s ‘action’ anyway? Can you break that down further?'
I though you’d never ask.
Here’s how ACTION, real action looks like. Understand this, utilize this and I assure you, you can be the best version of yourself. The beauty of taking action is that even in failure you never lose – there’s always a valuable lesson in self awareness that you take home :
Level 1: You ACT, you go out and do. There’s usually a level of disillusion here. It’s scary, fun, exhilarating even and yes, uncomfortable.
Level 2: Reality strikes. This is hard! You fail, it’s demoralizing, this is not fun anymore but you still CONTINUE TO ACT
Level 3: CONSISTENCY. Even when the results begin to show, you DON’T STOP ACTING. Its become a lifestyle now.
The majority of us drop out at Level 2, we deem failure as final. We fail to realize that the present has an illusion of permanency; we forget the challenge is a sign of progress not a death sentence to our dream. The blows get so hard we opt for the count-out so that we can go home to our pity party rather then get back up on the mat and tell our circumstances that they’ll need to punch harder than that to knock us out.
True, sometimes failure can be a sign that you really should stop doing that thing you’re doing but to that I’d ask, ‘Are you doing what you’re passionate about? What was your real motive to ACT?’ It’s not just blind action, motive totally matters.
Even when we do get to Level 3, the odds are still stacked against us. At the first sign of the beer belly ebbing we’ll go for the celebratory drink with the boys or girls and fall off that wagon yet again. From the get-go we need to accept and internalize that this game of action is not a note scribbled on a paper. It’s a head deep decision to transform ourselves from the inside out. It’s an obsession, almost religion-like. It’s all we have once we go that route. Failure to acknowledge this will have us procrastinating and going back to our runs on that hamster wheel.
So to round it off I must admit that this article is not for everyone. I get it. The most important thing any human being could hope for is peace of mind and if you’re at peace with your current situation irrespective of your station in life then good for you, there may be no need to push further.
But if you’re restless, losing sleep, if your dream is making you lose appetite and it cannot wait any longer to be unleashed upon this World then do us and yourself a favour and share with us some of that greatness, please? Your ideas have been held back too long. Step out, be gentle, don’t push yourself too hard but push yourself nonetheless. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
What are you waiting for?
Stop reading my articles and ACT