Everyone has dreams and goals for where they want to be in the future. This could be anything from starting a business, going back to school or quitting your job to travel the world. But how many people actually take the necessary action to get those plans off the ground? Not many.
And it isn’t because people don’t have plans or lofty goals for themselves. Making plans and setting goals is the easy part of the process. The hard part comes in taking the necessary action to make those plans a reality.
Your Plans, Your Life
You should spend the least amount of time necessary to make your plans. While taking time to make good plans is important, any longer than needed just means you are putting everything off. Eventually you find that you never get around to actually doing them.
In most cases it’s better to do what you want as soon as possible. Always look for reasons to start something instead of how to push it into the future. Turning plans into action requires this imperative thinking so procrastination doesn’t sink in.
1. Find Meaningful Purpose and Motivation
If you can find enough motivation and passion for your plans, everything else becomes much easier. Examine the reasons behind what you want to do. Is this something you’re really passionate about? Why?
The more you understand the purpose behind your plans, the better. Finding the meaning behind your plans can tap into a powerful way to drive action. You’ll naturally become more motivated to take action if you can let the passion of what you’re doing come out.
But sometimes you might need a jump-start to get you going. One thing you can do is ask yourself, “Will you regret not doing your plans later in life when you’re too old to do it?” Personally speaking, this question has provided me with more motivation to take action than anything else.
If you need to, imagine an older version of yourself that didn’t even attempt your plans. Imagine the regret you have for missing out on those plans and use that as motivation to move forward.
2. Face Down Your Fears
Finding motivation and purpose is only the beginning. You also need to address the fears and doubts you possess about the course of action you want to take. These can be quite debilitating and create a serious roadblock to taking action.
You need to accept and acknowledge that any plans worth doing will be scary at first. Realize that you’ll never be able to get rid of fear completely; you can only control it. However, you can’t let fear stop you from doing what you want to do. Otherwise you’re not really making the decisions for your life – your fear is.
It’s important to understand one thing about fear: It’s always worse in your head. What you imagine happening is never as bad as what it actually turns out to be in real life.
Plus, having fear is a sign that you’re heading in the right direction. You’re breaking out of your comfort zone and trying to make a better life. This is always something that will be scary. Make it a habit of running towards things that scare you instead of running away.
3. Take the First Step and Don’t Look Back
The first step towards your dreams is always the hardest, but it is also the most important. It’s the moment where you’ve built up enough drive and motivation and controlled enough of your fear. This is the crucial point where you stop making plans and actually put things into practice.
It’s important how you make the first step. If it is too small a step, you give yourself too much room to pull out. You’re not really investing enough of yourself into it. It’s like putting your toe into a swimming pool as a first step to learning how to swim. It’s something you can easily pull back from and quit. It’s often best to not give yourself such an easy exit.
For example, several years ago I moved to a new city without a job or means of income. But I knew it was where I wanted to live so I made the jump and forced myself to make my way. Without an easy exit, I found the motivation to succeed. And I found a job just a few days after signing the lease.
While I don’t really recommend burning bridges to your past, I still think any plan worth doing should be something you invest in completely. Having an easy exit you can do at any moment will just be too tempting to take when things get rough. Have faith that things will work out for you and just do it.
Jump Into Action
Taking time to fully make plans about your future is important and you should always think things through as thoroughly as possible. However, too much planning can be a bad thing when it prevents you from actually taking action.
Remember that plans are only as good as the action you take on them. The sooner you take that first step towards your goals and dreams, the sooner you can make them a reality. Taking action is the basis for what living a great life is all about. After all, you don’t want to be someone who later in life thinks back and wonders what might have been.
photo credit: travelingtamas