"I know what I need to do, but I'm scared that I won't succeed." Who among us hasn't been stuck in this scenario before? We know what to do, but we don't put knowledge into action. The end result is the frustration of staying stuck in the current reality even though change is desired.
The outcome is usually determined by who wins the battle that rages within. It seems one part wants to get started and achieve the goal, while another part desires to stop, give up, or take it easy. An inner tug of war ensues between the two parts. Which side will win? Achieving success depends on not allowing these two parts to maintain a perpetual battle and keep you at a stalemate. Success can be realized by becoming conscious of these two opposing sides, and brining yourself into the playing field. You always have the choice of which side to nurture, cultivate, and strengthen.
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: "Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time." When asked which dog wins he reflected for a moment and replied, "The one I feed the most."
To become successful and move beyond maintaining status quo, check out the list below for some ideas on how to take action. Find the inner motivation that will enable you to conquer complacency and move forward. Even though change is difficult, it is absolutely possible.
1. FEAR - FALSE EMOTION APPEARING REAL.
It is normal that a part of you has fear that insists, perhaps rather loudly, not to get started. Avoiding being scared when creating change is unlikely. One lesson worth learning: Be scared . . . and do it anyway. It may be impossible to take a step without experiencing fear. What I'm trying to say is don't wait for the fear to leave before you take the action.
Listen to what fear has to say, find a way to soothe the part of you that has fear, and know that you are not your fear. Fear is something you created, perhaps unconsciously, to keep you safe. Since you've created it, and it is a part of you, it will say whatever is most effective to scare you off. Fear acts as an imaginary wall to keep you from moving forward. Since it's your wall, you can always find a way over, around, or through it. Take a deep breath, take some action, and the action itself will eventually dissipate the wall of fear. Action does not need to take place in the absence of fear.
2. THOUGHTS DETERMINE SUCCESS.
Earl Nightingale has a saying: "We become what we think about." So what do you think about? Are your thoughts more centered on fear of failure, or the joy of taking action? Thoughts have a powerful impact on our attitude, and our ability to get started.
Dr. James Prochaska in his book, "Changing For Good" lists the "idea" of change as one of the necessary precursor steps to taking action. In other words, ideas are the starting point. We have to have the idea about what we're going to do before we can actually do it. Ideas give us direction and insight. Next time the idea taking action pops into your head, don't be so quick to dismiss or belittle it. So often an idea comes to mind, perhaps about taking a walk or eating differently, but because we haven't acted upon it yet, we put ourselves down.
Be joyous the idea has sprung forth and find ways to cultivate it. Pronounce joy in the idea itself, instead of berating yourself for having the idea but not yet taking action. Cultivate the thought, celebrate the idea, and allow your life force to flow naturally.
3. START SMALL.
Sometimes we find ourselves hesitant to begin because we are overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies before us. The goal looks HUGE . . . so daunting and complex that we freeze up.
Yet it doesn't have to be like that. It helps to break down the goal into manageable pieces. You probably already do this in other successful areas of your business or personal life. You take something big, and chunk it down into bite sized pieces. Then you make a list of action steps, prioritize, and separate the "nice-to-have's" from the "need to have's". Then you work the first piece first, eventually moving on to the second, the third, and so on. Pretty soon that overwhelming task doesn't look so insurmountable any more.
Don't underestimate the power of baby steps. If 40 minutes of exercise five days a week seems absolutely impossible, how about five minutes today? Tomorrow will take care of itself. What action step can you take today?
4. CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE.
How long has it been since you've had your desired outcome in mind, but haven't moved forward? Maybe it's time to shake up your routine. Take a moment and notice the patterns of your day. Have they become predictable and dull? Now check out the goal you have in mind for yourself. Is there perhaps one step in your goal that sounds kind of fun, exciting, different? Not only could you begin taking action on something you've been wanting all along, but it could shake you out of a rut. Here's a couple of examples:
* Start your day with an inspirational quote along with your breakfast.
* Play upbeat, loud, dancing music in the morning.
* Have a pillow fight with your kids or partner to get yourself laughing.
* Take a different route to or from work.
* Before rushing out the door, take one minute for yourself. Sit down, close your eyes, relax your body for 60 seconds, and imagine yourself successfully accomplishing the first step of your goal.
List your own ideas:
5. REWARD YOURSELF.
One way to motivate yourself to do something when you don't feel like doing it is to offer yourself an incentive. For instance, if you eat one extra serving of vegetables today, you can allow yourself the luxury of sleeping in tomorrow morning. Maybe you'll buy that CD you've been wanting, or take a bubble bath, or get a pedicure.
Give yourself small rewards on a regular basis. It can do wonders for your motivation. Find ways to make the change you are creating as enjoyable as possible. No one is forcing you to change, it's something you've decided to do on your own. Why not make it as fun as possible? Rewards don't have to be big or expensive, they just have to be something meaningful to you. Make a list of delightful rewards and link them with your actions!
Your list of rewards:
6. CONNECT THE ACTION WITH PLEASURE NOT PAIN.
When we are finding ourselves lacking motivation, we are most likely associating the action with pain, rather than pleasure. For instance, when deciding to lose weight, you may be associating the experience with having to eat food you hate, feeling deprived, associating exercise with physical pain or embarrassment, and envisioning failure.
What you can do is remind yourself of the immediate and long term positive benefits. Make a written list of the instant and future payoffs to working on your goal. What will you gain by choosing to work on the goal? Work FOR what you want, not AGAINST what you don't want.
When fear or doubt begin to creep back in, remind yourself to stand strong in your decisions to have what you want. Create positive tapes to play for yourself to override the negative ones already there. Staying focused on the positive unleashes our internal motivating force and changes our attitude about the action we are considering.
7. ACT IS WHEN THE IDEA IS HOT AND THE EMOTION IS STRONG.
Eventually it's the right time to turn ideas into action. If ideas have been nutured and developed, you will know intuitively when it's time to begin. Be aware of when the idea has gained momentum. Notice when positive emotions are present and the idea is strong, clear, and powerful. Listen to your inner self and follow up immediately. If you hear about a motivational book that makes you curious, go out and buy it. Get the book before the idea passes, before the emotion gets cold. Begin the process. If five minutes of exercise sounds good right now, don't wait until tonight. Don't force yourself to do forty minutes. Climb on that treadmill and walk five minutes. Tell yourself you did a great job. Feel really good about listening to your inner self and following through. When the time is right, take action; otherwise the wisdom is wasted.
Give these ideas a try and see if you don't find yourself pushing through into action!
Copyright 2005, Dr. Annette Colby, all rights reserved.
Dr. Annette Colby, RD
Nutrition Therapist & Master Energy Healer
"Opening Creative Portals to Success"
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