We just put March 4th in the books. It’s the only day of the year that gives a bold command, “March forth!” That’s right – Decisiveness! Action! Movement! Yet, it can be difficult to get going.
So why is it so hard to get active? A couple of struggles for me right now happen to be running and, believe it or not, a disorganized closet. Running came to an abrupt halt due to straining my peroneal tendon; my closet on the other hand is a result of late night after late night, this event and that, and hanging things all out of order. There are many examples that come to mind that overwhelm us and keep us from attacking with all of our energy and vigor: the overflowing closet, the recomendation letter promised to a business colleague, the home remodel, term paper, college, getting fit, etc. Things that are totally doable can feel so daunting!
Let’s focus on getting fit since it is so important to physical health. Did you know sound physical health beats financial security hands down when considering what constitutes true wealth ? I have been guilty of saying “no” to fitness because of saying “yes” to something else: longer hours at work, sleeping in, etc. Business coach, Andy Bailey, says not taking care of ourselves hurts not only us, but others as well, seeing as we are not performing optimally for them. He states, “The first step to taking care of yourself is recognizing that it needs to be done…don’t discount your own value…make a point of maintaining your own well being.” The days I’m active (workout, run, walk), I find more energy at work, and for the kids when I get home.
So how do you get active? First, believe! Believe your continuous efforts will count! Believe they will make a difference! Patience is a must. The 5 minute microwave meal has undermined a patient mindset; so has the time lapse of TV paid programs. Getting fit, achieving a goal, or making headway on a project will not happen overnight. You have to first believe that continuous effort will reap the reward, and then commit to never giving up no matter how small that action is! Remember, you can eat an elephant one bite at a time; and, as Lao Tzu is known to have profoundly said, “The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.” Believe in your actions and keep chugging like the little, blue engine!
After a firm belief is grasped, uncluttering must take place. This is where one must narrow what it is they will complete, or make a priority, and then focus on that! Have you ever gone through a day where you accomplished a ton of busy work – just not the priorities you really needed to complete that day? We all have countless things vying for our attention. Key: dump everything onto a yellow pad, or make a priority data dump note in Evernote. Now, pick two or three of the most important items and go to work on number one until complete, number two and so on. Focusing on two or three priorities will keep the important things at the forefront of our mind and it may be you have to say “no” to something in order to keep your commitment to accomplishing your priority.
Now that we’ve cleared the clutter, we find the golden nugget – start now! Do something right now to get you closer to your goal. It’s the “thrashing early” that Seth Godin talks about in his book Linchpin (4). This thrashing may be setting out your shoes or gym bag the night before so you’re that much more prepared for success. Listing what action items will accomplish a priorety and then starting! Yes, get started – Go! “Tim, I want to run a 5K but I’ve never run before.” Ok, for the next week, walk 1 mile after dinner, or in the morning, whatever works best, and then let’s talk. Too often – nothing. No action! I heard one business leader call it the paralysis of analysis. Sometimes, we over analyze and thus, stop dead in our tracks, not taking the needed action. I’ve begun this practice. Say, while in a meeting, an action item comes up, I will pause, pull out my iPad, and send the email, or schedule the event, or text and ask the client if I can call in a couple minutes. BAM! Ball rolling even before the meeting ended. Another practice as I make fitness a priorety is standing during a meeting instead of sitting. Just go ahead and stand up along a wall or someplace inconspicuous, and you can usually sneak some squats or calf raises in without disturbance 🙂 The more time we think about something, the more chance our brain has to build up fear about taking action. Simple things become mountains, and we sweat the small stuff. The fear our brain manufactures is what Zig Ziglar calls “false evidence appearing real – F.E.A.R.” Now sure, we should think through our actions, but what better time to start then when the subject is being discussed. There is a proverb that goes, “Talk of the lips tends only to poverty.” We have all heard that our actions speak louder than words. So, let’s believe, unclutter and get started!
The momentum we gain by consistent action is phenomenal! Run a short distance, or start hanging one piece of laundry at a time until that closet is organized. This morning, at Embassy Suites, I spent 15 mins lifting weights and then, since my foot is doing better (thanks to Target pharmacy’s Futuro ankle support), ran my first mile after a week of no running! It felt great! Live in your momentum! It’s amazing how good you feel after just a short walk, meditation or prayer with the songbirds before sunrise, 15 mins in the gym, or just high intensity running the soccer ball through the yard with the boys! Let that good feeling and momentum be your energy to carry you to believe, unclutter, and take the next action toward your goals!
I believe in you!