Wayne Ergle
on
August 11, 2023

How to Take Action in Life: 19 Simple Steps to Get Your Ass in Gear

Every individual has dreams—visions of what they want to achieve, places they aspire to reach, and goals they yearn to accomplish. Yet, a vast chasm often lies between the realm of our dreams and the reality of our actions.

Procrastination, doubt, and inertia can cloud the path forward. So, how do we bridge this gap? How do we move from the comfort of merely dreaming to the thrill of doing? In this article, we’ll uncover the invisible chains that hold us back and explore 19 ways to take action and change your life.

How to Take Action – Key Takeaways

  1. Understand the Barriers: Recognize the internal and external factors that deter us from taking action, from mental blocks like fear of failure to external distractions like social media.
  2. Embrace Discomfort: Growth often lies just outside our comfort zones. Embrace discomfort as a sign of progress.
  3. Small Steps Matter: Consistency in action can lead to monumental changes over time, even if the steps are small.
  4. Stay Connected and Accountable: Sharing goals and seeking feedback can offer motivation, guidance, and a sense of responsibility.
  5. Mindfulness and Reflection: Regularly take time to reflect, re-evaluate, and adjust your goals and strategies.
  6. Celebrate Every Win: Acknowledge and celebrate every achievement, fostering positivity and momentum.
  7. Continuous Learning: Commit to ongoing learning and adaptation, staying agile and informed in your journey.

How to Take Action: Seize the Moment and The Power to Take Action

Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming about your goals, only to snap back to reality and realize you’re still on the couch? You want to know how to take action and seize the moment, but the journey from dreaming to doing isn’t always straightforward.

Often, we procrastinate, overthink, and get trapped in a cycle of inaction. But knowing how to take action in life can be a game-changer. This article is your blueprint to start taking action and embracing the habit of turning your dreams into reality.

How to Take Action: The Invisible Chains – What’s Holding You Back?

A close up of thick, metal chains representing invisible chains that hold us back from taking action.

Imagine standing at the edge of a vast canyon, with your dreams on the far side. The chasm represents the barriers preventing you from reaching those dreams. You know you must cross, but what keeps you from achieving your dreams? Could it be unseen chains forged in the depths of your mind? Let’s begin our journey to learning how to take action by examining these chains and understanding why our thoughts sometimes become the heaviest weights.

How to Take Action: Mind Over Matter – Why Change Feels Daunting

A photorealistic portrayal of the vibrant human brain, delicately suspended in a translucent chamber filled with cerebrospinal fluid.

In the journey of self-improvement and learning how to take action, our mind is one of the earliest obstacles we encounter. As the epicenter of our thoughts, fears, and habits, the brain can be our staunchest ally and biggest detractor. While it’s wired to protect and comfort us, this design can also hold us back from taking action, embracing new challenges, and stepping outside our comfort zones. 

Biology vs. Ambition: The Brain’s Resistance to Change

Our brains are intricate, powerful organs designed over millennia to prioritize safety and survival. As a result, they’ve become wired to resist the unknown – including the unfamiliar terrains of change and action. This resistance isn’t just psychological; it’s biological. When we contemplate taking action, especially if it’s a significant departure from our routine or comfort zone, our brain perceives it as a potential threat. This perception releases stress hormones, making us anxious, apprehensive, or fearful.

Neural Pathways: The Comfort of Habit

Established neural pathways – think of them as well-trodden paths in our brain – reinforce habitual behaviors. These pathways become stronger and more dominant as we repeat a particular behavior, making it harder to change or take new actions. It’s like trying to create a new path in a dense forest; it requires consistent effort and action.

Embracing Change: Strategies for Growth

The preference for the status quo isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s our brain’s way of conserving energy and keeping us safe. But this protective mechanism can hinder us in our modern world, where change is often necessary for growth and achieving our dreams.

By recognizing these patterns, we can use strategies like visualization, setting SMART goals, and breaking big goals into smaller, manageable steps to coax our brain into seeing change as an exciting opportunity rather than a threat.

How to Take Action: Staring Down the Monster – Conquering Fear of Failure

Fear of failure is a formidable adversary, often lurking in the shadows of our ambitions. It whispers doubts, magnifies risks, and paints vivid images of disappointment, often leading to us never taking action. Yet, confronting this monster head-on is essential. Let’s look further into conquering failure.

The Shadows of Doubt

We’ve all been there: the pit in your stomach, the nagging voice in the back of your mind whispering about everything that could go wrong. Fear of failure, more than a fleeting emotion, often acts as a colossal barrier preventing many from taking action. Whether it’s the entrepreneur hesitant to launch their start-up or someone simply afraid to start a new hobby, the fear of not succeeding can be paralyzing.

A Universal Struggle

Failure, as daunting as it sounds, is a universal experience. Every innovator, leader, or achiever has faced setbacks. The difference lies not in the absence of failure but in the response to it. Instead of allowing fear to hold you back, view failure as a stepping stone, a learning opportunity on the path forward.

Reframing Failure: A New Perspective

Taking effective action means shifting our perspective on failure. It’s not a dead-end but rather a detour or a lesson. Reframing how we view setbacks and embracing a growth mindset can turn the fear of failure from a roadblock into a catalyst for growth and change.

How to Take Action: Seduced by Comfort – The Advertising Trap

In our modern era, advertising is omnipresent, painting idyllic pictures of comfort, luxury, and ease. These enticing visions can subtly shift our priorities, making the allure of comfort seem more attractive than the pursuit of achieving goals. 

The Lure of the Easy Life

Every day, we’re bombarded with images of comfort, luxury, and ease. Advertisements paint a compelling picture of the good life, where every need is met at the click of a button. While comfort’s nothing inherently wrong, the consistent portrayal of a hassle-free existence can subtly discourage us from taking action toward our goals. After all, why strive when everything you need seems to be right at your fingertips?

Consumerism vs. Action

The modern consumer landscape is designed to keep us wanting more, and this perpetual cycle of desire and acquisition can distract us from taking meaningful action in life. When our focus shifts to the next purchase or the next “must-have” item, we may overlook the more significant, long-term goals that enrich our lives.

Breaking Free from the Consumer Mindset

It’s essential to recognize the difference between momentary pleasure and lasting fulfillment. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the conveniences of modern life, we mustn’t let them deter us from the hard work and consistent action required to achieve our dreams. By setting clear goals, practicing mindfulness, and cultivating a habit of taking action, we can navigate the consumer landscape without getting lost in its allure.

How to Take Action: The Digital Mirage – Lost in Social Media’s Labyrinth

The words social media detox written on individual blocks on a white background. A phone charger cord that is not connected to a phone represents disconnecting from social media.

With its plethora of social media platforms, the digital age offers a double-edged sword. On one side, we’re gifted with global connections and instant communication. Conversely, we are entangled in a maze of endless scrolling, comparison traps, and fleeting digital gratification. This virtual labyrinth can divert us from real-world pursuits, making us prioritize online validation over genuine accomplishments. 

The Double-Edged Sword of Connection

Social media platforms have revolutionized how we connect, share, and communicate. They offer a window into the lives of friends, celebrities, and influencers from around the globe. But while they bring a world of information to our fingertips, they can also be a significant source of distraction, preventing us from taking action on our goals.

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

One of the more insidious effects of social media is the constant comparison it invites. Scrolling through curated highlights of other people’s lives can make us feel like we’re lagging, even if that’s far from the truth. This perceived inadequacy can lead to inaction, as we might think our efforts are too insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

The Time Drain Dilemma

It’s easy to lose track of time when scrolling through feeds, watching videos, or engaging with online content. What starts as a quick check can turn into hours lost. This time could be channeled into taking more effective action toward achieving our dreams.

Navigating the Digital Maze

It’s unrealistic and unnecessary to quit social media entirely for most people. Instead, focus on mindful consumption. Set designated times for checking your feeds, limit notifications, or even consider apps that track and limit your usage. Remember, social media is a tool. Like any tool, its positive or negative impact depends on how we use it.

How to Take Action: Igniting Change – Your Blueprint to Break Free

A set of rolled up blueprints representing how to take action.

Change is the lifeblood of growth, yet doubts, fears, and external pressures often obscure its path. Breaking free from these shackles requires more than desire—it demands a blueprint. A strategic plan that lights the way, offering actionable steps and a clear direction. With the right tools, mindset, and guidance, you can ignite the spark of change, transforming obstacles into stepping stones and aspirations into achievements.

How to Take Action: Embracing Discomfort – Growth’s Best Friend

The unfamiliar can be unsettling, even daunting. Yet, within these moments of discomfort, true growth is seeded. Embracing the unease, challenges, and uncertainties pushes us to evolve, adapt, and reach new heights. In the dance of personal development, discomfort isn’t the adversary; it’s the partner leading us toward our most transformative steps.

Venturing Beyond the Comfort Zone

Every significant achievement in history has involved stepping out of the comfort zone. Embracing discomfort is not about seeking out pain or hardship; it’s about recognizing that growth often requires us to venture into unfamiliar territory. It might feel uncomfortable when you start taking action, especially new or challenging ones. That’s okay. It’s a sign you’re growing.

The Temporary Nature of Discomfort

It’s essential to remember that discomfort is often temporary, while the benefits of taking action can last a lifetime. Over time, what once seemed daunting becomes the new norm, expanding your comfort zone and increasing your capacity for future challenges.

How to Take Action: Small Steps, Big Leaps – Starting Your Journey

Every monumental journey begins with a single, often unremarkable, step. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of our dreams, causing hesitation or even paralysis. No matter how modest, each small step builds upon the last, creating momentum that can lead to unexpected leaps forward. By focusing on the journey one step at a time, we pave the way for significant transformations in the long run.

The Power of Incremental Progress

While grand gestures and significant changes can be impactful, the small, consistent steps often lead to lasting transformation. Want to start a business? Begin with market research. Want to run a marathon? Start by jogging around your block. Every significant journey begins with a single step.

Celebrating Mini-Victories

Each step you take, no matter how small, is a victory. Celebrate these moments. They build confidence and momentum and reinforce the habit of taking action.

How to Take Action: Shift the Narrative – One Change at a Time

Sometimes the narrative can feel predefined in the story of our lives, leading us down paths of stagnation or predictability. Yet, the power to rewrite our story lies within. We can shift the narrative by introducing just one new habit, making a different choice, or viewing challenges from a fresh perspective. This approach emphasizes the potency of singular changes, highlighting that profound transformation doesn’t always require grand gestures but can be achieved one intentional change at a time.

Building Momentum

The journey to change doesn’t require a complete life overhaul overnight. Sometimes, introducing just one new habit or making one different choice can create positive change in your life.

The Compound Effect

Small changes, when consistent, can compound over time and lead to taking more action. This principle is not just about financial interest. It applies to skills, knowledge, and personal growth. A tiny positive shift, done consistently, can lead to significant transformation over time.

How to Take Action: Consistency is Key – The Power of Habit

Sporadic efforts can only take us so far in the quest for personal growth and achievement. The daily rituals, repeated actions, and unwavering dedication that compound over time, leading to lasting change. Habits, formed through consistent effort, become the backbone of our endeavors, streamlining our journey toward our goals. 

Crafting Daily Rituals

Developing a daily ritual or routine can be a foundation for consistent action. Whether setting aside time each morning to work on a project, meditating to clear your mind, or simply reviewing your goals, these rituals become anchors, ensuring you’re taking action every day.

Battling the Lulls

Every journey has its ups and downs. There will be days when motivation wanes, and taking action feels like an uphill battle. It’s on these days that the habit of consistency is crucial. Instead of relying solely on motivation, lean on discipline. Remember, the habit of taking action is like a muscle; the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

How to Take Action: The 7-Day Challenge – Kickstart Your Action Journey

Why Seven Days? A week is a manageable timeframe. It’s long enough to see the effects of taking action but short enough not to feel overwhelming. By committing to a 7-day challenge, you’re making a compact promise to yourself, and the short duration can create a sense of urgency and focus.

The Ripple Effect Imagine the potential transformation if you dedicate just one week to a specific goal or action. At the end of the week, not only will you have made significant progress, but you’ll also have built momentum that can carry you forward.

Suggested 7-Day Challenges:

  • Daily Journaling: Reflect and document your thoughts, feelings, and experiences daily.
  • Digital Detox: Limit or eliminate non-essential digital device usage.
  • Mindful Eating: Focus on every bite, savoring flavors, and eating without distractions.
  • Daily Gratitude: List three things you’re grateful for each morning or night.
  • Step Challenge: Aim for a specific number of steps daily, like 10,000.
  • Book Dive: Read daily for a set amount of time, finishing a book by the week’s end.
  • Skill Building: Dedicate time to learn something new, like a musical instrument or language.
  • Meditation Moments: Meditate for a specified duration each day.
  • Random Acts of Kindness: Perform one act of kindness daily.
  • Sleep Regulation: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Water Intake: Ensure you’re drinking a set amount of water daily.
  • No Spend Week: Challenge yourself not to spend any money except for essentials.
  • Daily Art: Create something daily, whether it’s a doodle, poem, or craft.
  • Fitness Focus: Commit to a daily exercise routine or go to the gym regularly.
  • Mindful Mornings: Start daily with a calming routine, avoiding the rush.

How to Take Action: Recharge, Don’t Burnout – The Importance of Breaks

In our relentless pursuit of goals, pushing ourselves to the limits is tempting, often at the expense of our well-being. But actual productivity isn’t about non-stop hustle; it’s about balance. Taking intentional breaks allows us to recharge mentally, emotionally, and physically. 

Balancing Action with Rest

Consistent action is vital, but so is rest. Recognizing when to push forward and when to step back and recharge is crucial. Just as athletes understand the importance of rest days for muscle recovery, we must realize that our minds and spirits also need time to rejuvenate.

Signs of Burnout

Feeling constantly drained, dreading tasks you once enjoyed, or feeling detached from your goals can be signs of burnout. It’s essential to listen to these signals and permit yourself to take a break. After all, taking action is a marathon, not a sprint.

How to Take Action: Visualize Success – The Power of Positive Imagery

A person stands confidently on the peak of a mountain, arms outstretched and face bathed in golden sunlight. The environment is one of majestic natural beauty, with a sprawling landscape of lush valleys and distant horizons.

The mind is a potent tool capable of shaping our reality. When we vividly imagine our successes, aspirations, and the journey to achieve them, we create a powerful internal compass that guides our actions. Positive imagery isn’t just about wishful thinking; it’s about mentally rehearsing our triumphs, feeling the emotions tied to those achievements, and setting the stage for real-world accomplishments. By visualizing success, we lay down the neural pathways that make turning our dreams into reality a tangible, achievable feat.

The Brain’s Remarkable Power

Our brains are incredible tools, capable of simulating experiences even before they happen. By visualizing our goals and the actions required to achieve them, we can mentally prepare ourselves for the journey ahead, making the actual steps more familiar and achievable.

How to Visualize Effectively

Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and vividly imagine achieving your goal. Feel the emotions, see the details, and hear the sounds. This isn’t just about the end result; visualize the steps you’re taking, the challenges you’re overcoming, and the progress you’re making. This practice can boost confidence, reduce anxiety, and clarify your goal’s path.

How to Take Action: Break It Down – Manageable Chunks and Milestones

Facing a grand vision or a colossal project can be daunting, often leading to paralysis by analysis. However, the secret to navigating these vast landscapes lies in breaking them into smaller, more digestible segments. By segmenting our journey into manageable chunks and setting clear milestones, we create an achievable roadmap, allowing for regular moments of celebration and reflection. This approach makes the process less overwhelming and offers frequent reassurance that we’re on the right track.

The Overwhelm of the Big Picture

While having a grand vision or a significant goal is commendable, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. The sheer magnitude of the task can lead to paralysis or procrastination.

The Power of Small Steps

It becomes less intimidating by breaking down a large goal into smaller, more manageable chunks or milestones. Each step becomes a mini-goal in itself, and with each achievement, you’re making progress and building confidence and momentum.

How to Take Action: Stay Accountable – The Role of Community and Partnerships

Navigating the path to our goals can sometimes feel like a solitary endeavor. But there’s unparalleled strength in numbers. Engaging with a community or forming partnerships introduces a level of accountability that can bolster our commitment and resolve. Sharing our aspirations, progress, and even setbacks with others creates a supportive ecosystem where encouragement, feedback, and shared experiences become invaluable assets. In this collective journey, accountability isn’t just about responsibility; it’s about fostering connections that elevate our pursuits.

You’re Not Alone

Remember, the journey of taking action doesn’t have to be a solitary one. Sharing your goals with friends and family or joining a community with similar objectives can provide encouragement, guidance, and accountability.

The Benefit of Accountability Partners

An accountability partner knows your goals and checks in with you regularly. They celebrate your successes, offer support during challenges, and gently nudge you back on track if you drift. Having someone to answer to can be a powerful motivator to keep taking action.

How to Take Action: 19 Simple Steps to Start Taking Action

While understanding the barriers and strategies to overcome them lays the foundation for our journey, the real magic happens when we apply actionable steps in our daily lives.

These practical tips serve as a compass, guiding us toward consistent action, momentum, and achievement. Let’s explore engaging ways to propel forward and make our aspirations a reality.

  1. Set Clear, SMART Goals: Ensure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
  2. Commit Publicly: Share your goals with friends and family or on social media.
  3. Ditch the Snooze: Start your day with intention, setting the tone for proactive action.
  4. Vision Board Magic: Create and refer to a vision board daily to keep your goals visible and inspiring.
  5. Power Hour: Dedicate an uninterrupted hour daily to work solely on your dream.
  6. Tech Timeout: Regularly unplug from digital distractions to gain clarity and focus.
  7. Move to Motivate: Use physical activity as a mental booster, energizing you for action.
  8. Book a Date with Yourself: Set aside regular self-reflection sessions to evaluate and recalibrate.
  9. No to Negativity: Actively limit exposure to pessimistic influences that can derail your motivation.
  10. Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate every achievement, regardless of size.
  11. Buddy Up: Partner with someone who can hold you accountable and motivate you.
  12. Learning Lane: Commit to continuous education related to your goals.
  13. Inspiration Injection: Regularly consume content that motivates and invigorates you.
  14. Fear-Setting: Confront and address your fears head-on, understanding their root and devising strategies to overcome them.
  15. Golden Gratitude: Cultivate a daily gratitude practice, recognizing the positives in your journey.
  16. Change of Scenery: Occasionally shift your environment to stimulate creativity and gain fresh perspectives.
  17. Dream Diary: Maintain a journal documenting your aspirations, progress, and reflections.
  18. Mindful Moments: Integrate mindfulness or meditation to maintain mental clarity and focus.
  19. Feedback is Fuel: Actively seek constructive criticism, viewing it as a tool for growth and refinement.

Wrapping Up: How to Take Action

The age-old adage, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” rings truer than ever in our modern world. Amidst the noise, distractions, and challenges of our digital age, taking consistent, intentional action becomes a beacon of change, growth, and fulfillment. By understanding the barriers that hold us back and equipping ourselves with actionable strategies and habits, we empower ourselves to turn our dreams into reality, one step at a time. Remember, it’s not just about the destination but the journey, the learnings, and the transformation that occurs along the way.

FAQs

Why is taking action in your life essential?

Taking action is the bridge between our dreams and reality. Without taking action, our aspirations remain just that—dreams. By taking the steps necessary, we turn those dreams into tangible outcomes. Moreover, taking action in life often leads to personal growth, stronger relationships, and a deeper understanding of our capabilities.

I often struggle to take action. What can I do?

It’s not always easy to start taking action, especially when faced with challenges or the unknown. However, you’re more likely to take action if you break tasks down into manageable steps, set clear goals using SMART goals criteria, and visualize the bigger picture of your goals. Remember, it’s essential to believe in yourself and recognize that every journey begins with a single step.

How can I ensure I continue taking action?

Consistency is critical. Set an action plan and stick to it. If you find yourself in inaction or overthinking, take a break. Reflect on what’s holding you back, and enthusiastically tackle the next task. Remember, it’s easier to take action when you’ve made the first move. Momentum is a powerful force; you’ll find it harder to stop once you start.

Are there simple ways to motivate myself?

Absolutely! Start with simple habits or actions that resonate with you. These could be as straightforward as maintaining a to-do list, dedicating time to work on your goals daily, or even creating a vision board to visualize your aspirations. Also, don’t underestimate the power of celebrating small wins—it can keep you going, especially when the journey gets tough.

I often feel overwhelmed. How can I manage this?

Feeling overwhelmed is natural, especially when changing or tackling big goals. It’s essential to remember that you don’t have to change everything at once. Instead of getting bogged down by the enormity of a task, break your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. This approach makes it easier to know where to start and can help you stay on track. And, if you ever feel like you’re veering off course, remember why you wanted to take action in the first place—it can be the motivation you need to get back on track.

Wayne Ergle

Wayne firmly believes that each of us possesses extraordinary gifts and talents, just waiting to be unleashed upon the world. But life's hurdles often obstruct our path to greatness. That's why he birthed Be Your Own Invention – to ignite the flames of motivation in everyone's transformation journey. Wayne’s transformation story includes conquering a 20-year battle with severe alcohol addiction, emerging triumphant and sober since 2018.