I recently wrote on the topic of goals verses standards. How are you doing? It’s entirely possible the fizzle of excitement has faded. And, it’s completely normal. Achieving your goals and standards takes time, dedication, and discipline. Let’s bring back that excitement and get your goals to the forefront.
Applying the 80/20 Rule
Merriam-Webster defines action as the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition. Ladies, this is the key to your success. By doing the action you are working towards over a length of time, it will inevitably result in a new outcome. Achieving your goals and defining your standards takes time. I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this statement.
Results happen when you take action. You’re going to learn so much more by doing. It’s striking the balance of what you’ve learned and putting it to use. After you’ve read an inspiring book, watched a motivational video, attended a powerful seminar, or picked up great piece of advice, apply it. The 80/20 rule applies with action, too. 80% of your time should be spent taking action, and 20% learning.
Let’s talk for a bit about what taking action looks like.
When it comes to action steps, the phrase “it’s easy to do, yet easy not to do” really resonates with me. For example, let’s say your new standard is to get healthy and stay active in 2018. In order to do this, you plan to eat more healthy foods, and eat them more often this year. Eating a grilled chicken breast is easy to do, but it is also easy to enjoy a cheeseburger and fries with your friends on Friday night. You know the cheeseburger won’t make you unhealthy, but it is likely to lead to other similar choices and ultimately doesn’t help reach your goal. If you’ve identified that one or two treat meals is acceptable within your standards, then making the choice really comes down to action and defining your standards to achieve your goals.
Are you connecting this simple concept?
Many people are all or nothing with what they do. This often tends to lead to those people not achieving these goals. If we go back to the example above, eating healthy 100% of the time is almost impossible. Having a treat or indulging once in a while is normal! However, eating deep fried foods and an over-abundance of processed foods over whole, fresh foods will ultimately not lead you to achieve the goal. Clear your mentality of the all or nothing state or that you have to be perfect. Because in the end, the small, positive, consistent changes over time is what adds up to success.
Developing an Action Plan
Another way to identify where to take action is to ask yourself a series of questions. When you do this, journal them or share them with a friend. This helps you stay accountable. Below is an example of how a few simple questions can result in an action plan to meet your goals.
Question 1: What makes you happy?
Question 2: What stresses you out?
Here are my answers and how I put these into an action plan.
What makes me happy? Working out, reading, going for walks, time at the lake, move night with my family, getting a pedicure.
What stresses me out? Too many things on my schedule, falling behind on household chores, not getting enough sleep.
- Take 10 minutes each Sunday to schedule out the week
- Find three days to get in a 30-minute walk
- Read for 15-minutes each morning while enjoying my coffee
- Go to bed by 10 pm each night
- Find five days to get to the gym
- Plan a movie night with my family
Once you identify what makes you happy and what stresses you out, begin to make an action plan. The key is to do more of what makes you happy and less of what stresses you out.
Having a calendar and planning will assist you to being accountable. It has helped me to take time at the beginning of the week to plan. Find ways to be efficient with your time. Maybe one of your walks is while your child is at dance or baseball practice. The more repetition with your action plan, the better. And, it’s entirely OK for your action plan to change from week to week. The key is repetition. Once you have mastered one, add in another. Consider hiring a cleaning lady for household chores or delegating to others in your home. Plan your trip to the grocery store so you have treats for movie night. Do whatever you need to do by removing the obstacles and making a fool-proof plan. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You don’t have to have the perfect pretty planner. Write it down, reference, and execute. Hint: the action is in the doing :)
Becoming a Master of your Actions
If you’re anything like me, information overload is a real thing. It happens when you’ve learned so much you don’t even know where to start. I’ve found that it helps to learn in small doses, take action on what you’re learning, and integrate it into your life to become a master. Don’t just be the podcast junkie, be the master. Instead of being the spectator, get in the arena and play the game. That’s taking action!
Inspiration is everywhere. Many times, we look for a quote or someone to inspire us to find our motivation. But, this inspiration will only last for a short time. My challenge for you is to look within for your inspiration. Take small, positive actions to lead you to the results you desire. Because at the end of the day, if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.
This blog was inspired by the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. If this concept is of any interest, please add it to your must-read list!