How to Act Now (and Build Momentum) to Improve Your Life

Share with your friend!

act now

The best time to act was yesterday.

The next best time to start is now!

Whatever you are planning, if you are serious about it take the first step immediately.

Many people have plans like getting fit, write a blog post, start a business, learn Chinese, etc. These are end results that you think you want to achieve. The final result seems distant and huge, and your brain tells you:

“No, no. I’ll deal with this small matter first, then after everything is out of the way I will victoriously tackle the GOAL”.

Procrastination!

We all procrastinate. We’re all looking for ways to beat procrastination. I know, I have procrastinated on some projects for years. As a result, I feel so stupid, it’s so embarrassing.

Here’s an image of hours worked on a project that could have been completed in about 300 hours.

masterclass in procrastination

Next, I will give you the steps, that help me to be more productive and get things done.

1. Why act now?

First, understand the reason why you have to do the task at all:

  • Write a blog post to get more visibility,
  • get fit to have more energy,
  • start a business to achieve financial freedom,
  • learn Chinese to do business in the most populous market in the world.
  • or whatever else you want to accomplish.

List the actual benefits of completing the task.

This is the motivation why you want to do it. Thinking about the task and effort you need to put in just frightens you and makes you procrastinate. Moreover, set SMART goals to motivate you.

Next step: Write down your reasons why you want it. Break the goal into small enough tasks that you can do them even when you don’t feel like it.

act now quote Franklin

Well done is better than well said. ~ Benjamin Franklin

2. First step or next step

Now, describe the first step. What is the first thing you have to do to get moving?

Even before creating a whole plan for your activities figure out the first step and do it.

Act NOW!

You have plenty of time to get the details right later but now go. In the book Losing My Virginity Richard Branson writes that when he had an idea to start an airline, he called Boeing to find out how much would it cost to lease a plane.

Read next:  30 Ways How to Improve Your Life, Get Results, Be Happier

Your ambition may not be to start an airline but act now.

Or maybe you have already taken the first step, but you got distracted and didn’t follow through.

No problem!

Forgive yourself and take the next step towards your goals.

Next step: Write down the thing that you are going to do right now.

3. Go!

Third, take the first step. The step you take can be something really simple.

Spend at least 10 minutes on your first step. If you can, spend more than 10 minutes, but get going and get the first result.

  • For a blog post, the first step might be to write an outline.
  • If you want to get fit, go out for a walk right now (stop reading and go).
  • If you want to start a business, list the reasons why people want to buy what you offer.
  • If you want to learn Chinese, learn the 10 most commonly used phrases online.

 Above all, do something that has a tangible result. For instance, in the case above, the outline of a blog post, 20 minutes of walking, a list of reasons why people should buy, 10 Chinese phrases.

picasso quote act now

Action is the foundational key to all success. ~ Pablo Picasso

By acting right now you will get momentum.

You have already started.

You have a feel for it.

At the end of the first step, make sure you know what the next step is. Make a decision to take that next step within 24 hours to keep the momentum going.

Next step: Do the first, smallest thing that gets you moving in the right direction. Take at least 10 minutes and do it now.

4. Grind

Fourth, commit to keeping at it. The point of immediate action is to get going. To keep going you have to commit to some action every day.

Take really small steps if you have to but do it every single day.

  • One pushup
  • One sentence
  • One idea
  • One of anything tangible.

Relentless grinding transforms the actions you have to take into a routine habit. When you have a habit, you don’t have to think about it. It’s just something you do every day.

Over time you will be able to work longer on the tasks you want to get done. You will reach the point where doing your tasks is just like brushing teeth. You don’t think “OMG! Not brushing teeth, again! When will it end!”, you just brush your teeth more or less automatically and move on with your day.

Read next:  Stop Your Negative Self-Talk [in 4 Easy Steps]

Take a wall calendar and cross off the day after you are done with the task for that day. Make an unbroken chain of crosses. Every day, no breaks and the momentum will carry you through.

Schedule some minor tasks even for weekends. 10 to 15 minutes to make a little progress so you can cross off the day. Do one thing at the time.

Take action every day!

Next step: Write down the smallest task you can do daily. Grind it! Always try to do multiples of the task but always do the minimum.

 act now quote Robbins

The path to success is to take massive, determined actions. ―Tony Robbins

10 minutes at anything should get you going, and then you can use the technique I learned from Steven Pinker.

Just 5 more!

When you are close to finishing or feel tired then decide to do just five more. Five more items, five more minutes of what you are doing.

When you keep stretching yourself in this way, you will grow.

There may be times when you skip a day. Forgive yourself and continue on the next day. Always try not to skip two days in a row. Skipping two days dramatically increases the probability of quitting on your goal.

A word of warning

If you commit to your tasks and want to build the momentum every day, then you have to select your goals carefully.

First, just take one big thing you want to accomplish.

Trying to do too many things at once will deplete your willpower. After that, you’ll find out that there are not enough hours in the day.

You may add another goal after you have reached the point when working at the first goal has become a routine.

The steps are always

  1. Why do you want it?
  2. Break it into manageable daily tasks
  3. Do the first task immediately
  4. Grind! Daily! Until automatic.

Now, select a goal you want to reach. Determine the first step and act now!

______________________________
Image: Hammer Series I by Sergio Iann
Image: Pablo Picasso – Interior with a Girl Drawing by Tony Hisgett

Share with your friend!

Priit Kallas

Founder of FixWillpower.com. I created FixWillpower to help you reach your goals. I have struggled my entire life to be consistent and avoid procrastination. The goal is to have a good life, do the things you love and get your results with minimum effort. FixWillpower website is about how I create motivation and productivity in my life. I write about the tools and techniques, best books, scientific research, and everything else that helps you move faster and stay on track. Minimum effort doesn’t mean slacking off. Minimum effort is about effectiveness and productivity. If there is a way to reach a goal in a shorter time or with less exertion, then you should use that. I will help you be smarter and reach goals faster. About FixWillpower

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. August 1, 2013

    […] is that you have to be lucky to get a great career. So, you will stand around hoping to get lucky. Act now! A year from now you will be sorry you didn’t start a year […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

shares

Get the latest research on how to improve yourself and reach your goals:

Research and ideas on how to build your willpower, motivation, and habits when you need it.

You have Successfully Subscribed!