Action Second

My last post talked about the importance of having a heart, a reason, behind what you do. This becomes increasingly important if you want to make a habit. It’s perfectly possible to do something one or twice and not have a heart behind it. It seems this is fairly common in a lot of goals, especially fitness goals. People may want to lose weight, but only because they want to look better, not for the quality of life improvement or health benefits. You chose something based on what you think other people want to see from you or want you to do, not because you actually want it for yourself. You have to want it for yourself, or your attitude simply want be able to sustain the action. This is the “I can do anything for a month” kind of attitude. You don’t really have any skin in the game so, when it becomes too inconvenient or difficult, it’s easy to bail. This could also be called the New Years Resolution! Go a gym in January and then go to the same gym in February and you’ll get what I’m saying. A lot of people drop out.

So, I would propose that before anything can be accomplished, the actions themselves need to come second. Find a reason to do something and reexamine that reason often. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. One great way of doing that is the 5 Whys. Once you’ve decided why you’re doing it, though, make plans and set up structures around your life to actually do it. I’ve talked with a lot of people who have good reasons to do something and are reminded often, but they don’t actually take steps to accomplish the goal. For instance, I know a few people who are on perpetual diets, always working to lose weight, but never quite get the weight off that they’d like. It’s easy to fall off the wagon because the wagon doesn’t have any guides to keep them on. In this scenario, I’ve had to ask, “If you want to lose weight, why do you keep junk food around?” If you don’t have it around, it’s harder to eat.

Now, this is a very basic concept. You’re not reading anything groundbreaking here, I know. But I want to encourage you that if you have a goal, and a reason for your goal, to set up structures in your life to help you meet it. Your actions are fueled by your heart, but your heart sometimes needs help to make your actions catch up. Get a reason, then get a plan, then follow through. No amount of external prodding can make you want to do something and if you don’t want to do it, you probably won’t. You can’t run a marathon just by running for a month. It takes dedication and dedication needs a reason.

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What is a goal you’ve had and worked for? What things did you do to make sure you accomplished it?

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