Mel Robbins famously said in her Ted Talk How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over that you will rarely feel like doing what you need to do, to make improvements in your life, and create a life you love.
If you’re waiting for motivation to strike-you’re going to be waiting for a long time. It takes a lot of thought, energy, and momentum for us to get motivated to do things differently. And even when we are motivated and start to make a change, sustaining it is just as difficult. See my blog post on habits.
Mel has a five second rule to help push through a lack of motivation. The rule states that when you get an inkling of wanting to do something-do it within five seconds. If you don’t do something within five seconds of thinking you should do it, you probably won’t do it at all. You will lose your momentum.
It’s within those five seconds when you have momentum and can push yourself towards doing something, that you must act. You can’t talk yourself out of doing things within five seconds.
This includes things like getting out of bed when your alarm goes off, making a phone call that scares you, getting up and dancing at a wedding, conference, etc… (pre COVID of course), exercising, and anything else you need to do to make your life better, and more aligned with what you truly value.
Doing something within five seconds is a way of committing to doing what you need to do to create change in your life. One way you can do this and apply it to your long term goals-is when you have an idea regarding your long term goals- write it down, within five seconds of having it. On a post it note, on your Notes in your phone, anywhere you are able to write down your ideas, just write it down.
You will be amazed how many great ideas you have each day, just by taking note of them when you have them throughout the day!
Some people also have great ideas when they’re sleeping. So they keep a notebook by their bed to write in, so when they wake up in the middle of the night, with an idea-they simply write it down, and go back to sleep. Or, they may wake up in the morning with great ideas and have the notebook at their bedside, for the same reason.
I use the Notes feature on my phone to record my ideas throughout the day. Then later on in the day, I review my ideas, look at my calendar and set a time to work on them.
The ideas you choose to work on can be something that takes as little as 10 minutes to complete. Others you’ll need several consistent times to complete. What is essential is to time block them in your calendar and then do them!
Take Massive Imperfect Action
Some of the ideas you have may feel so out of reach, like they just aren’t possible, and you may not even know where to start with them. They may even create feelings of fear and self doubt.
These ideas are golden my friend. You want to hold onto them and within five seconds, start working on them. Whether it’s developing a plan and time blocks in your calendar to make that plan work, or creating something new and setting a deadline for yourself-you must do it NOW!
The reason you must start to create a plan now (or within 5 seconds of having these ideas) is because they are the ones that are going to help you achieve amazing things in your life. They will stretch you beyond your limits and show you that you are so much more capable of things than you ever imagined.
These ideas are Massive Ideas and they quickly create fantastic-positive changes in your life. They are ideas you want to put into action.
I have heard these ideas called many things from different coaches, but when you turn them into action, this is what my coach calls Massive Imperfect Action. And I LOVE this term. Why? Because of the imperfect part.
So often we have wonderful ideas and things we want to do, but perfection gets in the way. There’s an old saying “perfection is the enemy of progress” and it’s so true. It’s our commitment to wanting things to be a certain way that truly holds us back from taking action in our lives in small things, but especially in large important things.
That trip you started planning but aren’t sure all of your friends could make. That book you started to write, but then became overwhelmed by the process of it all. Considering having a baby, but you aren’t sure you are ready financially, emotionally, etc… for a baby. Retiring, but you aren’t sure you are financially ready to leave your job. Leaving a relationship because it no longer serves you or brings you happiness, but are afraid of being along. Changing careers because you want so much more than your current job offers, but are afraid that you aren’t qualified enough to switch careers. These are all massive actions in our lives, that we want to take-but because they’re massive, we have a certain idea of what it takes to do them.
Yet, it’s that perfection that gets in our way. Perfection keeps you from taking action at all. And what you’ll find and probably already know from experience is that no matter how much you plan-if you do take action, the process will go differently than you originally thought and planned anyways.
Why spend so much time and energy in the perfect plan, which will never be perfect? And, instead use that time and energy in the actual doing of your plan.
Start it today! Will you stumble? Yes. Will you fall? Possibly. Will you feel embarrassed, incompetent, ill equipped, scared, or frustrated? Yes, probably all of those feelings and more. So why do it?
Because you deserve more from your life. If there is an area where you aren’t happy, satisfied, or know you deserve better-it is going to take massive imperfect action to get you to where you want to be. Major shifts are scary and uncomfortable-but necessary for change to occur in your life.
In taking massive imperfect action, you will learn what you are made of. You will feel proud of yourself. Every baby step you take in the direction towards what you want, you will learn, you will grow, and you will have an excitement and energy you haven’t felt before.
When you take massive imperfect action-you are finally stepping into the life you have always wanted. People will show up along the way to help and guide you. Things will start to happen that seem like miracles but are merely signs that you’re headed in the right direction. And every step you take in your massive imperfect action-you will simply be amazed by how much happier you are. How your life has seemed to transform and just how much you learned about yourself.
My hope is that you will celebrate this moment, your growth, and then continue growing. That you’ll take what you learned from your massive imperfect action and that will propel you towards your next massive imperfect action.
So, today-think about something you’ve been putting off. Your own massive imperfect action. Set a deadline for when you want to achieve it and then get started on it. What is the first step you will take in that massive imperfect action today?
Decide on what you want, set a deadline for when you want to achieve it, and then start taking the steps necessary to create that change that you need to put your massive imperfect action in place. Take that first step today!
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