Updated: Jul 27, 2019
Stop waiting. Start doing. It’s all too easy to tell ourselves that once we lose twenty pounds, we’ll be happy, or once we have more free time, we’ll start reading more, or once we’re on that new project at work and have shorter hours, we’ll start going back to the gym. We think we’re too busy now to do that thing we want to do, or we’ll be happy once we’ve done that thing, but we haven’t even started working on it.
News Flash: You’ll always be busy. Or you’ll be tired. Or someone else will need your time. Or you’ll feel like you don’t have enough knowledge or skill to start. Something always comes up. There is no perfect time. There is always something you can use as a reason not to start. If you’re looking for a reason not to be happy now, you’ll find it.
Find happiness now, not when X happens. Chances are, if/when X happens, you’ll immediately find a new thing that you want to fix, change, or improve, and that will become the new X holding you back from happiness.
Work on X, but also find happiness now. X may be a source of negativity, but you can’t let it hold you down. Practice gratitude. Go out of your way to notice the positive things in your life. Continuing to work on whatever is bringing you down will also bring you happiness. But you can’t wait. Happiness is a choice.
Take action now. I cannot tell you how tired I am of people telling me they don’t have time. You do. If you have time to take twenty minute showers, or watch Netflix, or stay in bed scrolling on your phone, or wander around the grocery store and look at whatever catches your eye, you have time.
We all have the exact same 24 hours every day. All those people you see getting more done than you are? They have the exact same amount of time that you do. We all have 24 hours in a day. You have time. Manage it. Schedule it. You have way more time than you think you do. Never tell me that you don’t have time.
Less thinking. More doing. I’ve made enough big decisions and done enough scary things in my life that I can tell you that more thinking will not tell you anything you don’t already know. Clarity comes from action. You can weigh the pros and cons, journal it out, talk through it with friends, sleep on it, and research until you’re blue in the face, and you will still learn more from just doing it than you learned from all of that. Every single time.
Find a way to do it. Do something. Do anything. Take the first step. You probably aren’t quite sure how and feel like you’re missing some information. That’s true, but that literally does not matter. Perfection isn’t even possible, and that first step will bring you more clarity than a hundred more hours of research.
Action brings results. Unless you’re a philosopher, thinking does not bring results. If you want to be good at something, you need to do it, and you need to do it a lot. You will fail sometimes. That’s a good thing. The expert is an expert because she has failed more times than the beginner has even tried. If you want to be a good writer, write. If you want to be a good cook, cook. You are not an exception to this rule. If you want to be good at something, you have to actually do it.
Motivation doesn’t bring action. Action brings motivation. Getting moving from a standstill isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Start small. You’ll feel more motivated to keep going once you’ve taken that first step, but do not rely on motivation. Motivation is totally unreliable. My life improved dramatically once I realized that I can’t wait for motivation to strike before I take action. Motivation comes at 2 a.m. when you’re trying to sleep and is gone by the time you wake up. You won’t get anywhere relying on motivation. Take imperfect action.
The best motivation comes from action and knowing your Why. Figure out why you’re doing something. Write it down. I’m getting up at 5 a.m. for thirty days and because I know why I’m doing it, I’m confident that I’ll meet the challenge. Make a list. Make a dream board. Don’t get carried away and spend all your time dreaming instead of doing, but do take the time to establish reasons for doing something that resonate with you.
Clarity comes from doing, not thinking. I don't know how to blog. I didn’t know how to blog when I started, and I’ll probably never feel like I really know what I’m doing, but I know more now than I did when I started. You don’t learn from sitting and thinking and researching. You learn and figure out your path by doing.
If you’re looking for clarity, take the first step. Taking the first step will tell you way more than you would have gained from more research and overthinking. Set up the website. Create the outline for your book. Go to the hardware store and pick out some paint. Set a twenty minute timer and do something.
Refuse to waste time. I do not let anyone waste my time, including myself. Time is your most precious resource. Time is the only thing that you cannot create more of, and you can’t get it back once it’s gone. Do not waste it.
Inaction is one of the biggest time wasters. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Plant the tree. You aren’t getting any younger, and nothing is going to change unless you take things into your own hands and change them.
The most valuable thing you can do is just get started. Don’t overthink it. Do something.