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Jul 31 2012

Action stations!

take action, inaction, goals, achieve, success

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.

 (Dale Carnegie)


This is the doing stage – at last, yeah!  As I have always been a ‘doer’ and self-motivated, I found this stage easier than the previous ones.  But, hold your horses!  Look, I don’t want to dampen any ones spirits but before you can take action, you need a plan.  Oh yes!  Otherwise, how will you know what action you should be taking?  Make sense?

OK, so let’s go back a few steps. You have thought about your life as a whole and worked out what’s important to you and generally how you want your life to be; you’ve brainstormed or mind-mapped your dreams and goals and created a sort of bucket list; you’ve selected one to focus on and have broken it down into sub-goals to make it more manageable; you have a list of compelling reasons to achieve your goal which are highly motivating; and are about to create an action plan for each of your sub-goals. I don’t know how many sub-goals you have but I would pick one for now to complete this task. It’s up to you which one you choose. You can pick one at random or you can be more selective and pick the one that is the easiest to achieve, which will be even more motivating when you see results, or the one that would have the greatest impact on your main goal. It’s your choice but pick just one for now.  Go on, do it now!  Got it? OK.

This sub-goal should be challenging but not overwhelming. If it is overwhelming, can you sub-divide it into smaller goals? If so, do that and pick one. Now, thinking of your goal, consider these questions:

  • What is the reality of your situation now, in relation to your goal?
  • On a scale of 0-10 (0 being nowhere near it to 10 having achieved it), where are you in terms of achieving your goal?
  • What could you do that would bring you 2 or 3 steps closer to achieving it?
  • What do you need to do to make sure you achieve your goal by the date you have set?


This is a creative process, similar to when you were creating the bucket list of all your dreams and goals, so just start writing and keep going until nothing else comes to mind. Once again, this is the start and when the flood gates of your unconscious mind open, other ideas will come to mind. Don’t worry about how you are going to do it or how crazy or impossible the ideas might seem. Sometimes these are the best ideas. Other questions you could ask yourself to help you with the process are:

  • If you were x (whoever you admire or find inspiring), what would you do?
  • What advice would x give to you?
  • If you didn’t have any limitations such as money or time what could you do?


Once you’ve gone through that process, you need to pick the ideas that will help you to achieve your goal or sub-goal. Then for each one, you need to write down the actions you are going to take that will help you reach your goal. For example, one of my sub-goals was having enough money to be able to travel around the world. When I started the process, I was at 1 on the scale to achieving the goal. One of the first actions I took was to start looking at the costs involved in travelling because I had no idea how much I actually needed. So for each option you want to work on…

  • What are you actually going to do? What specific actions are you going to take that will take you one step closer to your goal? (Break them down into small achievable action steps)
  • Who or what can help you to complete this action step? (Think of all the resources you have: yourself, other people and things)
  • When are you going to do it? (Date and time so you have a specific deadline)
  • What could get in the way of taking action? (It’s important to explore this because, with the best will in the world, things can and do get in the way. If you are aware of this, you can think of strategies or ways around it)
  • Which action can you do immediately or in the next 24 hours? (It’s important to begin ASAP because that will create the momentum to keep going. When I started , I made a phone call immediately after completing the exercise as one of my action steps)


In the next post, I talk about some strategies to help you overcome some of the things that might be stopping or limiting you from taking action.

<Motivation is key

Are Gremlins Threatening To Sabotage Your Plans >

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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