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Take Action on Your Goals

By Peter Aursnes

Chances are you’ve read countless books and articles on how to improve yourself, professionally and personally. You may have even attended a self-improvement or business enhancement workshop or two. But if you’re like the majority of people, despite all this knowledge, your professional and personal life has not changed at all. What went wrong?

As with all things in your life, you have a choice to make. In this case your choice is clear: Are you going to apply what you’ve learned in pursuit of a better life or business, or are you going to file this knowledge away and stay in your comfort zone?

Realize that action is the key to making positive changes in your life. Without action, knowledge is lost. Inaction will not result in fulfillment. There is only one thing standing in the way of achieving all that’s possible: You! If you make the conscious choice to sit back and watch the world go by without ever making an attempt at achieving your goals, you will experience profound regret in your life.

Unfortunately, many people remain idle in the face of challenges and make the decision to stay put in a life of discontent—to remain in a job that brings them no satisfaction and to remain in a world of unhappiness. These people take a passive approach to life. When opportunities present themselves, these people don’t act. They’re not prepared. It’s one thing to know what to do; it’s something entirely different to put that information to good use and turn knowledge into action. If you don’t take the necessary action, you will be left watching opportunity after opportunity pass you by, wondering what might have been.

If you’re ready to take action and make some serious changes in your life, keep the following four points in mind.

1) Don’t let fear hold you back: You cannot let the fear of the unknown or the fear of failure prevent you from taking the necessary action to succeed. You must stick with your vision even when times get tough. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich (Hill 1987), put it beautifully. “There is no substitute for persistence! It cannot be supplanted by any other quality! … Those who have cultivated the habit of persistence seem to enjoy insurance against failure. No matter how many times they are defeated, they finally arrive near the top of the ladder.”

So do not go on believing that the path to success will be without obstacles and challenges. You will certainly have tough times. But don’t let any misconceptions lull you into inaction and eat away at your dreams. Know that all great accomplishments come despite hardship, not in its absence. You have to be aware and prepared, and you must match your vision with action.

2) Eliminate regrets: The regret of never trying to make the most of your potential will far outweigh any bumps you will encounter along the way. There really is no limit to what you can do with your life. It is sometimes hard to imagine what you will not get out of life if you do not take action. That is a difficult concept for people to get their head around. However, when faced with the idea of finally taking action, many people quickly create a long list of what could wrong and why they should stay in their comfort zone. In fact, most people would never run out of reasons when asked to point out all of the reasons why they shouldn’t try to do something. Yet, the moment you ask them to create a vision for what they want out of life, they suddenly lose their creative prowess.

When it comes to their approach to life, too many people don’t think about what they are losing, because they never had it. This is a flawed way of thinking. You can be whatever you want to be. It is never too late or too early. And make no mistake, by choosing to sit idly by without taking responsibility for what happens in your life, you are giving up a tremendous amount. Just because you might not be able to touch it yet doesn’t make it any less real.

3) Look at your life in totality: If you are looking for professional and personal fulfillment, you have to look at the whole picture, your daily life in totality. You will be unable to block off ten hours of your day for work and then expect to live the rest of each day in happiness, forgetting about work completely. Work is a part of life; therefore, to live a true life of fulfillment, you must make work part of the total equation. This does not mean you can’t lead a happy life if your job isn’t ideal. It simply means that you can absolutely make your job part of the larger vision for your life where work is exciting and anticipated instead of unfulfilling and dreaded.

So make the time to learn about yourself. Find your purpose. Put in the effort to create a specific vision. Develop the goals and the plan that will turn that vision into your reality. And most of all, take action. Don’t stop with a dream. Take the action that will truly define who you are. Separate yourself from those that only talk about things. You are unique, and you have unlimited potential. These gifts can only be offered to the world if you take action. You were meant to express yourself and contribute your talents. You will make yourself happy, and this will undoubtedly be radiated to those around you.

4) Incorporate more meaning into your life: Everyone has moments of happiness that they experience. When you can add that extra element of meaning, you will take yourself to a higher level altogether. Think about your job. Have you ever found yourself asking, “Why am I doing this?” Well, if you are not really very interested in what you are doing, you will not truly care about your job, and it will show. But how do you behave when you are excited about something or truly care about the result? Do you act differently? You bet you do. You don’t even think about the time or effort you put into reaching your goal. You just do it. Period. No matter what.

Let’s say you are into woodworking. Is it a chore for you to build an addition to the back deck? Of course not. Why not? Because you love doing it. You are excited about planning it, getting the materials, and hey, you might even need to go to the hardware store and buy a new tool! These are not inconveniences; they are requirements, and you don’t mind a bit. Now what if you were then asked to build an addition to a wildlife rehabilitation clinic and you happened to have a passion for working with animals. Now you are talking about real fulfillment. The feeling associated with such a scenario is what you give up when you settle for a life of the mundane.

Take Action Today: You can discover your purpose, create a vision, and set your goals, but if it is not followed up by action, it is meaningless. Action is the critical component that leads you to a fulfilling life. As obvious as it might seem, taking action is the part of the equation that is most often overlooked. Nobody is going to do this for you.

There are three reasons why you need to picture the life of your dreams. One is to help clarify what it is you really want, two is to create your destination and the road map in getting there, and three is to make you realize just what you are giving up in choosing not to take action. This does not mean that the life you are currently living is any less valid than the life of anyone else. It simply means that you have the capability to make changes and create a life for yourself that is in keeping with your purpose.

Remember the words of Earl Nightingale, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” This is an ongoing process. It will take effort. Taking action is hard work, but it can be fun too. That is why it is so important to be involved in something that you believe in. Because if you feel as though you are working hard out of sheer necessity, and not by choice, you will understandably feel discouraged.

So make the decision to act. You will be glad you did.

Read other articles and learn more about Peter Aursnes.

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