As human beings, we are naturally great thinkers. Our ability to analyze experiences and learn from them is what makes us what we are. And one of the most important steps of it is a reflection. After absorbing as much information as possible, our brain needs time to process it, learn from it, and archive the experience in a way that we can use it in the future, if necessary. It helps to avoid repeating the same mistakes, and also of not making them in the first place, as we can learn from other people’s lives stories as well. This is fantastic until the point when it becomes all that we do.
Many of us are masters in thinking, but never seem to take action based on what we have learned or decided. Some will even become overthinkers, reflecting so much about every single aspect of their life that they become paralyzed. So if you know you have crossed this line, then it is time for you to move from reflection to action, following the tips below:
# Measure the consequences of procrastination
You might think that you aren’t one of those, but the fact is that you probably are a procrastinator. If you know that there is something that you should be doing, and you still don’t, there is no better word to qualify your behavior.
There are many reasons why people procrastinate, but one of them is the fact that they only measure how annoying is the thing that they are trying to avoid without thinking the other way around. So start considering how bad will be if you don’t take action. If you leave things as they are, will you be happy? Will you achieve your goals? Probably not, as very little can be accomplished without action.
Do this exercise then and see how it works for you.
# Stop learning
It might sound weird to read it, but this is a very serious and hardly told truth. Despite our society love for knowledge, which is absolutely correct, there is a limit to everything including to learning.
The thing is that there is only enough that you can learn without practice. If you have been to university, you might have been the disappointed one sometimes, listening to professors with titles longer than a page talking about fantastic ideas which can never be of any use in real life.
Other people spend the best years of their lives from class to class, not because they seek knowledge, but to avoid getting a job and becoming a grown-up.
That is to say that while an essential skillset is mandatory to get anything started, using the need to learn more to escape from taking charge of your life is a very poor decision.
# Stop being afraid of failure
Another fear that you need to get rid of so to move from reflection to action is fear of failure. More you think, more flaws you will notice in everything. And while is great to anticipate difficulties so to be prepared for them, it can also make you believe that you don’t have what it takes to get things done.
But, if you think again, you will know that a perfect scenario is unreal. That every single breakthrough went through mistakes and disappointments. And that there is nothing wrong with that.
Actually, more often we fail, better we become.
And, above all, everybody fails.
So there is no point in avoiding failure because you don’t really know all the outcomes. There are always things out of your control, and the result can be completely different from what you had predicted.
And if it happens that you fail, just start over again – now wiser and stronger.
# Eliminate your excuses
Making excuses might be something that you are very good at doing. If there were a job such as excuses-maker, some people would be rich.
But if you want to move from reflection to action, you need to eliminate them from your life.
Start listing all the reasons you consider as good enough to stop you from doing what you have and want to do. Then look at them honestly and tell to yourself if they are reasonable. Possibly, you will eliminate 50-70% of your list right there.
Now, do again that exercise you did when you were dealing with procrastination. What is worst, face the excuses you listed or never get to achieve your goals?
After doing it, you might be left with no excuses at all. But if there are one or two real reasons there, all you have to do is maybe adapt your plans. And that will already be considered as taking action, what is great news for you.
# Transform your ideas into art
An excellent way to start making things look more real is to turn your ideas into art. And it doesn’t matter which technique you will use. Either painting, drawing, sculpturing, writing a story, or simply doodling, will help you to see your thoughts in a more concrete way. And when you do it, it will become much easier for you to get them done.
# Define your goals
If you are feeling much more prepared at this stage, you should then start setting your goals using the SMART method. It means that you will get your ideas together and define them in a way that they will be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Always remember that you might need to break your big goal into small ones to do it. For instance, if your goal is to buy a house, you will need to list all steps that you will need to get there. And maybe you will also need to break them down even more – for example, “save money” still is very broad.
Needless to say that goals such as “become a better person” are far too vague and require a more precise definition before anything else can be done. And remember that everything should be written down and organized in an actionable plan.
# Tell it to someone (and/or use an app)
Another thing that will help you a lot here is something that we commonly avoid: peer pressure. But it is a fact that we tend to get things done more quickly when people are in our case.
So go ahead and show you plan and ideas to someone that you like – it must be someone whose opinion you care, or it won’t work. And, in an ideal scenario, it should be someone who will ask you about it from time to time, so to create some urgency in your mind.
And if you don’t have anything to talk about it, or if you know that you need extra pressure, try an app where you can add your to-do list along with deadlines. You might find them annoying now, but you might thank all those push notifications in the future.
Wrapping it up
As you can see, moving from reflection to action is a question of changing your mindset. You need to make sure that you know what you want, and how badly you want things to change. That if the situation stays as it is, that the consequences won’t be the happiest.
You will also need to identify what is stopping you from taking action and eliminate these enemies. Then it will be time for you to set your goals, create a plan, and make them happen. And that is all that you need to do from now on. Best of luck!
Malia Keirsey is a young guest contributor and ambitious writer; the one who writes the top companies reviews. She is fond of blogging, web design, education and self-development. Malia is an undercover bookworm and a passionate traveler. You can follow @MaliaKeirsey on Twitter.