As I sit here in this Starbucks, with a shitty layout and not enough table space, I wonder, how can I provide value to people? How can I take my gnarly life experience and offer solutions to individuals who have faced similar struggles or who are currently facing similar struggles in their own lives? Struggles like inadequacy, the feeling like you don’t have your shit together, or of uncertainty, and the confusion of not knowing what the hell you want out of life. And then there are the struggles with overcoming the fear and discomfort involved in making the necessary changes that will allow you to reach the desired outcomes. And then and then and then.
It’s a lot of work.
Progress is simply questioning yourself and what you want and why you do the things you do. It’s a lot of self-reflection, discovering different behavior patterns and thought processes you possess that may not be congruent to your self-ideal. Basically, it’s a lot of, what the fuck am I doing and why am I doing it, with a side of, okay, that doesn’t help me to become the person that I want to become, I need to change that. Followed with massive amounts of action. So much action, all the time. We act our way into thinking differently, not think our way into acting differently, and this is where many people seem to get mixed up.
See, telling yourself that you want to become healthier through exercise and healthier eating habits sounds great in our heads until it comes time to choose between pancakes with sausage and scrambled eggs with oatmeal. At this moment we’re faced with a choice, and we all know how this turns out. This scenario is based on the fact that we never made a choice originally. We never chose to act in a manner that would allow us to make healthier eating habits. If we had we wouldn’t be in the position of choosing between pancakes and eggs. We wouldn’t even be wasting money at IHOP. We would already be at the gym exercising because we would have already eaten breakfast in the comfort of our home because we would have already gone grocery shopping for the things we needed and woke up with enough time to handle our shit. That is what action looks like.
Action is making a choice and then strategically planning for the desired outcome. When you say, I want to eat healthier, you are not making a choice nor are you taking action and you end up in this grey area where there is no next step because you’ve never taken a step to begin with. Conversely, when you say, I am going to eat healthier effective immediately, you have now made a choice which leads into a series of other choices all in a specific direction being your healthier eating habits. When you make the choice to eat healthier you then need to find out exactly what healthier eating is to you. Researching healthier eating options and deciding which foods work for you. Action. Then you need to make a list and go to the store to pick up the healthy foods you have chosen, and then possibly have to learn how best to prepare and store the foods. Action. Throwing away all the junk food in the house that you know will be a temptation and possibly set you off course. Action. Having your meals prepared and planned out around your schedule for the following day so that you are sure to not be caught off guard or forced into a situation where you are likely to make poor choices. Action.
One action builds off of another off of another. The key is that when you make the first choice to eat healthy the next step becomes clear and so on and so forth. What do I have to do? How will I make this work around my schedule? What should I be eating?
When thoughts of inspiration are not immediately followed with action you are dead in the water. Motivation and inspiration are fleeting emotions at best, often outside of our control. Action is always within our control. If we could all manifest motivation at will we would be much more productive people and this wouldn’t be a problem in the first place. There will be plenty of times where we are lacking motivation and inspiration and have to act anyway but as time goes on this will become easier and easier until it becomes a new way of life. Our new default.