July 6

How to Close the Gap Between the Life You Have and the Life You Want


Have you ever noticed how often you delay actions that could significantly improve your life? ‘I’ll start working on my project once things slow down a bit’, or ‘I’ll declutter the house when I have some days off’. Sound familiar? I’ve been there too. We convince ourselves that we’ll focus on these things later, but the reality is, there’s always another ‘later’.

But how much of the life that you really want to live are you missing out on because you’re not taking the action you know you need to take? I also know that the more you put it off, the more it plays on your mind – and before you know it, weeks, months and even years have gone by, and you still haven’t taken those actions that you know are actually going to create the life we want.

The Power of Small, Incremental Steps

When it comes to taking action, it’s all about starting small. Sometimes we build up in our heads that if we decide we want to run a marathon, then it’s going to take all this time and effort out of our week to train and prepare. But it’s all about those tiny, tiny, little incremental steps. It might be that you just start by putting your shoes by the door. It might seem ridiculous to take such a small action. Why not just put your shoes on and go for a run? But as you know, quite often it doesn’t happen. So, we do incremental changes.

Put your shoes by the door and celebrate that. Let your brain know, ‘Oh, this was a really great thing we did’. The next day, put your shoes and socks on, even if you don’t make it out the door. The next day, do a little bit more and a little bit more. Most of the time, when we take that little bit of action, we do more than we think we will. If I sit down and write one sentence for my book, before I know it, I’ve written a couple of paragraphs. Some days, you may just write the one sentence. But we start to create momentum. We start to let our brain know that this is important to us and we’re going to put in the effort to do it.

Overcoming Mental Barriers

It’s uncomfortable because it’s so much easier not to do the thing we want to do. But it’s also uncomfortable to constantly think, ‘I should be doing …’. The brain space you’re using up by reminding yourself all the time that you should be doing it, and being mean to yourself about why you’re not doing it, takes more effort than just doing that little bit.

Action Acceleration

What is one thing in your life you want? Is it to get healthier? Is it to write a book? Is it to have better relationships? Choose one mini action you can do that will actually move you forward. Take the action and celebrate. Then do the action again. Celebrate and do the action a little bit more, and celebrate.

That’s what I want you to do this week, over and over again. Please do not forget to celebrate. It’s two things: it gives you a dopamine hit because you’re a rock star, and it trains your brain that this thing we’re doing is important.

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  • “Put your shoes by the door and celebrate that” – that’s almost to the point how I started a few years ago 🙂 I actually put out the entire set of gym clothes on Sunday night so that it was clear what I was supposed to to on Monday morning. And I did it!
    My husband calls this the “how to eat an elephant” method: Take small bites 😉

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