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Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete.

If you’re alive,

it isn’t.

Richard Bach

Do you have some aspirations that you feel are beyond your current capabilities? Of course you do! It is completely normal to dream about some of the things that you want to do someday, but currently cannot. But, to realize your dreams, at some point you must stop your planning phase and start taking some concrete action.

While planning is an integral part of bringing your dreams to life, you must avoid dedicating more time to the mental preparation than to action. If you spend your entire life planning for the future, then when is it you think you will actually start living?

Strategies to jump-start your goal-achieving actions:

1. Act! Actions speak louder than words. There is little doubt that you have heard this statement before, but have you ever really considered what it means? Taking action and achieving are more powerful than simply planning for the future. Start taking steps in the right direction while you are still in the act of planning, instead of waiting for every detail of your plan to be ironed out and perfected.

Keep in mind that you can accomplish your goals as long as you are moving in a forward direction. It may take you some time, depending on how large your goal is, but moving forward will get you where you want to be. Taking action, regardless of how small, moves you forward.

2. Watch your language! Which is of these statements feels more effective: “I am going to lose weight,” or “I am losing weight?” How about the difference between “I am planning on going to school,” and “I am currently attending school?” The differences in these two sets of statements can have a profound impact on whether you are actually going somewhere, or just contemplating and ruminating about it.

How about this instead. Rather than saying “I am going to lose weight” (which is something you can go on saying to yourself for years without shedding a pound!), take a real action to lose a little weight, and then you can say, ”I have dropped a few pounds and I am still going!”

3. Baby steps. Break your goals up into smaller bites. Instead of sitting down for hours to create a lengthy plan that will take several years to fully realize, why not break your goals into smaller pieces that you can achieve one at a time? Setting goals too far into the future can often hamper your ability to take smaller steps in the right direction now.

Let’s go back to the weight example. Say that your goal is to lose 100 pounds. Try setting goals to lose 1% of your body weight per week until you reach your final goal. Achieving several weight loss goals over a period of time will help keep you motivated rather than struggling endlessly for that single far-off goal.

Perhaps you want to achieve something over a period of time, such as graduating from college in four years. In this case, you can break your goals into quarters or semesters. This will help you feel a sense of success as you continue to make progress while continuing to work toward the larger goal of graduating with a degree.

Sometimes it can be challenging to build the momentum you need to achieve goals and get where you want to be in life. Raise your standards and expect concrete and doable action from yourself instead of just thoughts and words.

If you are struggling to move from planning to actual accomplishments, try breaking your goals into smaller pieces, feed your brain a diet of affirming statements, get started, and celebrate the wins! You will amaze yourself at how motivational a little success can be!

Thoughts?

Photo Credit: Dustin Diaz via Compfight cc