3 steps to defeat your to-do list

Tom Ferry shares 3 steps to create massive action

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It’s one of my favorite quotes.

“Do the thing, have the power. Do not the thing, have not the power.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let’s focus on the second part of that great quote.

I’m sure there’s been a point in your life when you know you should be doing something, but you just don’t do it. You stopped doing what gives you power – your appointment-setting calls, following up on leads, nurturing your past clients and sphere.

Why? Who knows.

Sometimes we lose motivation. We lose energy. We get lazy. We resist. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t excuse the inaction.

Big aspirations require behavior that supports your goals.

So, if you’re feeling stuck or lazy or just not “doing the thing” for whatever reason, I’ve got three steps to propel you into action. Let’s go!

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Step 1: Awareness

The first step toward increased action is to acknowledge your lack of action – stop willfully ignoring the obvious and harmful.

With this honesty and clarity, you can address the issue head-on.

When I really need to commit to something, I ask myself this question: What are the serious negative consequences if I continue this behavior of inaction?

Find those pain points that will drive you into action. Write them down. Create a list. Move that emotional needle. It can be anything from “I’ll feel bad about myself” to “I won’t be able to pay the mortgage that keeps a roof over my family’s head.”

Then look at the flip side: What are the benefits of taking action? List them. Examples include “The energy will make me feel great” or “I’ll make more money and be able to reinvest in my business.”

Together, identifying the fear, pain and pleasure will incite you to action.

Step 2: Replace your old pattern

When you’re not doing an activity you know you should — making phone calls, for example — what are you doing instead? Whatever you’re doing is a pattern of behavior.

Replace that old pattern with a new pattern.

Answering these probing questions will fire you up, create that new pattern and naturally kick-start the actions that will propel you to your goals:

  • Why are you on this planet?
  • What would you say to empower yourself?
  • What question would you ask to drive home the right behavior?
  • How would you move your body? (Don’t underestimate your physiology’s role in this!)
  • What do you love about helping people?
  • How is this going to help you achieve your long-term mission?
  • Are there people in your marketplace right now who need your services?
  • Are you committed to helping those people?

Step 3: Accountability around conditioning

This is where most people get stuck. Without this component, steps one and two don’t work. It’s all about accountability. You need to find a way to create an accountability structure that will condition your behaviors.

There’s a theory that you can develop a new habit in just 21 days. It’s a lie. A study published by the European Journal of Social Psychology found the average is actually closer to 66 days, in some cases up to 120 days, to form a habit.

That means you need to “do the thing” over and over and over again before you’re conditioned to do it naturally. And that means you have to invest the time it takes to change your behavior.

That also means you better find someone – a coach, a colleague, a family member, a friend, a mentor – who’s going to work with you and make sure you follow through day in and day out.

You know it. I know it. Everyone knows it. The biggest reason we don’t “do the thing” is because we lack the discipline to “do the thing” and “have the power” without someone holding us accountable.

Where will you find accountability?


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