Self-motivated women take responsibility for their lives – they make things happen rather than sitting around waiting. They make decisions and back themselves.
That isn’t to say they don’t have self-doubt or fear of failure, but they know how to move through the fear to pursue what’s important.
A core part of the ability to make things happen is taking action. And this can be really hard. Having the discipline to achieve your goals is difficult, especially when motivation has left you.
But here are six things you can do to become more of an action taker and improve your self-motivation.
1. Just start
One of my mentors said, “action begets action”.
She meant that once you start something, you start to build momentum, you get into a routine, and good things happen.
If there is something you really want to achieve, just start.
My friend Sarah knows that sales calls are a necessary part of her business, but she finds them awkward to make as she doesn’t like talking on the phone. So she employs a trick to break the barrier. Every day when she sits down to make her daily allotment of calls, her first call is to a friend. This quick, two-minute call gets her in the groove, and she is then comfortable enough to call everyone else on her list.
I like to take imperfect action. Rather than overthink something, I now just try to start. Remember Winston Churchill’s words, “Perfection is the enemy of progress”.
2. Map out a plan
My love of planning can be traced back to my event management days when we reverse-engineered all our conferences. That meant we knew our goal (e.g. a successful conference on a set date) and worked backwards to unpack what needed to be done and by when.
Today, I have a three-year strategy for my practice, chunked into ninety-day action plans.
I love the ninety-day concept as it’s enough time to achieve something tangible and work out whether it is likely to succeed.
I have even used the ninety-day plan when I was single and looking for love (yes, my friends thought I was a bit mad!). My view was that if I spent a few hours each week with the man I was dating, I should know by about the ninety-day mark whether or not I wanted to continue seeing him. Of course, I often knew far earlier, but the timeline was a good indicator of whether we had some sort of future.
To use this concept in my work, I sit down at the end of each quarter and map out what I need to do over the next ninety days to drive me toward my three-year goals. I look at everything, including client and personal commitments, anticipated commitments, holidays, long weekends, etc. Then I work out what can I achieve with the time that’s left.
Next, I work out what I need to do each day and week to achieve my goals. I review it regularly and tweak it where necessary.