10 Ways to Nudge Yourself Into Action

I recently took action on a big decision. This “taking action” literally came down to pressing a button on my keyboard (I was sending an email). Pressing that one button turned out to be a lot more difficult, and much more interesting, than I had expected.

As time ticked on, I watched my subconscious surface with unseen doubts, alternative outcomes, and a bunch of stuff that I hadn’t anticipated getting in my way. I had literally planned and thought about this event for months and decided earlier in the week that it was time to take action.

It’s funny how we can psych ourselves up to do something, only to turn back with our tail between our legs the moment we’re face-to-face with actually having to do something about it. Taking action can be scary, and for good reason: Wielding the power to control or influence the future is a daunting task.

If you need to take action on something and you’ve made up your mind that you won’t back down without a fight, try some of these tips to help nudge yourself into action. I used all of them the night I sent that email.

  1. Get your blood moving. Get up and walk around. Go for a run. Workout. Fresh blood running through your veins gives you new energy and helps you see your thoughts, and the situation, from a new perspective.
  2. Move to a different location. Physically moving to a different location helps change the context and let's you see things from a different angle.
  3. Ask yourself, how bad is the alternative? If the decision is big enough to warrant as much attention as you've already given it, doing nothing will most likely do more harm than good.
  4. Does your happiness depend on it? If the thing you're having trouble taking action on has any chance of improving your happiness, then taking action is damn well worth the risk!
  5. Remind yourself why. What made you want to take action? Why are you doing this? Simply remembering what motivated you to take action in the first place can nudge you to take that next step.
  6. Time is limited, your opportunities are not. There will always be a greater opportunity out there. There will always be a better time. You can choose to do nothing now and let time run on, or you can choose to take action and move yourself forward, thereby placing yourself into a position of receiving those opportunities.
  7. Without action, nothing happens. It sounds obvious, but we often want and expect things to change without doing anything to make them happen. If you want air, you breathe. If you want to eat, you feed yourself. If you want to get somewhere in life, you need to do something about it.
  8. You will always make mistakes. And that's good! Mistakes make us better -- it's a basic function built into nature. The more mistakes you make, the more likely you are to grow and learn. Most of us don't make enough mistakes!
  9. Envision what comes next. What will your world be like after taking action? What things can you be absolutely certain of? The clearer your understanding of how the world will be after taking action, the easier it will be to nudge yourself into action.
  10. Realize how you'll feel if you don't take action. If you're feeling antsy now, how will you feel if you don't take action? Will those feelings continue to build up? You'll feel so much better after this "taking action" step is behind you.

What things have helped you nudge yourself into action?

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