I mentioned in my last post that I am sick of trying to perfect something before I publish it or before I get started on that project. I like to think that I am a fairly strategic thinker and this leads me to trying to figure out all the aspects of a project before I will undertake it. I will anticipate all of the obstacles that need to be overcome, objections from others that need to be handled, how I will respond when the idea succeeds, and what I will do if the project does not meet my expectations. To some extent this is a strength of mine. I like to think about the possibilities and I love feeling like I can anticipate the problems. The problem is that when this is my way of life then there is actually very little that will be accomplished. We accomplish things by doing. We succeed by acting. No great product, cause, or revolution has succeeded simply by way of a think tank. They all need people who will step out and take action with purpose and passion.
A year and a half ago I realized that I had gained more weight than I wanted to. I was feeling lethargic, noticed my self confidence was down, and generally was not very happy with the daily grind of life. I made a choice one day to just start eating a different way. I told myself that I would make all of my meals at home and not eat out, I stayed away from any processed food, and I focused on eating proteins instead of carbs. In addition to this I walked every day. The results were drastic. I lost 25 pounds in less than three months. I felt better and was much more confident in myself again.
Why am I sharing this story with you? Simply because one day I chose to just take action. I did not over think my plan or the decision. I did not try to come up with the best way of doing this. I just started. Today I still follow this diet for the most part. I am not as strict about it but I still follow the principles that following this diet has instilled in me.
About two months ago I started to get a little restless in another area of my life. I was realizing that I was wasting a lot of my time consuming media that was not really adding any value to my life. I was not executing on ideas that I wanted to be moving forward. It was around this time that I heard multiple different people through multiple sources (podcasts, blogs, a book, and newspapers) talk about the value of getting an early start to your day. I was hearing about how successful people are early risers and I was remembering how my favorite mornings were ones where I was up early and had time to myself. So I again made another spur of the moment decision in life that I feel will be lasting.
I decided that I would start to wake up between 5 and 5:30 am every day. This means even Saturday and Sundays and holidays. Now I do leave some room for exceptions because I think there is great value in getting a proper nights sleep so on those nights where I am out with friends or I have to work late I will wake a little later. The basic premise is still to be up at 5:30 every morning getting a jump start on my day. I then decided that I would listen to a leadership podcast while getting ready each morning to learn some valuable lessons, to motivate myself, and to remind myself to lead in all areas of my life. I read a couple of chapters from a few different books each morning, plan my day, and write a few thoughts in my journal. Now because I am so focused on learning, adding value to others, sharing, and being purposeful with my day I no longer even have a desire to consume media like I used to. I hardly ever have the tv on now. I once was a news junkie and now I find myself being a little bit clueless to the goings on around in the news world. This one change to waking up early has affected many areas of my life.
I share these two stories to illustrate how change can begin to happen in one’s life and the positive effects these changes can make. These small changes are a constant reminder to myself when I am trying to plan something perfectly that sometimes it is better to just get going. Starting acting on your plans and adjust as you go. You can always adjust your plans and in fact the action you take will be informing your future plans so you will have more data points to consider. The point being that I never would have lost 25 pounds and felt as good about myself as I do now if I would not have just started. I would not be leading as purposeful of a life as I am now if I would not have simply decided to get up early every morning.
Put your pen down. Quit brainstorming on your computer. Now get started and you will make far more progress in life.