Have you ever reached a point where you really want something, and you believe you can get it, but you find it difficult to decide or take the steps to go for it?
Personally, I have struggled with overcoming inaction in my own life before. There were those dark times when I felt stuck. I desperately wanted to make a change, to accomplish dreams. I had the strongest desire, I had the motivation, and I knew I could do it. However, taking the steps to bring the results was a big obstacle for me for a long time. Before gaining an educational background in psychology, it took me tremendous effort to cultivate and stick to powerful practices that equipped me to completely knock it out of my life.
Inaction and Indecision are intertwined, and they are mostly mediated by the choices we make. Inaction becomes an active action when we keep choosing every day not to ACT. And Indecision becomes an active decision when we choose on a daily basis not to DECIDE.
Inaction and Indecision can be caused by many factors:
- Lack of clarity: Not knowing what we truly want and why we want it.
- Lack of knowledge: Not recognizing or knowing that we are struggling with making decisions or taking action.
- Our intense drive for perfection: We want everything to always be perfect, and well-planned. We overthink every step. Spontaneity is not our thing.
- Helplessness: Certain illnesses that may be preventing us from acting and deciding. And most times, this is beyond our control.
But the biggest factor here is FEAR! Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of missing out. Fear of making the wrong decision, especially when there are too many options. Fear of taking risks. And Fear of Fear itself!
INACTION & INDECISION can be PAINFUL. They CRUMBLE DREAMS.
When we decide to embrace standing still, where we don’t do, we don’t respond, and just accept the status quo and not the reality, we are slowly killing our greatest potential instead of unleashing it to live life forward.
How Do We Practice Overcoming This?
It takes practice. It can be a journey. We are not going to into more detials in this post, but here are three simple but powerful tools to jumpstart your journey of overcoming inaction/indecision:
- The 5 second rule: Start with simple things.
Anytime you have an idea that will better your situation, act IMMEDIATELY—within 5 seconds. Don’t think, just do! When the thought comes, start counting from 5 down to 1 and GET MOVING. There are 2 reasons why this works: First, it signals to your brain that there is an END to the countdown. If you counted from 1 to 5 you could keep going. Second, counting distracts your mind, preventing it from thinking you out of it. That is rapid commitment.
2. The Pain-Pleasure-Principle Questions (PPPQ):
Everything we do we do for a reason. We’re always either trying to avoid pain or move toward pleasure.
First identify the habit, or behavior, or change you want to make.
And then truthfully ask yourself the following questions:
What PAIN am I avoiding by NOT DOING IT?
What PAIN will I experience if I NEVER DO IT?
What PLEASURE will I experience when I DO IT?
What PLEASURE would I experience if I DID IT NOW and stopped fighting with indecision, inaction, and procrastination?
2. Action-Desire-Belief Cycle:
The Action-Desire-Belief Tool is a circle. It doesn’t flow in any specific order. You can start wherever the inspiration strikes. On one route, you can just have the DESIRE and jump straight into the action without even overthinking whether you can do it (belief) or not. On another route, you just know and believe that you CAN do something, and you just jump into action even when you have not developed the highest desire to do it. And other times, you just DO IT! After you have done it, then you can now confirm that “Yes, you WANTED to do it all along (Desire was present),” and “Yes, now you believe you CAN DO it (Belief).” Action (Just go for it. Act Now!) Desire: Do You Really Want to?) Belief: (Do you believe you CAN DO it?). This is a common tool. Pasricha talks a lttle bit more about this in his Happiness Equation Book.
Obviously, making decisions and taking actions can be risky. But not doing so is even riskier. Of course, take calculated risks. Don’t just go jump off the cliff because you want to overcome inaction and indecision.
Overcome Inaction. Overcome Indecision. Take Action Today! Identify three things or areas (in your personal life/work) that you have been putting off. Put on the boots of courage, motivation, and commitment to make decisions and take action to work on them.