Ten steps in the right direction

...alternatively, this is "How Not To Do It" in one simple step.  But we all know this one, already.

First published in ivillage

It’s hard to be bothered to do things. You could start a business, write a novel or get a degree at night school, but it’s so difficult when you could be sitting on the sofa watching TV. How do you motivate yourself to hide the remote and actually achieve something?

Richard Newton, author of motivational book, Stop Talking, Start Doinggives his tips for achieving your goals.

1. The tick-tocking of the clock. Life has a sting in the tail. It’s over in a shot. And it’s only at the end that we realise how fast it went by and how much time we wasted worrying about the enormity of things that in fact were only big to us. Life will be over in a split second and the moment you finish this article is the instant you should take control and start enjoying it the way you want to.

2. What if people laugh at you? What if people snigger that you even tried to do something new. Well fuhgeddaboutit. These people don’t deserve even a back row seat in your life story. This is your life. And the people whose opinion you’re worried about? Well here’s two things you should know: First: They  are actually worrying what people say about them too much to pay you much concern. Secondly: Just like you, they’re 72.8% water. That’s like being laughed at by a bathtub.

3. The world is at your kitchen table. Here’s another reason to start something new: It’s never been easier! Thanks to the Internet we have access to knowledge and experts in ways our grandparents would never have believed. And if we want to set up a business or research a trip to somewhere exotic then it’s at our finger tips. You can find out everything you want and reach everyone you want to.

4. Unconventional is now conventional. Sixty years ago a gentleman wouldn’t go to work without a hat on; ten years ago they stopped wearing ties. Now you don’t have go into work to go to work… so who knows what people are wearing. But the point is : who cares?! Society cares less about conformity than it used to. This makes it easier to swim against the current. Easier to do something different, challenge convention. If you want to give up your job and travel round the world, learn to juggle, join a commune – your neighbours might cough and shake their heads but you can cope with that… Or they might just tell you how they always wanted to do the same thing.

5. Feeling of Emptiness. You might be asking yourself: Is that all there is? You might work hard for long hours just to pay the bills and be too exhausted to do anything fun. You might ask why you’re so worried about keeping up with the Jones.  What would I rather be doing with my free time? With my money? How am I going to change things? Well… I can’t answer that but I can recommend you use this feeling as a spur to change things. Because let’s face it only you can change it! (and by the way… remember the clock is tick tick ticking!)

6. Make your own path. There’s no job for life any more. For many people there’s no job at all. The great thing is you have nothing to lose. We all have to be entrepreneurs now: Entrepreneurs in spirit!  Fight the gloom and make your own job or make the change you want in yourself and in your life. See it as an opportunity and go for it!

7. Fear and Regret It’s totally normal to be scared of doing something different and taking on a new challenge. But I tell you what is a whole lot worse than being scared of something: It’s looking back on your situation ten years from now and regretting that you never took the risk. Deal with fear and even if you screw up, so what?! Take pride in trying! Ask yourself what pride you can take in not chasing your dream… and you know the answer to that: not much.

8. Observe yourself. Now funnily enough some of us don’t have a burning desire to do a specific thing. But we have a nagging sense that we could be doing something different. So for such people as we then it’s quite difficult to answer the question: “what are you really passionate about?” because we don’t have a burning desire to learn the flute or set up a business. Well here’s a tip: audit yourself. See what you do when your mind wanders. Do you doodle knitting patterns, do you love researching recipes, are you drawn to spend your time rearranging your furniture (and your friends’ furniture) or do you buy extreme sports magazines? You might find you subconscious is giving you clues about where to direct your energy.

9. Set yourself achieveable challenges. Be realistic. Keep your dreams in the clouds… but keep your feet on the ground.  One of the things to watch out for is “bound-to-fail” goals. Some people announce (to themsleves or the world in general) that they have set a goal they can never realistically meet precisely so that they don’t have to really go for it and so that no one ever really expects them to achieve it. They have failure already baked in. Save yourself and everyone else the heartache. Keep it real!

10. 106 billion humans have lived and died At the end I come back to the ticking clock. Nothing is more important than owning your life and the precious time you have. I just hope the people who lived before us had the most fun they could in their short lives on the planet. I hope you do too.

Stop Talking Start Doing: A Kick in the Pants in Six Parts is published by Capstone and is available now.

…alternatively, this is “How Not To Do It” in one simple step. But we all know this one, already.