Why do I struggle to take action? It’s a question that has bothered me for as long as I can remember. I know what I need to do – whether it’s finishing that book that’s been sitting on my desk for weeks or sticking to my working routine – but for some odd reason, being able to take action is a struggle.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that the battle between intention and action is like a never-ending tug of war in my mind. On one hand, I have all these grand plans, aspirations, dreams, and goals – things that actually inspire me. But on the other hand, there’s this invisible force that holds me back, making it feel impossible to move forward and get things done.
After spending a significant amount of time researching productivity and flow while experimenting with a number of different solutions, I think I’ve cracked the code on why we struggle to take action and it boils down to three main reasons.
Reason #1: The Comfort Zone
One culprit behind my struggle to take action is undoubtedly my comfort zone. Ah, yes, that cozy little bubble where everything feels safe and familiar. It’s like a warm hug that whispers sweet nothings in your ear that eradicate your drive to accomplish things.
Why take risks when you can just stay right here? Because growth happens beyond our comfort zones!
In some cases, it is downright terrifying to step out of our comfort zone. There’s always that fear of the unknown lurking in the shadows. What if I fail? What if it doesn’t work out? These questions fill our heads with doubt and keep us locked in place.
The unfortunate reality is that mediocity thrives within the comfort zone.
There comes a point in life where we have to embrace the discomfort that comes from being mediocre, average, slow, and unfulfilled. Most of us make changes when we are desperate to feel better.
If we can make laziness, lethargy, and slowness absolutely uncomfortable, we can use comfort as a driving force to take action on things that mean something to us.
Reason #2: Paralysis By Perfection
Another enemy of action-taking is none other than perfectionism, that overwhelming and annoying devil that tells us everything has to be flawless before we even get started. Hands up if you’ve ever found yourself trapped in this never-ending cycle of it’s not good enough yet?
The main issue with perfectionism is that it sets impossibly high standards that are nearly impossible to meet.
It’s like sitting in front of a laptop screen and waiting for the perfect sentence to start writing. But guess what? There’s really no such thing as the perfect sentence and if you never get started, you’ll never write a single sentence ever.
I’ve come to realize that action isn’t synonymous with perfection. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Action is messy, imperfect, and filled with trial and error. It’s about taking that leap of faith without knowing exactly where you’ll land.
Accept the messiness that comes from taking action. Be prepared to make a fool of yourself. Embrace the discomfort that comes from being critiqued. Give yourself the freedom to be ruled by nothing more than action.
This is the most effective way to overcome procrastination caused by perfectionism.
Reason #3: Casualness
While sipping on my cup of tea and contemplating the same problems I always fixate on, it dawned on me that I take my problems too seriously.
I’m so fixated on what I don’t want that I spare little thought for what I do want.
In doing so, I’m casual about things that matter.
Productivity toward important goals and dreams requires some degree of obsession. Being passionate, invested, committed, and obsessed by the things you truly want to do in life is how you create thoughts and feelings that facilitate action towards the acquisition of those things.
When you shift away from dwelling on problems and fixate on solutions, that’s when change actually occurs.
Be annoyingly serious about what you want to accomplish in life. Make it a priority by sacrificing the things that inhibit productivity.
When I’ve fallen deeply into the pit of overthinking and casualness, I meditate on the idea of my death. By reaffirming my mortality, it creates a compulsion within me to experience life with enthusiasm.
Going forward, let’s surround ourselves with positivity and support. Find a mentor or join a community of like-minded individuals who can offer guidance, encouragement, and accountability.
Sometimes all it takes is a friendly nudge or a gentle push from someone who believes in you to get things rolling.
Taking action is undoubtedly challenging. But it’s also something we can overcome with time, practice, and a little self-compassion. Regardless of how small or imperfect our steps may be, they matter in the grand scheme of things.
So let’s break free from our comfort zones, ditch perfectionism, and start embracing action as our ally rather than our enemy. Life is too short to stand still; let’s take those vital steps towards our dreams and make things happen!