One phrase I hear people say ALL THE TIME is that success is all about "taking action." No matter what your goal is, If you take action, you succeed. If you don't, you fail.
In my experience, that's not the truth.
The truth is that it's all about taking FOCUSED action. That's the distinction that'll make or break you, and help you reach any goal you have.
Here's the difference: people who just “take action” are people who try something, then another thing, then another thing. They follow the shiny objects. Then they generally get upset that "nothing works." From their perspective, they've tried all kinds of things, but absolutely nothing is yielding results.
People who take focused action, on the other hand, don't have that problem. They have a long-term mindset and are committed to their progress.
Here are seven things you can do to take focused action and finally see the results you're looking for:
1. Have a plan with a built-in measurement system.
You can't take focused action if you don't know where you're going. So have a measurable goal and an established timetable. Maybe it's 90 days, 180, or two years out. Then work backward from that plan. What needs to happen for you to get to where you want to go?
For example, let's say you want to lose 10 pounds in two months; what needs to happen? Maybe you need to get to the gym two more days per week and say "no" to at least one late-night dinner per week.
Whatever you want, having a specific goal — and measurable metrics along the way — will help you get there.
2. Have a to-do list or action plan that doesn't freak you out.
Once you create your plan, take daily actions toward whatever you're wanting to create. Make your to-dos manageable — ideally with three to five items per day.
If you could accomplish one or two bigger tasks (out of your three to five) per day, imagine how productive you'd feel at the end of the week?
This is counterintuitive. Most of us have mile-long to-do lists. But the reality is that most people get overwhelmed by those lists and end up doing far less. Or they might do the opposite and get caught up in all kinds of busy work, failing to prioritize the real change-making tasks.
Going the "less is more" route will help you see major momentum without burning yourself out.
3. Chip away consistently.
The best action-takers don't need to see immediate gratification. They know that if they keep plugging away, eventually all of their momentum will add up and they'll see major results.
They know that most "overnight" success stories are years in the making, and they're in this for the long haul.
4. Get help.
If you're trying to get to a new uncharted territory for yourself, it makes sense to cut your learning curve as much as possible.
Invest in courses and mentors who can help you get to your end destination in a faster (and cheaper, when you consider months of trial and error) way.
5. Work with your strengths and delegate the rest.
It's often a lot cheaper (in time and money) to hire people for the things you're not good at. People who take focused action don't waste time trying to learn things that will only slow them down and/or frustrate them.
They hop on sites like Elance, Fiverr, or ask for recommendations, and quickly hire out what they need.
6. Have a positive attitude.
Odds are, obstacles are going to come up. Successful, focused action-takers look for solutions quickly instead of getting into victim mode.
This way, things don't hold them back, and they can keep their focus on getting to their destination as quickly as possible.
7. Make choices based on your goals.
There are always tons of opportunities out there. People who are great at taking consistent, focused action only say "yes" to things that are consistent with where they ultimately want to be. They don't flitter from shiny object to shiny object because their eyes are on the goals they've set out — period.