Building a Bridge over the Inaction Chasm

There is a void that exists in front of each of us.  I call it the “inaction chasm”.  It is that space that exists between the thought of what we should do and the first step of action.  For some, this chasm is smaller than others, but leave no doubt, it exists for everyone.

Determining how to bridge this chasm and get ourselves from inaction to action is difficult.   The idea of taking that leap, no matter how big or small, from inaction to action is scary.  I have a whole arsenal at my disposal that holds me back.  My main go-to’s are:

  • Research research research: I love doing research beforehand to make sure that when I start, I will execute perfectly.  I use this tactic to stall my action because it feeds my desire to be good at everything I do.  By hanging my hat on research, I can avoid these potentially painful experiences.
  • Plan plan plan: I am a great planner.  I can break down a goal into milestones and create action items with realistic deadlines.  But I struggle to implement this perfect plan.  I am so comfortable in the planning phase that I default back to it time and again, ultimately using it as a crutch to keep me from taking action.

I get caught in the loop of research and planning routinely announce to myself, “Tomorrow I will put this into action.”

The problem is that tomorrow never comes.  One day, the light bulb came on and shined its light into the dusty corners where I have hidden the truth from myself.

Truth: I am scared to start.

Scared to accomplish the goals I have spent so much time planning for and researching?  Scared of what will happen if I don’t succeed? Scared what will happen if I do?

Simply, we all grow comfortable with the place we are sitting right now.  As humans, our natural tendency is to make thing easier.  This is a survival instinct.  Gathering food from easier sources is smart when you are fighting every day to survive.  Those days are past, however.   We have to make the conscious effort to push our boundaries in order to keep growing otherwise we will stagnate and wither.

I certainly don’t have all the answers because this is indeed a great struggle of mine, however, here are steps I have taken to build that bridge:

  • Eliminate Distractions – Examine your life and habits and see what is present that gives you the “excuse” of distraction from the hard goals.  For me, like many, this is television and social media so I have limited the time I spend on them, many days eliminating them all together.
  • Make taking the first step easy  – Preplanning my meals so I don’t have to think about what to eat each time mealtime comes around makes choosing healthy foods easy.  Or laying out running clothes the night before so I don’t have to think about what to wear when my alarm goes off early in the morning.  Anything that prepares you to take action with little effort is helpful.
  • Surround Yourself with Community – Choosing to surround yourself with others who share the same goals provides support when times get tough.  They can be there for you when you need motivation and you can be there for them when they are in need.
  • Make Your Goals and Progress Public – When we put our goals out into the world it helps to keep accountability.  But it works better when you also share your progress.  Knowing others will cheer you on, encourage you, and celebrate your small wins along the way helps keep the passion and excitement burning when the hard work becomes mundane.

The inaction chasm is transformable.  The power to shrink the chasm is within each of us.  The first step is always the hardest and the smaller the chasm is, the easier it is to take that first step.  Focusing on making that first step easier will give you the power to keep moving.

CALL TO ACTION: Share in the comments actions you take to make the first step easier to take.

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