• Mark Hannafin

The Power of Action

Over the last two to three years, I have continually focused on developing myself and forming new and better habits, to replace the unproductive and negative tendencies I came to associate with my life. This development is ongoing and I have no dought that it will continue for the remainder of my life. So after two years what has changed? Plenty…… and I could spend all day telling you how great I feel that I’m on this journey, but that won’t help anyone to learn because no matter how much you read and want to change, reading and listening to experts is pointless without taking action. In order to improve, we must do more than simply wish for it.

Now I know you will probably be thinking that’s an obvious statement and who doesn’t know that. Well, it’s still worth stating. We all know it’s good to exercise but not everyone does; we are aware that eating healthily and cutting back on caffeine would be beneficial and some of us could do with trying to break the habits we have formed. Some of us may be good starters but lack the staying power to keep going; others find it hard to start and continue to put it on the long finger. We may often find that it’s our old inefficient habits holding us back. Changing or starting something new can be arduous and that first step can be the most important.

Some habits are easier to change than others, habits that require our physical bodies or actions can be easier although others would argue that point. Those that are mental and require thought, and sometimes deep thought, can be harder as the changes aren’t as obvious. I had a friend tell me once that he liked going to the gym because he could see and feel the improvement, and that’s what kept him going. To keep developing your self-discipline and self-awareness is different in that nothing changes dramatically to indicate how well you are progressing. Nevertheless, being aware of thoughts and actions is a good first step, being aware of when a bad habit is telling you what to do and being able to tell yourself to do something to change it can, in fact, be challenging.

Discussing my journey with another friend of mine to find that they too had a similar experience about wanting to improve. Describing how he was once lazy and unwilling to do anything with his life, he got a cosy job and lived at home, didn’t have to pay rent and was only a few minutes’ drive away from his job. After a couple of months he discovered that life was boring; he was unfulfilled. So he set out to change. Being lazy and unmotivated was a problem, however, because he had formed an array of bad habits. He described to me how doing anything productive was hard and he would often find himself sitting on his couch as he had always done in the past. Procrastination he said had gripped him so each day was about doing something productive and moving in the right direction, even if that movement was slow. Some weeks were good and others were bad and sometimes he would completely fall back into his old patterns. It was a constant battle of mentality, starting, stopping then starting again, going good for a few weeks, then falling back on old ways again. Eventually after nearly a year of ‘stop start’, he said things were falling into place, TV didn’t interest him and computer games were only an occurrence, once in a while, and he had little interest in scrolling through social media. Now he was working on his new life and his new career, had left his job and was looking for new exciting opportunities.

This story of mental development indicates the struggle of changing something that is ingrained within your habits. My friend was a procrastinator and it wasn’t until he decided to better himself that change happened, for nobody could have changed him except himself. Equally as important as his decision to change was the action he took to become a better person. As his long-term goal was to be a highly proactive person, each week he put one task before him which was to encourage him to be less lazy than the week before. He said that trying to be an enthusiastic human every week was impossible in the beginning. Having too much on his plate at once was draining and he felt guilty when he didn’t get what he wanted done. This just ended up with him back in front of the TV the next week.

Taking action isn’t a once off. It is a monthly, weekly and daily occurrence. It’s a constant reminder to move, to do what we want, to be the person we want to be. Wishing to be better is the same as wishing to win the lottery without buying a ticket. If you want to improve, you must do so each day. Sometimes we will fall and forget, but tomorrow is another day and another chance to improve and develop that new habit in which only you have the power to make happen. Act Now.

To read more of my work go to my website: https://markhannafin.wordpress.com

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