If you’re like me (and most people on the planet), you have plenty of ideas that could potentially change your life dramatically. Perhaps you’re thinking about losing weight, or starting your own business, or writing a novel: you might even have several great ideas jostling around in your head.
The problem comes, though, in the gap between idea and action. It’s easy to get excited by a great idea or an audacious goal – it’s a lot harder to put in the work that gets you from A to Z.
Here’s how to take those ideas and make them real:
- Choose ONE Idea
However many ideas you’ve got, try to pick just one thing to focus on first. That way, you’ll be much more likely to succeed: you won’t burn yourself out by trying to do too much, and you won’t find that some of your ideas are getting sidelined by others.
If you’re not sure where to begin, choose an idea that will fit into your current life (with, perhaps, a few tweaks to your priorities and commitments). Don’t quit your job in the hopes that your as-yet-non-existent small business will work out – instead, work on building up your self-discipline with a goal that you can achieve while in your current job, like losing weight or taking an evening class.
- Create a Solid Plan
Whatever your big idea is, there’s a good chance that other people have tackled something similar. If you want to run your own restaurant business, talk to restaurant managers, or look for books that could help. If you want to get fit and healthy, talk to your doctor or the staff at the local gym.
Once you’ve gathered some advice about turning your idea into action, write a plan. Give yourself specific things to do. For instance, if your big idea is “write a novel” then your plan might look like this:
- Summarize the key theme of the novel in one or two sentences
- Write a short description for each main character
- Plan out crucial events in the plot
…and so on.
You might not be able to create a complete plan from A – Z right now, but you can at least map out the steps from A – B and B – C. Try to set deadlines for your first few actions, to help you get moving.
- Get Support From Others
Tell friends and/or family about your big idea. You might need to select the people you confide in carefully – who’s most likely to be encouraging and supportive?
By letting other people know about your plans, you give yourself another reason to stay on the path towards your goal: if you back out now, you’ll have to tell everyone that you’ve quit. Plus, the people around you may be able to support you in practical ways – for instance, a colleague at work may have a useful diet book that they can lend you, or a family friend might share some great tips on running a small business.
- Stay Focused
Finally, you need to stay focused. So many people begin on the path to a fantastic goal only to give up before they’ve made any real progress.
You might find that the first couple of weeks are easy: you’re feeling highly motivated, and you’re excited about your idea. After a few more weeks, though, you might find it tougher going. If you’re going to achieve your goal, you need to stay focused.
That means getting into good habits, perhaps making time at the start of each day to work on this one key goal, or setting aside time at the weekends. It may also mean looking at the other commitments in your life – is there anything you could cut out, or cut down?
The path to your goal won’t necessarily be easy – but it will be rewarding. By staying on that path, right to the end, you’ll achieve something you can be truly proud of … and something that may just change your life.
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