Taking Action for Personal Growth
So, you want to change and grow. Excellent! But before you start taking action, make sure you have defined your goal, crafted your action plan, and set up accountability. These elements show that you take personal growth seriously, and you’re far more likely to see success with the right foundation in place.
If you’ve already completed these key steps, congratulations! You have put in a lot of work, but so far it has been mostly words on a page. Now you need to take action to put your plan into practice. As Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Get to work!
Decide to Start.
You have committed to change, so now the question is: will you do it? Avoid procrastination—putting off until tomorrow what you can and must do today. You might be paralyzed by perpetual research, analysis, and just “getting ready.” But your action plan will never be perfect, and you already know enough to get started.
You have committed to change, so now the question is: will you do it?
If you find that you have a hard time starting, you might want to ask if you really desire this goal. Are you being drawn forward to accomplish it? Are you committed to following through? If not, take the time now to evaluate what it is that you really want. The goal-setting process up to this point should have helped you clarify your goal, but maybe you were not being honest with yourself.
Now is the time for honesty and action. You are responsible for your choices and actions. Follow through on your commitment. Stop being a spectator to your life. Start!
Take Action Every Day.
As you take action every day, you build momentum toward your success. You build consistency in accomplishing your action plan. Do not give up. Even a marginal improvement in your process can have a huge impact on your results.
What can you do today to move you closer to your goal?
Review your goal and action steps daily to keep your commitment at the forefront of your thoughts. For example, you might post your goal and steps on your bathroom mirror to review each morning, write them on your office whiteboard, or make them the background image of your computer desktop.
What can you do today to move you closer to your goal? Plan to do at least one small activity each day toward your success. Perhaps you need to have a conversation with your accountability partner about your progress. Whatever action it is, do something every day to push forward.
You can generally do more than you think you can do. Be proactive. What is the next thing to be done? How can you take action today to put you in a position for making progress tomorrow? Get out there and work!
Monitor Your Progress.
Along the way, remember to measure and record your activities. You could mark off a checklist (whether paper or digital), keep a journal, or record daily successes on a calendar.
Log your personal growth and successes, your disappointments and obstacles, your surprises both positive and negative. What went well? What went poorly? Write down any tips that could benefit others who might follow your example.
Evaluate Your Performance.
Take time regularly to reflect on your progress and see how far you have come from where you started. Review your performance log both individually and with your accountability partner. Consider these kinds of questions:
- What am I gaining? How does this match with my expectations?
- What obstacles have stymied me?
- What have I learned?
- How have I changed?
- What remains to change?
- What can I do to improve my action plan?
- What can I do differently or better next time?
- What resources would help me?
- What big actions can I take next to move forward in accomplishing the goal?
Consistently evaluating your progress allows you to see the fruits of your labor. Find encouragement to continue as you survey how far you’ve come.
Modify Your Goal and Action Plan.
As you take action, unexpected challenges and opportunities will come up. When that happens, don’t ditch your plan entirely. Instead, choose to regularly make course corrections to your goal and action plan. Refine them as you learn and make progress. Having made progress this far, what should you change going forward?
If appropriate, modify your plan. Were your action steps too hard? Make them easier. Break them down into smaller steps, or consider alternative steps. Remember the goal you are after and adjust your implementation strategy to keep you moving forward.
Be willing to rethink your dream.
Also, how might your goal need to change? Perhaps your dreams have changed over time and in various seasons of life. Perhaps you have found that your stated goal is impossible given the circumstances. Take care not to cheapen your success by doing less than you could do. But also, don’t just grin and bear it to keep up appearances. Be willing to rethink your dream.
You might even appropriately cancel the goal if it is no longer attractive, relevant, or possible. Define another goal that you will pursue, and start taking action toward it.
Like other aspects of life change for you or your accountability partner, honestly communicate the change of priority or attention you are able to give to this relationship. Don’t look for or make up excuses to get out of the situation but recognize the obvious factors that prevent you from moving forward right now.
Taking action ensures your personal growth. While you will experience successes and failures along the way, your mindset and practice will advance your forward. Do your best and leave the results to God. Commit to daily improvement and see how your choices and actions affect your life in ways that you could never have dreamed of before.