Ep. 173 When you’re not taking action

not taking action

In this week’s podcast, Anna explores what’s going on when you’re not taking action on your most important goals.

When you’re not taking action on what you tell yourself is an important goal, it can be incredibly frustrating. Soul destroying even. Because you say you’re going to do something and then you just don’t. So what’s going on? Why aren’t you taking action? Here are three possible explanations.


*Resources mentioned during the episode*

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When you’re not taking action


Hello. Hello. And welcome back. We are back with a bang to talk about not taking action. I know it’s ironic, but it’s an important one. So I’m sure it’s a familiar one to many of you, when you have this amazing goal, you’ve decided you’re going to do it. You keep recommitting a little bit like those new year’s resolutions, right? In that we set them every year and yet we just don’t do it. And I’ve shared many times in the past that I’ve said, you know, I, I really want to focus on getting [00:00:30] more media, publicity and then I’ve just not gone ahead and pitched myself. And of course, if you don’t pitch yourself, then nobody’s going to know that you want to write and they won’t allow you to write. It’s very simple. So when not taking action, people say… I’ve got a business idea. I’d so love to work for myself. And yet they don’t go ahead and do it even to try it as a side hustle. 

So I really love to go travelling. I just interviewed, in fact, she’s coming up, uh, next in a couple weeks, I’d say, Nope. She already came up a couple of weeks ago. Sorry. The time is relative, the space-time [00:01:00] continuum is a bit odd when you recording a podcast, but you will have heard her Eva Jergenson, um, a couple of weeks ago on the podcast sharing her story of wanting to travel for 10 years plus, and finally committing, as she said, it’s not just a decision, but actually going with her husband. Okay? Yeah, we’re gonna do it. Sold the house, off they went and they’ve had the most amazing time and never looked back. So the question is when you’re not taking action, why is that? Why did it even not make that decision earlier? Why didn’t I not leave my job earlier? [00:01:30] Why did I not work on securing media coverage earlier? 

Right. So I have three scenarios and, and have a listen and see, well, first of all, have a think of a goal. It could be a small goal. It could be a huge goal or project. I’ll give you a moment. Now, have a think about something where you think you want it. You’re pretty sure it’s a clear goal, and yet you’re not doing it. Do you have something in your mind? If not, then pause and, and have a think. Once you have that, I wanna give you three possibilities. Number [00:02:00] one, when you’re not taking action on your goal, you might have another competing goal that you believe is more important. Now I say you believe, but it might be subconscious. So let’s take an example. If I say, I want to lose weight, get fit, dah, dah, dah, dah, the usual new year’s resolutions. And you’re not doing it. 

This is a bit of a poor example, but cuz it’s not so much to call, but then maybe my immediate goal that’s the short term versus the long  term is actually I just want to relax. I’m going to sit on the sofa, watch this latest Netflix season of whatever, and I’m going to eat this muffin. And so actually there, I think you haven’t articulated your goal proper, right? Because yeah, yeah, I wanna get fit, but that’s a bit too vague. And we’ve talked about that many times, maybe a more profound example and a bigger one. Okay. I want to work for myself. I want to follow my passion. 

My curiosity. I want to have freedom, flexibility. I want to travel. And yet underneath that, there’s a subconscious competing goal, which is I want to provide for my family. I want to have a secure income. I want to be able to invest in my pension and so on.

So, you know, that’s a goal that’s sort of implicit, but we haven’t, and it’s not one or other, but in your head somehow there’s something holding you back because secretly there is a hierarchy of goals. And this goal that you think you want is actually lower than [00:03:30] you think, at least subconsciously that’s the case. So if that’s not the case, then obviously uncovering. This is really important. If you sit down really think about what, what might be holding me back, you know, is there something else going on that’s more important to me then that will help you to reevaluate. 

Maybe that’s changed and that’s all you need to do that little exercise of looking at what your other goals are. Actually, you know what, no, uh, I have that security or I don’t need that right now. I priorit I’m single as I was, you know, 2030 when I quit. My job, security is not the [00:04:00] top priority for me right now. This goal of fulfilment and finding myself and travelling was more important, right? So number one reason why you’re not taking action on what you think is an important goal is that there are other competing, conflicting goals that are more important or that you believe consciously or subconsciously are more important. So let me ask you first, is that the case for you? Is that the reason why you’re not taking action now? Second, if [00:04:30] you are, oh, I should say actually a few more thoughts on this one. If you’re not committed to the goal, what could be the reason, right? It could be that this is someone else’s goal. It could be something you’ve inherited your parents from society. And you feel like this should be your goal. 

It could be a goal that you did set yourself, but it’s no longer meaningful.

Maybe your circumstances, your priorities have changed. When I, uh, met Luke, when I then had my kids, our kids, we had [00:05:00] different priorities to the ones I, when I was a single digital Noma, travelling the world also different priorities than when we were young and, and out, you know, working hard and, and drinking, enjoying life in London. COVID also shifted many of our priorities, right? So circumstances in the world, personal circumstances, priorities can change. So are your goals actually, someone else’s, are they old goals that are no longer meaningful? Are they no longer relevant to your situation? And are there more important goals? So I just [00:05:30] wanted to add that a little bit, that it’s, there could be other more important goals. And the reason could be that you’ve taken on someone else’s goals. 

It’s a should, rather than a true goal and or things have changed and it was meaningful, but no longer. Now, now that’s number one, you have other goals that are more important. Now, number two, you are committed. This is definitely your most important goal. So why on earth are you not taking action? Well, probably the answer is fear. So you need to understand what are you afraid of? And I have so many episodes and resources on this, but, but briefly, [00:06:00] are you afraid of failure? Because that’s a big one. What if I don’t make money? What if I look a total fool? I burn bridges. People laugh at me. They judge me. I’m not good enough. I won’t get the income. Nobody will buy my book will join this, et cetera, et cetera. So fear of failure is a huge one. The fear of success. 

And I’ve talked about this before is just as big, if not bigger. What if I get all that media coverage and suddenly all my [00:06:30] heuristics, all my ideas and, and concepts and frameworks are really put up to magnifying glass per put out there in the world and, and people start questioning and I’m asked, I’m sort of held to account for what I believe is important. Suddenly things become really difficult or what if I suddenly get an influx of hundreds and thousands of clients and I can’t cope with it, right? It’s a good problem to have, but I believe it was Brene brown. Who talked about that too. When she initially did her talk, her Ted talk, you know, it was only on, on TEDx. And then it was put on the main Ted [00:07:00] page and millions of people suddenly saw it and she thought, oh my God, I’m gonna kill myself. 

It’s the worst thing that could possibly have happened. So in a weird way, the one thing we will dream of is also the one thing we fear the most. So what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of the success actually, that would come with achieving that goal that you’ve set yourself not to get to deep, but perhaps if you set yourself that dream weight goal, let’s say, are you afraid that you know what, when I lose that weight, nothing will change. I’ll still have relationship issues. I won’t be more confident. There’ll be something else that’ll [00:07:30] appear. And probably that’s the case, right? Because we hang our hopes on this arbitrary goal. Or if I only get 10,000 Instagram followers, or if I only get, you know, five more clients, but then you always look to the next goal and that success is empty. So this is a big one. 

Are you afraid of fear of failure, afraid of fear itself of success?

Maybe that’s the, the reason why you’re not taking action. So that’s number two, you are afraid. And then number three, maybe you’re completely committed. You’re afraid. Although I [00:08:00] have to say, I think we always are a little bit afraid, right? So that never completely goes away. What else is missing? And the last piece of the puzzle, the last possibility is that you just don’t know what to do. You don’t know how to do it. So look, I know exactly my goal. Yes. I wanna be that author. I’m not afraid. I know that there’s a risk that, you know, I won’t sell loads of copies the first time on, but I’ll write another one, another one. It doesn’t matter. Anyway, because for me, it’s the joy of writing and holding that book in my hand, et cetera, but, oh my goodness, how on earth do I start? 

What do I do with a cover [00:08:30] design? How do I do that? And editing and what software should I use and how on earth do I sell it on Amazon? Or how do I go about getting a traditional publishing contract and all these things, right? So the then becomes super important. So again, if you’re not taking action, take a moment to reflect, take the rest of the day to reflect, give this a few weeks, whatever it takes. Sit down with a pen and paper. Now, if you can ask yourself, which of these three scenarios is going on, and if it’s not one of these, let me know and we’ll see if there’s something else going on. [00:09:00] You can always book a call@onestepoutside.com, call that’s one step outside.com call or you can message me on any social channel, Instagram, LinkedIn, I’m happy to address what might be going on for you. 

But most commonly I’d say one of three things. Number one, you’re not taking action because there’s another competing goal that you believe is, or that is more important. Number two, it is an important goal, but you are afraid of failure of success, of many things. Number three, you know, the goal is important. [00:09:30] You’re not so very much afraid, but you just don’t know where to get started. So which of those three would you say applies in your situation, looking forward to hearing your thoughts and I guess to round this off briefly looking at why is this important while it’s important? Because it’s pretty so destroying. That’s the word I always use to think you have a goal to have a goal and yet to never achieve it, keep telling people, yes, one day I’ll do this. I’m gonna do this. And then people check in and you’re like, no, I haven’t [00:10:00] done anything. 

That’s awful. You just feel, you know, every year you’re like, this is the year I’m going to get fit and start running and lose that weight. Or this is the year I’m gonna start that business change career, build my personal brand, write that book, launch the podcast, whatever. And it just doesn’t happen. And that’s so destroying this I more practical reason is that it’s when you take action that all the results come, of course, right? You have to take action to get the results, but also it’s in taking action that you actually get the motivation. People say, you know, [00:10:30] I need the motivation to take action. No, no, you need to take action. And then the motivation will come. So excuse me, I got excited about my next point. My next point is clarity. You need to take action in order to get clarity, we can sit and write strategies and plan things and so on, but we won’t actually know if whatever is something that you’ll enjoy. 

If it will resonate, if it will work until you go out there and start doing something. So action creates clarity action creates con because Hey, I’m out there doing it. It’s not as [00:11:00] hard as I thought and check me out. I’m awesome. And then again, finally, obviously taking action is what’s gonna get your results. So taking action is so important. And so if you’re not taking action, have a think about what’s going on. What’s getting in the way of taking action and let’s work on addressing that. Let’s work on getting a meaningful goal that you want to work towards. Let’s work on building that confidence and resilience. And those are two of my five pillars that I I’ve talked about before. And finally, let’s get a plan in place. Okay. [00:11:30] You know, you wanna do it. You’re not afraid. You’re not too afraid I should say. And let’s now figure out how you’re gonna do it. Hope that was valuable for you. It’s certainly something that, uh, I can use even now. There are a couple of things I’m not taking action on. So I’m gonna do the same exercise myself, looking forward to hearing how you get on. I’ll see you next week. Bye for now.


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