Inaction forms the basis of a lot of our failures. We don’t achieve things because we don’t take action when we should. Psychology Today notes that people tend to regret actions, and the norm is usually inaction. However, this mindset comes with its own caveats. Those of us who have dealt with inaction know that it’s a sure-fire way to become stagnated. Progress only comes through action.

Thanks to social media today, it’s easy to see what other people have done in the same time that we have let our inaction get the better of us. The inevitable consequence is that we start regretting not doing things. To be able to change things, we must be proactive. We must seize the day and start doing the things we want to do. That’s easier said than done. How does someone who has a fear of action and likely to fall prey to regret through inaction start moving forward?

Step 1: Set a Goal

A goal gives your psyche a direction to work towards. As The Data Point mentions, goal-setting is an amazingly complex and useful tool to help one’s psychology. Goals are both short and long term, and depending on which one we’re looking at setting, the time range for us to achieve them is crucial. A goal sets a target, and that target can be used to motivate us.

Having a goal allows us to know why we’re doing something and the steps we’re taking to get that thing done. It helps us to budget our efforts and scale our accomplishments. Great goals, for example, are probably unattainable in a short term window. However, breaking those up into smaller short-term tasks makes something that was initially insurmountable seem achievable through dedicated effort.

Step 2: Consider How You Spend Your Time Now

One of the biggest drivers of inaction is wasting time. Making the most of your time doesn’t mean you have to be working every hour of every day. You have to consider your needs and budget your time based on that. Sometimes you may need to have a rest to recharge your batteries. Self-care falls into the realm of proper time management as well. But you need to be honest with yourself when it comes to taking care of your needs. There’s a fine line between necessity and indulgence. For example, you might think you need to say yes to dinner with your friends, and use a good tip calculator to divide the bill, but sometimes it’s better to say no.

The best way to start self-assessment is to take a single day and make a note of how you spend that day. What do you get done on that day? How does it benefit you in reaching your goals? It may surprise you how many hours you waste on social media or checking emails. And finding out where that wasted time goes is the first step in changing your behavior to drive your action. Knowing what you do daily helps you to develop better habits to get things done.

Step 3: Avoid Distractions

Distractions range from social media to real life things that take focus away from what you’re doing. Entrepreneur notes that distractions, along with anxiety and procrastination, make up the reason we fail to achieve our goals daily. There are a few handy ways to deal with distractions before they become an issue. Among these methods are:

a) Develop Focusing as a Habit

Setting aside time to focus is essential because it gives you a window where you’re hyper-focused on a particular object. The American Psychological Association contends that it only takes twenty days to form a new habit. By setting aside time each day to focus on your goals, you may have a better chance of achieving them in time. As it becomes more of a habit, there is less effort behind applying focus during the given time.

b) Avoid Attention Seekers

These aren’t just people who try to command your attention, but rather applications that steal your time. Social media is the number one culprit here, but a more insidious and less obvious problem is that of email. Having to check email updates continually is a sign of obsession and can steal a lot of time that could be spent doing other things. Being informed is important, but setting aside a particular time to check emails makes its impact on your life a lot less and gives you time to be more productive.

c) Set Aside Distraction Time

Developing a time slot for distractions is an excellent way to deal with them. Pick some time for your distractions and then let it run rampant. For some people, this is easy because their schedule is clear cut and they are well-informed as to how their week is going to be. For others, it’s a lot less obvious, especially if they schedule their lives around work that doesn’t have a particular set clocking in and clocking out time. Even so, having time dedicated to distraction that you aren’t allowed to work in can help you be more focused when you do get down to business.

d) Don’t be Afraid of Technology

Technology has advanced to quite a level today, and while there are many ways available for us to distract ourselves, we can just as easily avoid that distraction by putting blockers in place. Using technology to block notification can keep us focused on our task at hand and is less likely to disturb our focus. Many devices come with a “quiet time” setting that people use when they want to get some undisturbed sleep, but a user can quickly adapt it for use with quiet time for keeping focus.

Seizing the Day

To achieve our goals, we must first set them, then pursue them. Along the road to success are a significant number of pitfalls and time sinks that we may fall prey to. We are only human, and because of that, we fall victim to human limitations. However, thanks to technology and our dedication to achievement, we can beat whatever life throws at us. By getting ourselves motivated, we can take action. Once we can do that, there is no regret tied to inaction. The impetus is all yours.