You have big dreams and you keep telling yourself you’ll achieve them someday.
But years or even decades have passed and yet, they remain nothing but dreams.
Don’t worry. As long as you’re alive, it’s never too late.
You can still turn them into reality if you just start.
In this article, I will give you 14 no-bullshit tips that can make you finally start doing what you’ve been meaning to do.
1) Forgive yourself for being “lazy”.
This is the first thing you should do before you start officially doing anything.
Be kind to yourself—seriously!
It’s bad enough that you have other people judging you. Besides, there’s no shame in starting late.
You may have failed to live up to your ambitions in the past. Maybe you wasted too much time procrastinating or partying instead of working on your goals.
But so what?
Even the best of us have plenty of “wasted” time and “squandered” opportunities. And hey, you had a lot of fun didn’t you? It wasn’t exactly wasted time.
Think about it this way. You have plenty of lived experience under your belt, and 30-40 years to make your dreams come true.
Forget the past. Stop looking down on yourself.
Start focusing on the future. Your day 1 starts now.
2) Start your day right.
“If you win the morning, you win the day.”
When the 4 am Club became a trend, I thought it was just a sick fad propagated by those who are fans of hustle culture.
After all, I thought, some people are most productive at night like John Travolta and Barack Obama. And there are those who wake up early but never get anything done.
But after reading the scientific reason why being a morning person can help you succeed, I decided to give it a try. Nothing too drastic because well, I just can’t!
So I tried waking up at 6am instead of my usual 7am for two months straight. And you know what? Just an hour of difference dramatically changed my life!
I’m not just talking about productivity, mind you. It’s also improved my mood and overall wellbeing.
My partner said I’m less grumpy. I wasn’t rushing my breakfast and feeling like I needed to “catch up” on things.
I had time to actually meditate and plan my day.
3) Show up no matter what.
They say 90% of success is showing up. And it’s very true. Well okay, maybe 80% or 60… but you get the point. Showing up is a must if you want to become a doer!
I don’t mean just showing up to meetings and events (although that’s very important too—don’t cancel meetings!). What I mean is showing up on the things you commit yourself to do.
For example, if you want to be a runner, then put on your running shoes and take your morning jog even if you were up late drinking the night before.
It doesn’t matter if you only run a mile that day, what matters is that you went out there and jogged.
Or let’s say you want to start a company, then find a time in your day to sit still and just think about nothing else except your company.
It might feel pointless to always show up when you can’t see any result right away. But that’s literally the kind of mentality you need to throw away if you want to succeed.
4) Be a little bit hard on yourself.
I know this might be against self-care or that this may be too Type A, but hey, you want no-bullshit tips, don’t you? So here it is.
This, right here is the mother of all no-bullshit when it comes to getting sh*t done!
Sure, pamper yourself in your free time. Indulge yourself, so long as it doesn’t mess up your schedule.
But when it’s time to work, you better tell yourself to work. No excuses.
Imagine that you have a coach training you. A coach believes in your potential so he won’t ever say “Sure, no probs. Just chill all day.”
Instead, he will say “Alright, you had enough rest. Time to work. No excuses!”
Being gentle to oneself is one thing. But go too far and you become an enabler. This will never work if you want to be a person of action.
You want someone who’s a little tough—and if you don’t have a personal coach by your side 24/7, you can BE your own personal coach.
5) Be with people who inspire you.
If you want to be a painter, hang out with painters. If you want to try starting a business, hang out with entrepreneurs.
If you want to thrive and be inspired to do SOMETHING, then you should surround yourself with people who you can relate to, support you, and inspire you.
We are all influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. And more than that, you can always pick up little tips and tricks that will help you along.
You aren’t going to learn much about art if you only hang around people who have never held a brush even once in their life… and in fact, you might even get wrong ideas about art that will hold you back!
That’s why having a good community is essential for success.
You’ll be infected by each other’s energies, and this will push you to do more.
Don’t take this to mean you should abandon or neglect everyone who isn’t “relevant” to your ambitions of course. That’s when you can find yourself called a snob and a try-hard, and you don’t want that.
6) Hold yourself accountable.
Go get a goal buddy. Better yet, a mentor.
You have to feel responsible for the things you commit yourself to do.
Not only do they serve as reminders, their presence will pressure you into committing to the goals that you have set.
You can do this with a friend. If you have told them that you’re going to stop smoking and have asked them to help you keep track, you’ll be too conscious to light up when they’re around.
And if they’re especially dear to you, it will help even when they’re not around because you’ll be too worried about letting them down.
7) Start with a few easy tasks.
How you feel about yourself matters a lot. You see, it’s all mental.
If you feel like you’re the kind of person who’s a DOER, then you will be more inspired to work on your goals.
So how can you feel like you’re a productive person?
By doing the small tasks.
If you have several tasks, some of them easier than others, then do the easy ones first. This will make you feel productive and feel better about yourself.
And this feeling of being a “winner” will push you to excel at taking down that hard task.
Sometimes, it’s even possible to tear down these “bigger” tasks into smaller, more manageable projects. And if you can do that, then do so.
Of course, make sure you’re pacing yourself right. Don’t take so much time dealing with smaller tasks that you barely have any to dedicate to the harder tasks you need to do.
To prevent this from happening, do set a time limit to smaller tasks—say an hour max. And stick to it!
8) Do one hard thing.
There’s a sense of satisfaction and relief in having gotten the most difficult task of the day aside.
Doing at least one difficult task a day is a good way to raise your morale, and as was mentioned before, it’s a good idea to build momentum by doing some smaller tasks first.
But don’t make it the last thing you need to do for the day. You can easily find yourself putting it off ‘till tomorrow because you’re too tired to do anything about it.
What usually works for me is that I try to do one hard task before lunch. That way, my afternoons become more enjoyable knowing that I already did what I’m supposed to do.
And once you’ve done your “difficult” task of the day, everything else will be trivial for you… even things that are themselves already difficult.
9) Get rid of distractions (especially the “important” ones)
We live in an age where proper focus is almost impossible. There are too many things demanding our attention, such as social media, TV, games, and easy access to hobbies.
This is quite obvious so I will not talk about this one.
What I want to talk about are the more dangerous distractions—the distractions that appear like they’re important and urgent.
For example, let’s say that you’re working on your novel (your big goal) but then you can’t stop thinking about organizing your bills. While organizing bills seems important, it shouldn’t take your time away from something you’ve been meaning to do!
You can instead dedicate an hour a day or a day a week to them and make sure you don’t touch them outside of the time you dedicated to them.
Better yet, hire an assistant!
There are many other seemingly important distractions that will come up as life gets more complicated. If you keep entertaining them instead of focusing on your goals, then you’ll never go anywhere.
10) Deal with procrastination.
Don’t let procrastination get in the way of your dreams and goals.
Aside from getting rid of distractions, you have to do other things that could help you manage procrastination.
Here are some things that can help:
- Set reminders on your phone
- Push yourself to work even if you’re not in the “right mood”
- Have someone check up on you regularly
- Remind yourself that you don’t have to achieve perfection
- Do your tasks as soon as possible instead of letting them pile up
- Ask guidance from a therapist or life coach
Now, let’s be real here. Everyone procrastinates—I’m sure even Bill Gates and Obama do—so don’t overdo it.
Don’t beat yourself up if you delay things and slack off from time. As long as you’re improving even 10%, you’ll notice a big improvement in your life.
11) Remind yourself of the people you don’t want to be.
You know what’s more effective than inspiration? Fear.
But not the fear of making mistakes (because that can make you procrastinate even more), but the right kind of fear—the fear of becoming one of the people who are just all talk, but no action.
It’s one thing to want to live a chill life without any big ambitions. I personally think it’s fine.
But when you’re ambitious and yet, you just keep setting plans that you never get to execute? Man, that’s just sad.
So visualize the people who you think are all talk and bluster. They could have done better but they didn’t. You don’t want to be in their group, do you?
So start doing what you’re supposed to be doing!
12) Just freaking do it.
Sometimes the reason we don’t do something isn’t because we’re lazy. It’s because we’re scared.
You have to know how to wing it and not give too much of a damn.
In other words, have the courage to just jump.
Don’t worry too much where you’ll land, or that you’ll end up making big mistakes. Remember it’s always better to try and fail than to never try at all.
Besides, what kind of life would that be—to never try the things that you really want to do because of fear?
A life that’s guaranteed to have regrets, for sure.
What are you scared of?
If you’re like everyone else, you’re probably scared of failure, of wasting your time, of wasting the money you invest into it.
While it’s good to be cautious, you won’t get anywhere without taking risks. Just make sure they’re calculated risks, of course.
The only thing you should fear is dying before you even achieve anything, or waking up at 65 and thinking, “damn, I wasted my life away.”
Don’t let fear sabotage your success.
13) Treat yo-self!
There are some of us who need that carrot on a stick to make us go the extra mile and achieve the big goals that we need to reach.
So think of the reward that you want—say, a good day at the spa or a weekend trip to the beach—and use it as your motivation to keep doing things.
Then when you feel demotivated, think about it. Envision it. The more detailed, the better. It could be the trick that would push you to become a doer.
But big milestones aside, being all work and no play is a sure-fire way to see yourself crash and then burn out.
We all need a little motivation to help us through the day—a sweet reward for working on your dreams even if it’s for something as simple as a box of donuts.
So go ahead and set some rewards. Treat yourself for every milestone you achieve, big or small.
14) Recommit to your goals daily.
What’s the point of chasing your dreams if you’re only able to do 10% or 20% of it?
For you to achieve any kind of success, you have to give it all you’ve got, so keep reminding yourself of your goals, what you’ve done, and how much you’ve yet to achieve.
Even the most proactive and hard working people can and will lose motivation and get side-tracked if they don’t remind themselves every so often.
Feel free to use your phone to set reminders if you need to. Some might prefer having post-it notes to remind them of their goals and achievements.
You can do this while you’re taking a shower or having your morning coffee. One thing I find effective is to incorporate it into another habit so it will come naturally.
I do it every time I take a shower, so it now feels unnatural to take a shower without thinking about my goals.
It might seem hard to break out from a slump and actually start doing something.
And not gonna lie, it isn’t exactly easy. You will struggle at first.
But with effort and time, you can rewire your mind so that you won’t even have to think about pushing yourself to “do” things. It’ll be simply second nature to you at that point.
And once you get to that point, it will be mostly smooth sailing and you will wonder why you even had a hard time at the beginning.