Three Counter-intuitive Tips for Taking the Next Steps in Life

Author’s Note: So far, my blog posts have revolved around the world of blogging. But today, I wanted to focus on overall productivity and life progress in general. Who knows, it might be the first in a new series of life-advice articles! Enjoy, and be sure to let me know what you think in the comment section below


Google something like “waiting for when you’re ready,” and you’ll undoubtedly find dozens, if not hundreds, of feel-good articles with the same, tired advice: stop waiting, start doing; stop making excuses; stay focused.

Did you really need some anonymous blogger to tell you those things?

You’re cognizant of the fact that you need to get moving. You’re more stuck for ideas on how to get moving.

You’ve tried and tried to get up and moving instead of just talking about it. You’ve vowed to stop making excuses. You’ve tried every which way to break your habit of procrastinating. But every night, you lay down in bed feeling like you wasted yet another day of your life.

You can’t help but think you’re doing something wrong.

Well, you might actually be right.

But don’t worry: It won’t be that hard to change your ways of thinking. You’re on the right track, but your thoughts are a little misguided – and unrealistic. Take a look at the following pieces of advice. You might realize that, while trying to make improvements in your life, you were trying to do way too much.

Make Plans – But Follow Through

We’ve all heard the saying “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans for it.” The sentiment is clear: many of us spend too much time thinking about what we’re going to do than actually doing it. The advice most people take from this is: stop thinking, start doing.

Think about that for a second: is it really advantageous to dive into life head-first without thinking about where you want to end up?

Would you dive into a pool without a clear idea of how to get yourself back up to the surface?

Obviously, you need to have some sort of plan when stepping out in your next venture in life. Otherwise, you’ll end up wandering through your days without knowing whether or not you’re making any headway.

You absolutely should spend time planning out your path. Identify milestones you aspire to reach along the way so you know you’re getting somewhere. Figure out contingency plans so you aren’t completely at a loss when things don’t go your way. Make sure you have a general idea of the time each mini-task in your venture will take.

Of course, once your plan is in place, get moving, and get moving right away.

Make Excuses – But Take Steps to Fix the Problem

Turn on ESPN and, within minutes, you’ll be shown some commercial telling you to stop making excuses. It seems like sound advice. I mean, only losers make excuses, right?

Not exactly.

We all make excuses throughout our lives whenever we fall short of a goal.

“There just isn’t enough time in the day.”

“I’m not going to the gym in this weather.”

“I don’t know enough to apply there.”

Let he who is without sin, right?

Like I said, we’ve all made similar statements at some point in our lives. But it’s often in what we do after making these statements that define how far we’ll go in life.

If we know we’re short on time, we need to accept that we’ll need to sacrifice some downtime in the future.

If the weather is bad, what’s stopping you from doing some cardio in your living room?

If you feel like you aren’t qualified for a specific position, what can you do to increase your abilities – and your chances at being hired the next time around?

Simply put: It’s not your circumstances that block you from attaining your goals; it’s the way in which you view your circumstances that does.

Instead of focusing on the excuse, push past it. Yes, go ahead and make the excuse, but then let the real battle begin.

The real battle isn’t between you and time, or you and your weight, or you and a job application. The battle is between yourself and your own mindset.

Conquer the way you perceive your life and the world around you, and the roadblocks that have stopped you from attaining your goals will start to fade away.

Put Things Off – But Realize Why You’re Doing So

Humans are not machines. We’re not meant to work tirelessly and relentlessly throughout all of our waking hours.

And we’re definitely not programmed to love work, either.

At a time in which our cell phones, laptops, and other devices are all vying for our attention, it can be hard to stay focused on what we actually need to get done. It’s just so much easier to veg out while playing some silly game on our smartphones.

Why is that? Are you overworked? Are you afraid of failure? Do you not even want to be on the path you’re on?

Your reasons for procrastinating are yours, and yours alone. But the end result is always the same: You don’t get things done.

There are a bunch of ways to overcome the underlying factors that result in your procrastination, and each solution requires you to make changes in your life. As with making excuses, you could either throw in the towel and put off your obligations until “tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow,” or you could figure out exactly why you’d rather waste time on activities that add nothing to your life than actually working toward becoming a better you.

You might realize you’re completely burned out and need a break. That’s totally fine. If you’re not operating at your fullest potential, it might actually be best that you stop working on a specific project for the time being.

If you’re procrastinating because you have a deep-seated feat of failure, you’d do well to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Recognize your strengths for what they are, and focus on sharpening them as you work. As for your weaknesses, focus your attention on them whenever possible. Read professional development materials, or sign up for continuing ed. classes. Don’t just wallow in your sorrows believing you’re “not good enough.” If you’re not actively trying to improve – you’re right.

If you waste a lot of time instead of working toward your goals because you feel like you’re just going through the motions and don’t really even want to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself – change them. Do it now, before it’s too late. The longer you wait to start doing what you want to do in life, the less time you’ll have to actually do it.


We’re all guilty of acting in ways that hold us back from reaching our true potential – and we even know when we’re doing it!

But we also have likely figured out ways that work best for us as individuals when it comes to breaking bad habits and improving our situation. What methods do you find work best when you find yourself in a slump?