A sideline view of life can provide you with a sense of complacency – a chance to watch rather than act. Being a spectator is an ideal spot for a time out, but it adds little value if you aspire to achieve your hopes and dreams. The key to self-improvement is to take the initiative that will empower you to succeed.
Taking initiative starts with you and a fundamental belief that you are worth the effort. To accomplish what you aspire to get most out of life, set aside your excuses and focus on implementing a strategic course of action.
The very essence of taking initiative means being proactive, creative, persistent, inquisitive, and confident. As part of the process, you must be willing to delve into your inner self to create personal goals which are meaningful to you and to execute them in ways that are obtainable.
Think about it. How many times have you sought to improve something about yourself and quit before any action was taken?
Take the initiative to build a better, more enriching lifestyle by working through the following:
Understand: Take inventory of who you are and where you want to take your life.
Accept: Focus on what’s important to you and let go of what you have no ability to control. Your inability to accept those things you can’t change will deter you from doing the things you can.
Learn: Keep well informed and make your decisions based upon facts rather than personal opinions or desires. Use reliable resources to educate yourself on what you need to do to improve both personally and professionally.
Be Proactive: Establish a realistic plan that includes your personal goals and action steps for accomplishing them. Limit your personal goals to no more than two or three with action steps that benchmark a realistic approach to completion. Add to your list when the time is right. The best way to guarantee success is start working your plan without overthinking it.
Evaluate: Gauge your progress as you start working through your plan. Be flexible and make the necessary adjustments to any goals and action steps that need tweaking.
Commit: Don’t waiver or give up when the going gets tough. Accept obstacles as part of the process and exploit them as growth opportunities. Stay the course until your goals become a natural part of your everyday living.
Celebrate: After every important milestone, take time to relish in your achievements and applaud yourself for a job well done.
Believe that you can, and you will. After all, it’s all about you and a matter of taking initiative to build a rewarding future complete with health, happiness, and fulfillment.
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Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A. in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University and on the Board for LEARN Idaho. Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging. As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.