How to kick butt when it’s your butt that needs kicking

Butt kicking.

Done for the right reason – to get someone unstuck and back on track toward their important goal – it’s a valuable and compassionate tool.

But what do you do when the butt that needs kicking is your own?

We’ve probably all experienced being both kicker and kickee; the trick is getting good at playing both roles simultaneously, if need be. Here are very effective tools, drawn from my own kickee experience.

Ask, “WWID?”

It’s challenging to view your own actions as if someone else were taking them. It requires a lot of honesty and courage, and it can be just the kick in the butt you need to stop procrastinating.

When you realize you’re stressing out because you’re making zero progress toward an important goal, ask yourself, “What would I do if I saw someone else acting like this?” If the answer is, “lose patience, roll my eyes, tell them to get a grip,” you’ve taken the vital step of becoming aware that you’re the one in need of a nudge into action.

What’s it gonna get you?

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the nuts and bolts of an activity – particularly a challenging one – and forget why you’re doing it.

For example, I’m currently dealing with the beast known as media buying on Facebook. None of this is intuitive for me, and I found myself wanting to just walk away from the latest frustration. Just before I succumbed, however, I remembered that this process is one of the ways I’m going to finance a backyard pool. Given that current temperatures are in the 90’s and humidity is in the upper 80’s, this realization was enough to keep me at my computer. (And, yes, I did successfully tame the beast – at least for the moment.)

Do something.

I know: This is a drum I beat all the time. That’s because it’s so powerful and so often under-utilized.

Getting in motion is always harder than staying in motion. Take a tiny first step, then use that as a springboard for the next tiny step, and the next, and the next. Getting toward your goals one baby step at a time is just as effective – and a lot more likely – than getting there in a single giant bound. And it will lead right into the next tool.

Make action your default.

Just as procrastination is largely a matter of habit, taking action can also become a matter of habit. Daily action will ultimately not only get you where you want to be; it will also turn you into a habitual doer.

But physical action is not the only way to develop this habit. You can also get your head in the game by creating – and using! – a daily affirmation to encourage yourself.

One person’s affirmation is another person’s nagging, so it’s important to create one that resonates with you. My personal favorite is, “Action always feels better than inaction.”

Enlist a co-kicker.

Also known as an accountability partner.

If the preceding techniques just aren’t cutting it for you, your designated co-kicker can step in and help.

Here’s a case in point. On the weekly call with one of my own accountability buddies, I was taking my own sweet time making a commitment about what I’d do prior to our next call. At one point Windy said “I’m hearing talk but not a commitment.” Ouch. It forced me to ask whether I was simply processing my thoughts out loud (which is what I thought I was doing) or if I was just trying to weasel my way out of the commitment. I decided it was a little of both, and proceeded to bottom-line my comments.


Does this ring a bell for you? Do you find yourself stalling your forward progress because of inaction? Do you feel some butt-kicking is in order? I’d be happy to help. ☺

Check out Do It Now!: How to take action, get a move on, and make things happen. This short-read e-book, based on my own and my clients’ progress from procrastinator to doer, will provide additional tools to make your own journey easier. You can look inside it here.

(BTW, thanks to scott feldstein for posting the fabulous butt-kicking image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)

This entry was posted in take action.

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