Now, Later or Never

by Jay Elkes

Many things can be delegated, but not physical fitness. As Jim Rohn said “you can’t hire someone to do your push-ups for you.” When it comes to health, we are all responsible for ourselves. For anything you might do, there are three possible times to do it: now, later, or never.

“You can’t hire someone to do your push-ups for you.”— Jim Rohn

The Power of Never

Habits can be hard to break and addictions even more so, but the most direct path to any goal starts with a stop doing list. Many diets list what to eat (for example more vegetables), dealing with what not to eat (for example sugar) by implication. Try identifying a short list of things you eat frequently but should never eat. By itself, that might be enough.

This isn’t just about diet. In the Automatic Millionaire, David Bach talks about the Latte Factor, then cumulative effect of frequent small expenses on lifetime prosperity. Doing something that doesn’t contribute to your goals takes time and resources from something that does.

The most important items on your stop doing list aren’t just consuming resources, they work against your goal. A 250 calorie jelly donut would take an hour of walking to burn off. If you skip the donut and the walk, you’re 250 calories ahead. If you skip the donut and do the walk, you’rre 500 calories ahead, which for many is the difference between maintaining and losing weight.

Later: Procrastination vs Planning

Everything you do means the rest of your list must wait. Important things must be postponed, they must wait for later. If this is part of a plan where important items will get their turn, great. If it is procrastination, it needs to be addressed. Here are a couple key questions.

Did you put the task on your calendar? If so, this is planning. If not, check the next question,

Did you put it on a list you’ll get to? This is also planning. If not, odds are against ever completing the task.

Now: The Moment of Decision

“Our lives are changed by our moments of decision.”— Anthony Robbins

On October 29, 2011 I set a goal to lose 23 pounds. I put the goal in writing, along with a plan for things I would do and stop doing. I had made a decision. The weight came off and hasn’t come back.

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If something changes in the external world, you’ve made a decision. If not, you’ve made a wish. In my case, I implemented my stop eating list and started a daily exercise regimen that continues to this day. Until consistent action has been started, no real decision has been made. That moment of decision, that moment where consistent action begins, has a name. We call it “now” and it is the only time anything can change.

Summary

Deciding not to do something frees up time and resources. Deciding not to do something counterproductive is a big step toward achieving your goal.

Putting something off until later can be either procrastination or planning. If it isn’t on paper somewhere, it’s probably procrastination. Don’t fool yourself.

“Inaction that results from indulgence is procrastination. Inaction that results from attention is patience.”— Rory Vaden

You know you’ve decided to change your life when planning stops and action begins. All you need to know are the outcome you want and the next action to take.

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