Acting in Accordance With What You Want

If you know me IRL (in real life), you’ll know that I often think in blog posts — I see a pattern in my life or the lives of friends and family and suddenly, a short and actionable blog post writes itself my head (kinda like the Matrix, but with words instead of numbers).

This situation is no different. I began noticing that often I and others don’t act in accordance with what we say we want. We tell ourselves and those around us that we really really want to (insert alleged desire here — be a digital nomad, be in a relationship, make speaking engagements part of our business, etc.). Yet our actions don’t align with what we say. We don’t make plans to sell our things and start an online business, we don’t go out and socialize in the hopes of meeting a great partner or get on Tinder, and we don’t set up a speaker page on our website or send out pitches to local groups asking if we can speak to them for free to get more practice.

So, I encourage you to think of something you say you really want. Maybe it’s to get fit, feel more calm and in control as you run your solo business, or to finally get your first ebook written. Now, think about what steps would be required to get you there — like committing to 30 minutes of weight training three times a week, meditating for five minutes per day, or setting aside time to write when inspiration hits.

(Side note: often, taking that first step requires deciding to tenaciously choose action instead of sitting around waiting for motivation to tap you on the shoulder.)

But first, decide if you really want it

Now, this right here is the most important first (and last, as the case may be) step: decide if you want this thing badly enough to work for it. Maybe, if you’re being honest with yourself (which is my favorite new phrase, especially during coaching — so many of my questions now start with “if you’re being honest with yourself…”), you don’t want this thing you say you want.

Maybe the idea of the nomadic laptop lifestyle is appealing but you’d actually rather stay in one place. Maybe you’d rather work on your business than spend time dating right now. Maybe you’re lured in by the glamour of public speaking but writing blog posts and interacting on social media is really more your style.

And that’s absolutely fine! The important thing is to begin to acknowledge when you’re not acting in accordance with what you say you want.

What to do when it’s not that easy

Maybe it’s a bit more complicated than a quick decision. Let’s say that there’s something big standing in your way. Maybe you really want to write for The Huffington Post, but you’re scared of rejection. You want to build your email list, but you’re afraid of looking desperate by sending cold outreach emails. You really do want a boyfriend, but you’re scared of feeling vulnerable. All of these are legitimate fears that often aren’t solved with a snap decision. If there’s something bigger standing in your way, acknowledge that obstacle and start working to remove it or lessen its influence on your life (coaching and therapy are two potential paths).

Most importantly, begin to align what you say you want with your actions -- starting today.

P.S. It wasn’t until after I finalized this post that I realized a lot of the phrasing I use above is based on a conversation with my sister, a behavioral therapist for kids with autism, about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). If you’re looking for an interesting read, check out the ACT Wikipedia page.

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Cristina Roman is the Founder and Co-Head Honcho of One Woman Shop (the awesome site you're on right now). When she’s not working on One Woman Shop, she takes salsa classes, listens to NPR podcasts, drinks too much coffee, and explores her stomping grounds of Antigua, Guatemala. Find her on and over on her coaching website.

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