Not Getting What You Want? Time To Change Your Actions

Man Climbing Ladder

(Image: Jason Wong)

“To get something you have never gotten before, you’ve to do something you’ve never done before.” — Celestine Chua

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein

Are you doing something over and over but expecting different results? Whenever you want to see a different result in your life, be it a positive change or an improvement in your performance, you have to do something different from what you are currently doing. In goal achievement terms, this is known as changing your strategy to reach your goal.

Change Your Actions to Get Results You Want

Why is that so? Because whatever the actions you have taken thus far aren’t giving you your desired results. Say ABC actions have been giving you ABC results. To get XYZ results, you need to adopt XYZ actions. Repeating ABC actions again and again isn’t going to give you XYZ results — it’s just going to give you the same ABC results indefinitely.

Applying this principle to your life, this means:

  • If you have been trying to lose weight but you are not getting anywhere, you need to change your action plan.
  • If you are a single looking for your soulmate to no avail, you need to change whatever you are doing (or not doing).
  • If you have been trying to change your career path with limited success, you need to change your approach.
  • If you have been in the same income bracket for the past few years despite wanting to earn more, you need to do something different to earn a higher income.
  • If you have been working on your business but you are not making headway, you need to change your actions.

Three things to note here:

#1. Give your actions enough time to play out first

Of course, this assumes you have worked on your action steps long enough to know that they are not working. The amount of time depends on the goal itself.

For a weight loss goal, a month should be a good time frame. For a startup, results may take anywhere from 3 to 6 months or even a year to play out, though you should see some results as you go along. If it’s a big goal, set mini-milestones to track and evaluate your progress. You don’t need to wait for a year to know your startup is not taking off; you can use early indicators like people’s reception and market survey results to see if you’re moving on the right track.

#2. Keep effective actions. Remove ineffective ones.

Changing your actions doesn’t mean chucking aside everything you have been doing. Some of your actions may well be working. Review what you have been doing. Keep the actions which are bringing in results, throw away those which aren’t working, and try new methods. Don’t waste your time doing things which aren’t bringing you anywhere.

#3. The bigger the change in actions, the bigger the change in results

If what you’re doing is not working at all, perhaps you should give your plan an overhaul. The more you change, the bigger the change in results.

For example, say you have been trying to lose 20lbs in the past 2 months. You improved your diet by eating more vegetables. You increased your activity level by walking more. These changes have brought about a decrease in 2lbs. While these actions have brought about their own effects, continuing the same thing (eating even more vegetables, walking even more) probably isn’t going to help you lose 20lbs. To create a larger change, a paradigm shift is probably in order. Maybe you need to cut out sugar altogether. Maybe you need to dramatically reduce the fat in your diet. Maybe you need to eat only whole foods and replace your other foods with them. Maybe you need to track your calories and get on a calorie-controlled diet. Maybe you need a structured exercise regime. Maybe you should hire a nutritionist and/or fitness coach.

Of course, if you’re getting good results, perhaps only a small tweak is necessary. It depends on the context.

Example: Finding Love

Many people have the goal to find their ideal partner. Some are discreet about this. Some are overt about it.

The problem for some singles is that they do the exact same thing (or in some cases, nothing) to find love. Some engage in the same daily routine. Some sit around and wonder why they are still single. Some ignore their desire to find someone and pretend it doesn’t matter. Some wait for fate to bring someone to their lap.

Why is this a problem? That’s because if your actions have not led you to a suitable partner for the past 20 years, chances are the same thing will happen for the next 20 years. Chances are, there are certain beliefs, emotional blocks, environmental constraints, or lifestyle problems that are keeping you from finding a good partner. To get different results, you need to change your approach.

This was exactly what I did before I met my husband. In the past, I was always busy working and nonchalant about finding love. Naturally, I was single the whole time. When I was 28, I decided that I needed to take the step forward to date and open myself to love. After about 9 months, I met my husband, who turned out to be someone I already knew long ago. If I had not opened myself to love, I doubt that our paths would have crossed. It was from addressing my emotional blocks, actively taking steps to find love, and opening my heart to a relationship that I found the right guy for me.

And this is the same for my participants of my Soulmate Journey course, my course on finding love. After years of being single or not having any success with relationships, they decided to take the course, which helped them break their negative relationship patterns. One of my participants found her beloved and got married after years of not having any luck with love, while another participant found her partner after two months of finishing the course.

Example: Personal Excellence

Another example is my site. In less than a year after launch, Personal Excellence had been featured on almost all key media outlets in my country, received a traffic of a few thousand visitors a day, and got on the front pages of major networking sites. At that time it was already performing better than many other self-help blogs across different measures — traffic, unique visitors, pageviews per visitor, and comment count.

The reason why Personal Excellence did so well so quickly was because I continuously changed my strategy to get results. I started off with a traffic building plan. After 1-2 months, I would check the results of my traffic building efforts. If I did not meet my target, I would review my actions and their effectiveness. For the methods that worked, I would keep them. For the methods that didn’t work, I would put them aside. Then, I would research and adopt new methods. I was open to trying every method to build traffic — if it was something I had not done before, I would be game to try it out, even for just one time.

All in all, it was by continuously reviewing and changing my actions that helped me achieve quick results in my business. If I had adopted just one set of actions and stuck with it the whole time, I’d never have gotten such a high readership and exposure in such a short time, or built PE into what it is today.

Start Changing Your Actions

Think of a goal that you want to achieve but have faced limited success. Then, think about the following questions. Write your answers with a pen and paper:

  1. What have you been doing to achieve this goal in the past few months?
  2. Why haven’t you been able to reach your goal? Have you been trying hard enough? Are your actions too restricted? List all reasons and dig deep into the answers.
  3. How can you revise your strategy?
    • What can you do differently moving forward? For example, look at the people who have been successful in achieving this goal. What did they do?
    • What are some new things you can try out? Read 25 Brainstorming Techniques to get new ideas for your strategy.
    • Anything that is working well that you should continue to do?
    • How can you address the obstacles blocking you?

Carry out this new strategy. Review it a few months from now to measure its effectiveness. If you get limited results, it just means that your strategy is not on point. Repeat steps 1-3 to work out a new strategy. Keep changing it until you reach your goal.

As long as you keep reviewing your actions, stick to the most effective methods, and experiment with new approaches, you will eventually reach your goal. :)

Check out: Are You Facing Repeating Patterns in Life?