6 Ways To Become More Proactive Right Now

I’ll do it later.

In a little bit.

There is always tomorrow.

Whether it’s delaying to take out the trash, pushing off those resume updates, or ignoring that much needed conversation with your spouse, many of us struggle with being proactive.

Let’s face it. It’s much easier to say, “I’ll do it later” than to take action in the moment. The problem with this approach is that sometimes later becomes never. In these scenarios, we end up pushing things off until we’ve completely forgotten about them and then are faced with the consequences.

“Becoming is better than being” – Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford

Being reactive to situations can cause those around us to be disappointed, or worse, disappointment with yourself. Deciding to push off bigger decisions, such as applying for a new job or telling yourself “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow”, can lead to an unfulfilled and unhappy life.

Trust me on this, the table didn’t turn in my recovery until I made a conscious decision to take action of my own life.

However, becoming proactive doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to build up new habits, but once you get in a rhythm you’ll be tackling anything life throws at you head on. Instead of relying on luck and circumstances, you’ll be taking control of the situation through your own choices.

In the grand scheme of things, going from reactive to proactive, is really just a mindset shift with the aided help of a little action along the way.

Here are 6 ways to become more proactive in your life today:

1. Smaller is better

Being proactive isn’t about tackling the world’s biggest problems all at once, it’s about consistently taking action ahead of time. When you’re trying to become more proactive, it’s easier to start with small steps.

By breaking your tasks into smaller chunks you’ll be able to feel a sense of accomplishment as you check off each deliverable while also providing yourself a boost of morale along the way. The sense of relief you will experience as you cross each item off your list, will keep you motivated for more. An excellent way to break down your tasks is by setting SMART goals.

2. Focus on the solution, not the problem

Focusing on the problem can cause us to become reactive instead of proactive. When your focus is on how big the pile of dishes is versus the fact that the dishes need to be done, your mind will start flooding with reasons why you don’t need to do them right now. Heck, you may even order take out to avoid the immediate need of a clean plate.

Life’s challenges are no different than a sink full of dirty dishes. When life throws problems our way, we have two choices: to either do something about them before they do something to us (being proactive) or wait until they arrive at our doorstep (being reactive). The sooner you can separate the emotional attachment to the problem, the sooner you can begin to create a solution. Becoming proactive allows you to become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

3. Separate emotions from values

It’s easy to become persuaded to give up; however, true proactivity comes from taking a stand even when you don’t want to. Whether someone crushes your hopes and dreams with an insult or doesn’t see value in what you’re doing, don’t give up right away – stick to your values.

In some cases criticism can be used to make your idea or product better, but try not to let it overtake you emotionally. When you allow feedback to impact you emotionally, you begin to make decisions that are not inline with your values. Learning how to step back from your situation and acknowledge your emotions is key. More importantly, discovering how to disentangle those emotions from your values is crucial in making proactive decisions.

4. Acknowledge setbacks and move forward

Mistakes and setbacks are a part of life. If you want to become more proactive, you need to become comfortable with accepting mistakes upfront for what they are. Remembering that within every setback, a learning opportunity exists, will keep you focused on what is ahead.

It’s better to acknowledge your setbacks now, correct them, learn from them, and then move on instead of dwelling on your past misfortunes.

5. Stay consistent

When it comes to achieving success, we’ve all heard the famous mantra, “consistency is key.” The same holds true for developing a proactive mindset. Becoming more consistent by establishing routines in your everyday life will help cultivate a proactive mindset.

Success is less about getting everything right the first time and more about taking a consistent approach over time. Are you proactively taking steps toward your goals everyday? Do you give up or do you continue when you encounter a setback? Even for the smallest steps, being proactive is all about being consistent.

6. Review your progress

Reflection is an important part of any change in your life. Taking a moment to step back, review your progress, and alter your trajectory as necessary is important in anything you do. When you’re trying to become more proactive, it’s important to keep track of what’s been going well and what you’ve been struggling with.

Maybe you’re doing well being more proactive in the workplace; however, you’re struggling to take hold of your personal relationships outside of work. Whatever the case may be, taking the time to reflect is a sign of becoming more proactive all by itself. It shows that you not only care about what you’re doing but also where you’re headed.

Remember this is your life. You’re in charge and it’s up to you to make the most of it.