This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.
The biggest problem with deciding to do something is deciding to wait to do it. Why put off doing something you really want to do? Anything worth doing is worth doing now. Here are 20 things you need to say to yourself this week – not because you plan to do something but because you’ve already done it. And each is a lot easier to accomplish than some grand, sweeping, hopefully-life-changing-but-in the-end-you-never-manage-to-accomplish pledge. So let’s get started!–Jeff Haden
You have plans. You have goals. You have ideas. Who cares? You have nothing until you actually do something. Every day, we let hesitation and uncertainty stop us from acting on our ideas. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure often stops me and may be what stops you, too. Pick one plan, one goal, or one idea. And get started. Do something. Do anything. Just take one small step. The first step is by far the hardest. Every successive step will be a lot easier.
Everyone makes mistakes. That makes it easy to blame others for our problems. But we are almost always also to blame. We did (or did not) do something we could have differently or better. Instead take full responsibility, but not in a masochistic, “woe is me” way, in an empowering way. Focus on being smarter or better or faster or more creative the next time.
No one receives enough praise. No one. Pick someone who did something well and tell them. And feel free to go back in time. Saying, “I was just thinking about how you handled that project last year” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. Maybe a little more impact, because you still remember what happened a year later. Surprise praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient.
The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown. (At least it is for me.) Yet nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as you think. Plus it’s incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You’ll get that “I can’t believe I jumped out of an airplane!” rush, an amazing feeling you haven’t experienced for too long. So go do something you were afraid to do. I promise it won’t be as bad as you thought.
One of the best ways to motivate me is to insult me — or for me to manufacture a way to feel insulted. I use rejection to fuel my motivation to do whatever it takes to prove that person wrong and, more importantly, achieve what I want to achieve. Call it childish and immature. I don’t care — it works for me. And it can work for you. So next time don’t turn the other mental cheek. Get pissed off, even if your anger is unjustified and imaginary — in fact, especially if your anger is unjustified or angry — and use it for fuel to shake you out of your same thing, different day rut.
Asking someone for help instantly recognizes their skills and values and conveys your respect and admiration. That’s reason enough to ask someone to help you. The fact you will get the help you need is icing on the achievement cake.
Then flip it around. Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness so they hesitate. Yet we can all use help. But don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will automatically say, “No, I’m all right.”
Be specific. Say, “I’ve got a few minutes, can I help you finish that?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. And then actually help. You’ll make a real difference in someone’s life and take a solid step towards creating a real connection.
Pick one thing other people aren’t willing to do. Pick something simple. Pick something small. Whatever it is, do it. Instantly you’re a little different from the rest of the pack. Then keep going. Every day do one thing no one else is willing to do. After a week you’ll be uncommon. After a month, you’ll be special. After a year you’ll be incredible, and you won’t be like anyone else.
You’ll be you.
Most of the time you should worry about what other people think — but not if it stands in the way of living the life you really want to live. If you really want to start a business but you’re worried that people might think you’re crazy, screw ’em. If you really want to change careers but you’re afraid of what people might think, screw ’em. Pick one thing you haven’t tried simply because you’re worried about what other people think — and just go do it. It’s your life. Live it your way.
We’ve all screwed up. We all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, failing to step up, step in, or be supportive. Pick someone you need to apologize to — the more time that’s passed between the day it happened and today, the better. But don’t follow up your apology with a disclaimer that in any way places even the tiniest amount of blame back on the other person. Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. Then you’ll both be in a better place.