Rich Roll, author of the book Finding Ultra, was 50 pounds overweight and about to turn 40 when his spark of inspiration hit—he was struggling to climb a simple flight of stairs and knew it was time to make big changes. He committed to a new diet, started training, and within two years, was competing in elite Ultraman events. We asked Rich for his tips on turning those sparks of inspiration—whether you want to get fit, change your career or volunteer in your community—into real action. —BBL Editor
We all want to be inspired. In fact, we crave it. It feels great when we meet a person, have an experience or watch a video that uplifts us, our senses powerfully altered. Unfortunately, that emotive spark is typically temporary, quickly fading and failing to translate into any tangible action, let alone sustainable self-improvement. The bulb quickly dims, and it’s back to the status quo.
Why? We’re busy. The boss is calling, the kids are crying, and we have bills to pay. Believe me, I’ve been there. I get it. But I finally realized that change is always within our grasp, irrespective of circumstance. It’s never too late.
The key is harnessing that spark of inspiration—whatever it may be—to alter your conduct. It starts with a decision followed by action, which when sustained over time, can improve your life in ways you couldn’t possibly predict. It happened to me. And I’m here to say it can happen for you, too.
Sign up to receive inspiring, expert advice on living your best life from Books for Better Living and Penguin Random House.
Here are five tools I use that have helped me tremendously:
1. The power of the pen
When the spark is lit, stop everything, put pen to paper and actually write out (don’t type!) the personal change you wish to actualize. The power of this exercise cannot be overstated.
2. Goals—get specific
Vague notions of someday learning how to play the guitar, “get fit” or work on your stand-up comedy act don’t cut it. Take the time to devise a detailed road map peppered with interim milestones. Then get off your butt and execute it. Holding yourself accountable to others can help keep you on track.
3. Don’t overthink it—just begin
What are you waiting for? Stop deliberating—inaction is an affront to inspiration. Begin immediately, even if it just means making one phone call, going out for a 10-minute jog, or declining one dessert. Baby steps, taken indefatigably over a protracted period of time, move mountains. Consistency is to be respected and never underestimated.
4. One day at a time
Fall off the wagon? So what? None of us is perfect. Let it go and move forward. Dwell on a misstep and you have made a second mistake that can take you permanently out of the game. Just let it go and take the next right action.
5. Journey orientation
It’s easy to get discouraged by the implausibility of your dream. So forget about it. Instead, stay present in the moment of your new journey. Rather than obsess on what it will be like to cross the marathon finish line or how you will look in that bikini next summer, embrace the joy of traveling unchartered waters.
Tread this path with passion and commitment and you will soon realize, as I have on countless occasions, that the universe will conspire to support your dream in amazing and unpredictable ways—I guarantee it.
Join me. Take the leap to a better you. And prepare to be astounded. I dare you.
Learn more about Rich and Finding Ultra at findingultra.com.
Illustration: Marie Guillard/em>