How to take action in your life

Most people desire to change

Everyone wants to change and improves themselves in one way or another. May it be start to working out as you new years resolution, to quite smoking or to start eating healthily or eat less to loose some extra weight. The desire to change and self improve is one part of the first step. It’s having an idea of what your problem is.

The only problem is we don’t take action to improve that of our life or we do start but drop the ball shortly after. This is why you see the gym is full of people on New years and in April it’s back to its normal state; only having the people who are really committed.


Being comfortable

If you’re new to starting a job and just settling down, grasping on for dear life! You’ve finally made it! Day by day goes by, going to that same job is getting mundane, you come home exhausted and fall straight to sleep and do nothing else. This is when you get comfortable with your situation, you stop growing and trying to improve and do better. Just like you were trying to get this job. You get comfortable, you are stuck in a rut and you don’t move forward.

Getting stuck

You may be the most enthusiastic, most determined person working to achieve the one that you have focused on for months. Many determined people achieve there goal from months or even a 1 or 2 years of work. The only problem is once you have achieved this goal is your leading question, what do I do next? Where do you go from there? What do you do?

While you experience new relationship, job offerings and soak up its goodness for that moment you’ll often find yourself hitting a wall.

Not valuing your time

I often fell victim to wasting my time. I would often waste countless hours on entertainment, social media, constantly check for updates on my phone. I would always put off the things I wanted to do, but layed it off because I didn’t feel like it or wasn’t determined enough. Not valuing your time can be detrimental to achieving you passion in life and make you unhappy


Procrastination is just being lazy, plain and simple. It’s a weak mindset of putting things off until you driven by deadlines to complete something that in result is very sloppy and of poor quality.

One way to beat procrastination is by evaluation, goal setting and taking action. There is a simple and stress free way of achieving your goals. It’s a tried and true method by using a systematic approach and routines. It takes less willpower but only requires discipline. This approach can be applied to anything in your life. Whether it be breaking though to a new part of your career or writing your English paper.

Evaluating the context. Say you are given a task or an assignment. It has a list or requirements for you to complete and it’s stamped with a due date for when you have to turn it in. Firstly you need to understand your requirement fully, that is the only proper way of solving a solution. Read your requirements and understand what’s expected of you. Break down the requirements into small sections of work

Setting goals. You need to set realistic expectations of what is required to complete this goal and when you expect to complete it by.  It could be as simple as Write an Intro to this post. Due by 10:00am.

Execution. Taking action can be one of the most difficult parts. Most of the time people avoid it completely by fear of failure. Experiencing failure is how we learn. Understanding your failures and how to overcome them will help you get back to working towards your goal.


Starting someday

Some people often believe that there time will come, opportunities will someday. And someday that they’ll become a rock star and be wealthy and successful. If you have this mind set of thinking it will happen someday, it won’t ever happen.

You have to bite the bullet, you need to take action for yourself, you need to move the ball forward.

Just do it later





Fear of failure

Really taking action and doing something is something that’s not so difficult to do. You can easily start something, but the determining factor is if you decide to continue. Success without failure is very unlikely. Having failures and understanding them will help you grow, it will tell you where you went wrong and what you did.

Being uncomfortable

Doing something that makes you uncomfortable and continue doing it. That truly is when you can learn and grow. Defining routines and having a road map on when and where you are going really dulls down your discomfort. When applying for a higher education, you have a guide of when and what you’re learning.

Being uncomfortable is something to embrace. I spend three months studying a book, cover to cover for Java Spring and yesterday when I tried to apply any of it, I couldn’t. I felt ashamed and fraudulent. This is okay though, I had realized I just hit another wall. What I did was start to code and try to apply some of these principles I remembered.

I had this approach of studying the mechanics of learning to crawl but not crawling myself, when I tried to started to actually crawl, I felt very uncomfortable, but I learned I was learning a lot quicker.


Your opportunities

People are going to have a better start than you in the race. Weather it be they had a head start into their career, or opportunities that gave them a certain job or even someone to point them in the right direction.

success in the right direction











Coming from an IT background myself, I didn’t have any guidance on where I should go or giving experience into a field to understand what it really was like. Some guys did have better opportunities of like one of there parents knew how to program or are a software developer and was able to introduce them to programming, but most often I was just lazy.

With the power of the Internet you certainly learn to take full advantage of resources to become an expert in a certain topic. The opportunity we have is limitless, but some people think that we don’t. You can have the mindset of saying that someone else has a better education than you, therefore he should have a better job and better opportunities than you. Ask yourself, why not you?

I adopted this mentality and held on to it thinking I wasn’t for me. I would think that someone is just good at Maths, they find it easy to learn and understand and here I am failing Maths. This is a weak way out. Yes sure, it is easy for that person, and you most likely have to study twice or more harder than he has to. I life by this motto of “You can always outwork someone who has more advantages than you.” It is going to be tough, difficult and at times you are going to want to give up. But if you can out work them, you can surpass them.

At some areas of your life you need to make sacrifices, like to choose to stay home on Friday night and study a web framework, rather than go out with your friends; in my case.

Think of it as a running marathon. Everyone at the line and ready, except some people are pushed forward a few hundred meters. Are you going to say that’s unfair? Why did he get to have a head start? You’re competition is a further than you, but in some cases they got there by walking or only jogging to that point because somehow they had the opportunity of getting there… You can outrun them! Yes it is going to take a lot more work but when you sprint past them, you have outworked them. But don’t stop there, in the distance are still some people ahead! Pass them too and keep running.

running a marathon

Comparing yourself

Of course when you are running this marathon you will have competition by your side. You notice he might have a nice pair of shoes on and you don’t. I’m not saying you should compare yourself to other people. It doesn’t make any sense because there are just so many people ahead and next to you. You shouldn’t do this because you’ll never feel fulfillment. Rather compare yourself to who you were yesterday, maybe you practiced running this race and see how you have changed. Look at yourself from 5 years ago. Did you even start running then?

Letting circumstances restrict you

Your circumstances for what ever it may be, you have dyslexia (I do) and struggled severely with Math or English during high school. Unfortunately I did let this limit me. I often gave up easily on English studying, I was failing the subject even when I tried my best at times; It was a lost hope for me. Maths was the same. I remember starting grade 10 with an introduction class. The teacher did basic algebra and more basic formulas. Yet I still couldn’t grasp the idea and too gave up on that. I limited myself to what I thought I couldn’t do, and believed that I was just bad in those subjects.

I didn’t try to put in much effort with Maths. A few months later I dumped Maths and moved on to Maths Literacy, where I excelled in. But yet it was too easy. I really missed Maths, even though I was terrible at it. I longed for something in between.



I used to have the mindset of thinking that I will learn a computer programming language only when I attend university, or I’ll start practicing photography when I take a course. This idea I had was that I could only learn if somebody taught me. Self-learning can be very difficult, especially when you hit a wall or get stuck. Often at times you feel the need to give up with the notion that it’s just not for me. Hitting a brick wall is the most challenging but yet rewarding obstacles, because on the other side of that wall is all the benefits and rewards.

I remember being challenged with reading something as simple as a Wikipedia page. Granted this was a very long page, taking probably an half an hour to read; I shortly give up and think I don’t need to know this or I’ll try again some day.

Self-learning is a difficult task. Often at times you are going to get stuck and not understand something, you often don’t have a clear answer or someone to answer your questions. Hitting challenges and pounding on them, trying to break through, and getting to the other side is were the reward is; you have figured it out.

breaking through a wall











It is easier to sit on the couch and watch TV than it is to work. I did this for projects, studying for tests and hell even studying for end of year exams.

I used to have the mindset of improving myself studying that one day I’ll learn that at university. Oh I’ll learn C++ or Java concepts some time later. The is a very dangerous approach to learn and your education because it fuels your mindset of ‘doing it later’. You will limit yourself by not learning to improve yourself.


Stop doing these things

I want you to be honest with yourself. How much time of the day do you think spend on social media, YouTube and watching TV or any other steaming content? How long do you lye in bed to sleep? More than your average 8 hours?

Could you imagine what new things you can have learned, discovered, experienced during all this time? (Sleep not included) I certainly can! I’ve spent hours watching TV series, movies, sitting on YouTube most of the time some days. It has had a negative impact on me. I became very lazy, non-motivated and uninterested. Now I’m not saying you can go ahead and enjoy yourself, if you choose to do so. I allow myself to watch one movie a week. Every Sunday at 8:00pm I watch a movie. Using this approach as a motivating driver as to look forward to that movie and being able to say I have earned that watching movie.

Applying this technique as a motivating driver can help you too! If you don’t feel like working, isn’t it a lot easier to just switch to Facebook or YouTube? Can you not understand a problem and and avoid it be quickly switching to Instagram on your phone, then completely ignore that problem to later procrastinate on.

Applying a goal for yourself could be like, okay, on Saturday night I’m going to watch a movie. Allow yourself to earn that be having discipline not to do it any other time. I use this technique for intermittent fasting, where as I only eat one meal a day. I strive by doing so and can earn that meal.

Understanding your limit of time

On average you probably have 80 years to live. What you choose to do with that time is up to you. In today’s age it’s very easy to waste time and not see things through for your future. Let’s do an exercise. How many hours a week do you think you watch TV? 6? 8? 10 maybe? The average person watches 40 hours a week. That’s starting business or doing another job. 40 hours. TV is bad, you’re being fed content that you don’t even enjoy most of the time. Why are you watching this? You could be learning something new or mastering your craft.


Dive right in

The act of just starting is huge. One small action is the first step to something great! You have to start somewhere. Once you build momentum, you’ll find working on your goals to be a lot easier than you expected and often at times you enjoy it immensely.

Setting yourself on fire

You should set yourself on fire before anyone else can. I don’t mean that phrase physically. Being mentally tough is going to help you win against life because life is tough. If you’re going to get upset that your phone got stolen and get very depressed about it, you are weak. I can say this because I had been robbed last year in August. I was depressed about it for a week. I’m not saying you should feel joy over it either. You just need to be tough. So when life does kick you in the balls, and you have kicked yourself in the balls one hundred times before, it’s just like on of those one hundred times. I’m not saying to have a session of ball kicking each day, I’m just saying you should do difficult things. Go

Building routines

Building a routine with a goal in mind is a powerful systematic way to accomplish your goals. You are more likely to achieve your goal by using a routine. The idea of setting goals is to understand why are you doing something and where do you see yourself after you have achieved that goal. Building routines is an approach to help you get even a little bit closer. You would apply a routine at a certain time of the day, which follows a set of instructions or plan. This could be your daily morning routine and one for studying every day for a period of time.



I have some homework to do. I want you to not switch to another tab that says Facebook on it, or YouTube. Go outside a have a refresher. Think about what you want to do when you decide to come back to your computer. Know what you’re going to do, and only do that! This is the first step. Learn to take some discipline and control of your time and your life. YOLO

Adrian van den Houten

I'm Adrian van Houten, founder of ScholarCoder and a passionate software developer for full-stack web development. Read more about me here.