Let’s say you have a goal. And you have thought of which action to take to reach that goal. However, you keep noticing that you are simply not taking that action step. Sounds familiar? You are one of the lucky ones if you haven’t.

Why haven’t I done it yet?
Why don’t I simply do it?

These can be the kind of questions that start to nag in the back of your head. People even go to coaches and therapists to find an answer to these kind of questions.

However, I found my way out of that rather laborious and inefficient way of going about it some years ago. It started when I began to use Structural Tension Charting. That’s a fancy word for planning. However it does include one element which I find missing quite often in how to reach your goals materials. That one element is called current reality.

In Structural tension Charting you write you goal on top of the page and your current reality in relation to that goal on the bottom. Now you have structural tension.
Then you devise action steps to get from where you are now to where you want to be. That’s the path of least resistance to your goal. A child can do the laundry, as we would say in Dutch. Easy as pie. Even too obvious to be worthy of your attention? Only if you are already using planning tools with great results I would say.

Here are the results I got from doing this rather obvious thing, mapping how to go from A to B.

The essential thing in planning is checking up on how it is going. That’s what structural tension charting insists on. And it’s only common sense. I do that 4 times a year at prescheduled times in my calendar. And of course, also in between I adjust and adapt to whatever changes in current reality. However, institute it like that, scheduling time to revise your plans will make sure it will actually happen and happen thoroughly. And of course when I do, here is what I find: damn, I didn’t do this or that thing that I thought was essential to reaching my goal!

But what I do next is different from what I did before:

I simply redesign my action step into something that is actually doable.

And if on my next check I find I still haven’t done it I redesign it again. Or I discover I need to do something else first which will make it much more easier to do this thing.

I do still wonder why am I not doing this thing that I set out to do?

But I ask that question in a way that negates the personal element of it (what’s wrong with me for not doing this?) and goes straight to the practicalities of it.

why am I not doing this

Ah, I am not doing it because it feels like a big messy thing to do with lots of elements that are not clear (writing regular blog articles). I should first design a little procedure for myself that I can simply follow, where to find the best royalty free photos on the internet, how to make them not so large as to slow down my site, which boxes to check or not check in my wordpress backoffice so that the article will look right, which design elements I want to be in every article and how to insert them and so on). Now that I have that, writing regular blog articles has become doable.

But of course it can also be that you are not doing this thing because you simply are too inexperienced and need to hire someone to help you with it.

Or it might be that you need to take yet another action first: create time to put your head to it.

Or it might be that the action step was not designed in specific enough wording. You associate it with something that is totally not how you like to work (post on social media everyday). And you have to cleverly devise your own custom made marketing strategy which allows for how you do like to work. An unclear task description can definitely put people off of what they actually do want to do.

Also, a revision of your plan might make you conclude that you simply do not want the end result bad enough in order to do necessary the work to get there. The doability of a goal is only as big as how much we want the end result. And wanting something, that is not something we can turn on or off. Either we want it enough to do the work or we don’t.

If you look around you will be amazed to find how many times we overlook this practical approach and instead keep circling around in why am I not doing this, aimed inwards, at some perceived personal lack. Instead of aimed outwards, towards the practicalities of the action itself.

I find it is much more easy to stay away from the personal question and work with the practical one instead if I actually write down my goals, current reality and action steps AND take prescheduled moments to revise that chart. Also, it is way more efficient in getting you where you want to go. After many years or endlessly meddling with some project wiythout any real results I now find myself slowly but surely moving forward. Finally. Because even when we aim the why-question on ourself, that’s what we are after, isn’t it?