How to Stop Complaining and Start Taking Action

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How to be more intentional about problems in your life or things you’re discouraged about.

Are You a Complainer?

I think it’s safe to say we’re all trying our best. Most people feel like they’re at the end of their rope at any given time. There’s too much responsibility and stress in life and not enough help to learn how to deal with it all.

So as such, it’s easy to turn into a complainer. Someone whose only response to an unfortunate situation or setback is to complain, get frustrated, or express self-pity.

You may not even realize you’re doing it. Especially if you find yourself always saying things like “next time it’ll be better” or “it was just bad luck”.

A unproductive mindset or reaction is not always as obvious as saying things like “Of course this happened to me, bad things always seem to come my way”.

Even if you don’t mean to be negative about it, you could be falling into a cycle of complaining or expressing discontentment while simultaneous taking the stance of inaction.

Is Inaction Really That Bad?

Sure, inaction might not result in any serious consequences in your life for yourself or others around you, but it also won’t help you progress.

In fact, it will inherently hold you back.

The moment you begin taking action is the moment change is ignited.

Without that moment, you’re relying on external factors and outside circumstances to make changes in your life.

How can You Start Taking Action?

Fix Your Mindset

You can’t start taking action or moving forward if you have a bad mindset. Negative thoughts will always be working against you while you try to reach your goals.

To fix this, you need to be more self-confident and be mindful of why you’re discouraged.

Another mindset repair practice is having an attitude of gratitude.

Being grateful for even the little things in life can help you approach even bad situations with a more positive attitude. You’ll be more likely to look at the good that can come out of a negative situation, instead of just the bad things.

Being grateful humbles you and helps you to be less self-centered. This will give you the emotional maturity needed to push through bad situations.

Set Goals

If you’re going to take action, you need to decide what you’re working towards.

You can set goals for the future whether they be money or career goals, self-improvement, skill or hobby related, about relationships, or anything else that you feel that you currently lack in life that you’d like to achieve.

Just Do It!

What’s next after setting your goals? Taking action.

Break your goals down into milestones and action steps so you have a clear timeline for achieving them.

If your goal is more about creating a new habit or anything similar to needing to do something consistently, you can try using a habit tracker instead.

When Taking Action Isn’t Enough

Setting goals and taking action sounds easy enough, but if it were that easy to change our lives we’d all be happier.

There is one caveat to taking action: It has to be intentional.

How to Be More Intentional

Being intentional about the action you take requires more focus and self-reflection.

It’s not just about hitting those milestones or numbers, it’s about taking steps to live the life you want and become the person you want to be most.

You have to constantly make sure that the goals you set for yourself are setting you up for the direction you want your life to go in, and reflect on your progress to see how far you’ve come and make any necessary changes.

Reflecting on your progress should also be an act of gratitude. When you’re in the grind, it’s hard to remember just how far you’ve come.

No doubt you will have grown since when you first started, don’t forget to be humble about where you came from and be thankful that you’re improving.

Practical Examples

I can think of a number of problems or things I was discouraged about that I never did anything about.

Whether it was because I was paralyzed from anxiety, oblivious to my unproductive feelings, or just wallowing in self-pity, I never made any attempt to make things better.

Job Hunting

Once such example is when I failed to get a job immediately after graduating college.

It was a difficult time and I fell into a depression and couldn’t help but feel bad about myself everyday.

I thought I was taking action by applying to jobs everyday and taking in all the advice I could, but my bad mindset was holding me back.

I couldn’t think clearly and was not going about the job search as intentionally as was necessary.

Ways I Could Have Been More Intentional

  • Not mindlessly applying to as many jobs as possible a day, but taking the time to assess which ones I would have the best chance of getting an interview with and tailoring my resume and cover letter specifically for them.
  • Looked up skills or certifications related to my field that could have given me an edge over other candidates.
  • Been selective about advice I came across or that was given to me, and taken it in the context of my personal situation.
  • Been thankful to be a college graduate and dedicated time to finding out what type of job would suit me best instead of wallowing in self-pity.

As you can see, although technically I wasn’t sitting on my hands about the situation, I wasn’t being intentional enough about my efforts.

If I were to land a job going about it the way I did, it would almost be out of sheer luck rather than effort.

I finally found a job in a completely unrelated field after discovering a passion for it and completing a certification course to be qualified for it.

This would’ve happened a lot sooner for me if I knew how to be intentional about my efforts. I thought I was doing “enough” work everyday because it was hard enough for me to get that done through all my depression and anxiety.

But that’s the thing about being intentional, it would have been less “work”, been a lot easier on my mind, and I would’ve actually made progress to solve my unemployment problem.

In contrast to what I actually did which was mindlessly putting in effort with no end goal in mind other than to “get a job”.

How to Stop Being a Complainer and Start Being A Doer

It’s easy to fall into the trap of negative thoughts, complaints, and self-pity. Based on environment and personal struggles, some people are even more prone to it than others.

What’s not easy is to see when we’re in the midst of it.

We all go through problems, setbacks, and unfortunate situations in life. But we don’t always know how to make things better, sometimes we even think we’re putting in our best efforts to do so, but they are unproductive.

In order to make changes in your life or make progress towards your goals, you’re going to need to have a positive attitude, set goals, and take action.

But that action needs to be intentional to truly be effective.

Your efforts alone – without careful thought and consideration – are leaving things up to chance.

If you’re ready to take control of your life, start by being more honest with yourself and setting intentional goals.

Good luck!


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