Tony Robbins is one of the biggest voices for self improvement, getting out of a rut, and achieving your goals in the entire world.
He’s done it all. If you haven’t heard of Tony Robbins, he’s a famous motivational speaker, a life coach, an author, and one of his best written works in my opinion is the book Awaken the Giant Within. It contains so much information, anecdotes, actionable tips, and great ideas on reaching your dreams that by reading even a few pages you will be filled with motivation and inspiration.
A big theme of the book is the idea that people will do everything within their power to avoid pain and seek pleasure. While this may not make sense at first thought (if this was the case then our lives would be great because we’d only be doing things that benefit us, right?) he explains that sometimes the perceived pleasure of avoiding a productive action is higher than the pain of actually doing it.
To help with this, within the book, one of the main exercises he has is a 5-step method for adopting actions you’ve been pushing off to help you become the person you want to be.
I’ve included a PDF you can print to easily complete all 5 steps of the exercise along with a guide below to help complete it.
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After you’ve completed the sheet, leave it somewhere plainly visible and refer to it whenever you have the temptation to take part in behaviors you’re trying to eliminate or need a boost to motivate yourself to take action and build up those new beliefs you’re cultivating for yourself.
Below is the 5 step process in Robbins’ book Awaken the Giant Within written almost word for word so you can use it as a guide while filling out the printable PDF.
The 5-Step Action Plan Exercise from Awaken The Giant Within
First, write down four actions that you need to take that you’ve been putting off.
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking
- Communicate with someone you’ve had a falling out with
- Reconnect with someone
Second, under each of these actions, write down the answer to the following questions: Why haven’t I taken action? In the past, what pain have I linked to taking this action?
Answering these questions will help you understand what’s holding you back and that it you’ve associated greater pain with taking the action than not taking it. Keep it simple.
Third, write down all the pleasure you’ve had in the past by indulging in this negative pattern.
For example, if you think you should lose some weight, why have you continued to eat whole pans of brownies?
You’re avoiding the pain of depriving yourself, yes, and at the same time you’re really doing this because it makes you feel good right now. It gives you pleasure! Instant pleasure! No one wants to give up those feelings!
In order to create a change that will last, we need to find a new way to get the same pleasure without any negative consequences. Identifying the pleasure you’ve been will help you know what your target is.
Fourth, write down what it will cost you if you don’t change now.
What will happen if you don’t stop eating so much sugar and fat? If you don’t stop smoking? If you don’t make that phone call that you know you need to make? If you don’t start consistently working out each day? Be honest with yourself. What’s it going to cost you over the next two, three, four, five years? What’s it going to cost you emotionally? What’s it going to cost you in terms of your self-image? What will it cost you in your physical energy level? What will it cost you in your feelings of self-esteem? What will it cost you financially? What will it cost you in your relationships with the people you care about most?
How does that make you feel? Don’t just say, “It will cost me money” or “I will be fat.”
That’s not enough. You’ve got to remember that what drives us is our emotions. So get associated and use pain as your friend, one that can drive you to a new level of success.
Fifth, write down all the pleasure you will get from taking this action right now.
Make a huge list that will drive you emotionally, that will really get you excited.
- I will be in control of my life
- I’ll gain the feeling of really being in control of my life, of knowing that I’m in charge.
- I’ll gain a new level of self confidence
- I’ll gain physical vitality and health
- I’ll be able to strengthen my relationships
- I’ll develop more willpower which I can use in every other area of my life
- My life will be better in all these ways
- By taking these actions, over the next two, three, four, five years, I’ll be living my dream
- My relationships will improve
- I will make more money
Envision all the positive impacts both in the present and in the long term.
After You’ve Completed the Exercise
Keep it somewhere visible, recite aloud the pain you’re going to experience by putting off your action, or recite the pleasure you’re going to gain by doing it to motivate yourself. The more you do this action, the easier and more automatic it will become in the future.