Hi, I’m Sabrina Bliem, The Karate Shrimp, and I have a confession to make: I’m addicted to self-help books.

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Thinking About Self-Improvement Isn’t Enough

I have a nice little collection of self-help books. I absolutely adore these books. They look so lovely on my shelf. Sometimes, if I’m feeling really motivated, I might pick them up and feel their weight in my hands, admire their pretty covers, inhale their glorious scent. And on other days, if I’m feeling really wild, I might even read them! And when I do, I feel incredibly smug and accomplished. Look at me, getting all self-actualized and stuff. Self-fistbump for being amazing and woke.

But… how often do I actually follow the suggestions within these books? How often do I not just read the books, but actually do the work that self-improvement requires? How often do I get off my butt and take action?

If you want to achieve your health, wellness, or fitness goals, you need to actually do the work.

In order to achieve your goals, you need to take action.

It sounds obvious and simple, and it is. But taking action is not easy. If it were easy, you would have long since achieved all of your health and fitness goals.

Waiting for Inspiration Isn’t Enough

As a culture, we tend to put a lot of emphasis on motivation and inspiration. We wait to feel inspired, wait for motivation to strike, thinking of these as prerequisites for action. Because when we do feel motivated or inspired, we often do act. So, rationally, it appears that motivation leads to action, and that its absence—those days when we don’t feel that drive or inspiration—leads to inaction.

The big secret? The truth that will torque your worldview?

Action precedes motivation.

When we act, when we overcome inertia, when we overcome procrastination and overthinking and self-judgment, we are creating a proof. “Look: despite feeling unmotivated, I got off my butt and did a workout.” And the result? Proof to ourselves that we can do the work necessary to achieve our goals.

And when we see that proof, we start to feel motivated. Those good feels—that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction—they actually serve to increase our motivation. And so we do another workout. And another. And another. And as those tasks add up, our momentum builds, and we move closer towards achieving our goals.

The trick?

Break your goals down into small, achievable actions.

5 minutes. You can spare 5 minutes.

  • 5 minutes of strength-training.
  • 5 minutes of walking.
  • 5 minutes of karate.
  • 5 minutes of meal planning.
  • 5 minutes of meditation.

5 minutes is achievable. 5 minutes is doable for any of us.

Taking a Small Action is Enough

The hardest part of change is the beginning. That initial push—overcoming inertia—can feel impossible sometimes. So keep it short, and you prevent not starting at all.

And think about it: 5 minutes a day might not seem significant, but day after day it adds up.

  • 5 minutes in one day.
  • 35 minutes in one week.
  • 150 minutes in one month.
  • 1825 minutes in one year.
  • 9125 minutes in 5 years.

That’s over 152 hours in 5 years. From just 5 minutes a day.

5 minutes might not seem like much, but it adds up. So take action, and start that path towards a better, healthier you.

What’s a 5-minute action you can take right now to improve your health or fitness?