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Just like many of you, sometimes I get so overloaded with work that I fall behind a little and need to play catch up. This happened to me earlier this week. With a big writing project due, as well as several other initiatives, I was starting to feel a little stressed out. And as I thought about all the writing I had to do, it was overwhelming and probably the last thing that I wanted to begin doing.

Although I didn’t feel like doing it in that moment, I grabbed my second cup of coffee and headed to my desk surrounded by research material and started writing. Did I feel like writing at first? No, I didn’t. But once I took the action to get started, my attitude improved, so my thinking improved, and within two days I completed the project.

In last week’s column I shared how changing our thoughts could change our outcomes. Staying with that same theme, I wanted to share how changing our actions will also change our outcomes. There are always times where we don’t feel like doing something, especially something hard, or taking on a task that sucks the energy from us. When that happens it’s easy to give in and walk away. But if we start doing the work or the task, we usually wind up working ourselves into a better mood.

There has always been a healthy debate about this topic. Does attitude drive the behavior, or does the behavior drive the attitude? There are people who believe that applying a positive mindset can help them overcome the barriers and they can start doing the work. They change their action by first changing their attitude. This works well for those people who have this capability, but it doesn’t work for everyone.

There are others who believe that by jumping in and starting the work regardless of how they feel, they will tell you that after taking step one and starting, steps two, three, four and more propel them into doing the task with a much better attitude. These are also the people who will usually look for the hardest or biggest project or task that needs to get done and do that one first. If there is a difficult or challenging conversation that needs to take place, it’s going to be their first call.

For those of us who work out there are those mornings or days where we just don’t feel like it. Some give in and crawl back under the covers. And some know that all they must do is get up, get to the gym, begin a run, or jump on a bike and within just a few minutes of acting, they are happy and motivated as they work towards their health goals.

When it comes to prospecting most salespeople will own up to the fact that they dislike cold calling or making phone calls to find their prospects. It’s really their least favorite thing to do. But again, once they take that first step, take the action of making that first call, they will generally get fired up as they set appointments and make some sales. They change their attitude by changing the action, and by doing both they create a solid sales funnel and enjoy the commissions that they earn.

It doesn’t have to be an “either or” situation. I prefer the word “And” over “Or” any day. When I can combine a healthy positive attitude while also taking the actions necessary to achieve my goals, I find that approach always works better for me personally.

What do you think, do you rely on your state of mind to determine the actions you will take? Do you trust in your actions and that they will lead to a better attitude on your way to getting things done or achieving your goal? I would love to hear your story at mnorton@xinnix.com and when we can change our actions and our thoughts to change our outcomes, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful president of XINNIX, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator to businesses of all sizes.