Key Actions

Jason Lam
2 min readJul 27, 2020
Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

When pursuing a goal, there is often an action that stands in the way between where we are and where want to be. If it’s to become a writer, then it’s writing. If it’s to lose weight, it’s to cook more often. If it’s to become less stressed in our productivity, it might mean starting your week off by reviewing what’s ahead and making a plan for it.

But sometimes those actions seem daunting or unpleasant, and when we focus on those actions, we suddenly would rather not move forward.

But to execute on those necessary actions, there is often a Key Action that we can focus on instead that’s much simpler. Key Actions are actions that help unlock the chain of events that will produce the outcomes we desire.

For writing, the required action may be writing, but the Key Action is opening up a blank document, or it could be positioning a document containing a list of ideas to be the first thing we see when we open our devices. For cooking more often, the required action is probably the actual cooking, but the Key Action could be preparing vegetables and seasoning one evening so there’s less prep work needed to get to the actual cooking. And for planning the week in advance, it could be just simply opening up the calendar and starting to write down events that would then help provide line items to indent under in order to generate a list of next actions to best prepare for ideal outcomes.

If the Key Action unlocks our desired chain of events, then it could also be viewed as the starting point. When it comes to goals and outcomes, we might not always find ourselves feeling motivated, especially when we know the amount of work (viewed as “hassle” when feeling unmotivated) that’s involved with writing an essay or finishing a workout.

But rather than focusing on the end result, which then makes us imagine all the work required to get there, just focus on starting. Because, really, the Key Action to accomplishing anything is simply starting, you just need to figure out the shape of the key for the end results you desire.