Set Better Goals
When it comes to goals, a lot of us experience what I call the Race to Disappointment. Tell me if this sounds familiar… 1. We get really motivated to try something new. (“I’M STARTING TODAY!”) 2. We clean the house, pay our bills on time, or finally able to fold all the laundry. 3. First day or two goes good…but then we forget to do something on our lists, get distracted, or procrastinate. 4. Guilt creeps in and we avoid working hard (which only leads to more guilt and procrastination). 5. Until finally, we just quit. 6. Then the waiting game begins until “motivation” comes back around, starting the entire process over with a NEW list of goals. Not the best way to achieve what is most important to you. Good news? You can hop off this treadmill. Let’s look at a better way that sets you up for long term success
2 Easy Steps to Achieve Anything
- Hands up on the roller coaster one of the most important ‘hacks’ I ever learned for achieving my goals was to “put my hands up on the roller coaster”. “Hands up on the roller coaster” is one of those moments where we feel really excited and inspired to take action on a goals list.
Client Story: A few years ago, I was trying to form a gym habit. The problem I had was that I’d get up in the morning planning to go to the gym, but after a few minutes of being awake, I’d decide not to go. So, the next time I was feeling really motivated, I built a system. It looked like this: I put my gym clothes and my shoes next to my bed so I saw them first thing in the morning. As soon as I got out of bed, I would get dressed. By the time I finished putting on my clothes, I’d think to myself, “Well, might as well go to the gym” and I DID!
This is a great example of how to use your motivation to set up a success system. That way you’ll stay committed even when you’re no longer motivated. What you can do right now: The next time you’re feeling “motivated” — either now or later this week — use that motivation as fuel. Make a list of everything you need to accomplish your goal. Then, write out an outline of your success system that’ll help you follow through (like the story above).
- Start small, and then go big when starting out with any goal — like exercising — it’s better to actually start somewhere than to fantasize about starting forever. This means REALLY running a mile once per week than THINKING to run three miles 3x per week… and never running at all. Each mile you run is a victory for your goal. A lot of little wins is what helps you transition to big wins. Little to Big wins: • Instead of planning to do 100 pushups per day to get back in shape, just do two pushups a day to get started. • Instead of thinking you have to floss all your teeth, just focus on one tooth a day to get things going. • Instead of trying to drink a gallon of water a day instead of soda, just drink one glass of water before you go to bed. • Instead of starting a million-dollar business from scratch, just focus on getting your first paying client.
You can ramp up from there. But you don’t want to fail from the start. What you can do right now: Think of some of the goals you’d like to accomplish (getting fit, finishing school, cleaning your house). Then break those down into tiny steps you can achieve. Make it something you know you can get done rather easily. Write up a plan for how you’ll do this for 2 weeks. Once you hit this target, and then think about expanding. Remember, big goals are accomplished with tiny goals first. How can you start taking some of those tiny steps today?
The Most Powerful Habits
Some habits are much more powerful than others such as – let’s say – exercise. For a lot of people, once exercise becomes a habit, they tend to start eating better and making sure they get enough sleep. That makes sense, right? You don’t want to come in from your morning run and grab a bagel and cream cheese. You’re exercising to feel better, so it’s only natural that you’ll want the food you put in your body to help you feel better, too. I also learned a very interesting fact: Once you start exercising habitually, you also start using your credit card less, doing your dishes earlier in the day, and procrastinating less at work. It’s not like you’re making a conscious decision about this. Instead, for a lot of people, exercise is a keystone habit. When they do it regularly, it starts to change their self-image. And when that changes, they start thinking of themselves as the type of person who wakes up and exercises every morning. And the type of person who doesn’t pull out their credit card, gets chores done, and doesn’t procrastinate at work. Think about it. How many CrossFitters in your office do you know who regularly goof off or procrastinate at work? Nailing down that first habit might feel nearly impossible if you’ve failed to make it happen in the past. But if you use the strategies I’ve shared so far, not only will you be able to create lasting behavioral change, but you’re also likely to build a lot of other habits automatically.