If you can read this, you’ve been on the planet long enough to realize that we are our own worst enemies when it comes to achieving our goals. And there is a really helpful and easy process we can use to overcome the obstacles we create, and crush our goals each and everyday. But before we dive into that positive process, we must first eat our vegetables and address what holds us back. That is, we must acknowledge what makes most people fail in the first place. We need to disabuse ourselves of the mental traps that keep leading to failure in the first place.
1. Dreaming bigger does not mean you automagically achieve more.
It’s time to spot putting so much faith in the B-HAG myth. The BHAG idea, put simply is to set Big, Hairy Audacious Goals. This might be good advice if you’re already an A player and achiever, but it’s HORRIBLE advice for most people who struggle with the fundamentals. This is encouraging wishful thinking and flat out wish-making. For 95% of the population, this has the opposite effect of its intent.
When a person fails to achieve those big goals, the heartache can drive them deeper into their negative habits…which is exactly what the gurus are banking on. This way, when you fail to 10X your life, you come to them with a bag of cash or fist full of credit cards to pay them to help you. The gurus that repeat this are either not studying their own clients’ failure rates, or don’t care if their clients succeed or not. The following is hard to swallow but true.
Making your goals bigger doesn’t make you better achieving them or more likely to succeed.
The idea/excuse the gurus rely on is that whatever level of success you end up with achieving makes the effort worth it. There are many problems with this thinking. You can indeed end up with 100% loss on a goal and come out worse than you started. And for most, that loss is not only the cost of the pursuit of the goal but also the gurus’ program fees. Over time, this teaches you to lose your integrity and self-discipline; your ability to plan and act accordingly. This destroys more lives than it helps. So stop falling for this 10x, all sprint, all the time, aim for the moon nonsense.
Imagine that your life was 20% better this time next year, wouldn’t that be pretty good? And you could repeat the process every year with greater efficiency!
What the gurus are selling is an unsustainable sprint, designed for failure, to create a relationship dependent on their program. So, let’s focus on what you can control.
2. People generally have horrible judgement when it comes to setting time frames and assessing the required resources to achieve your goals in the first place. And you and I are people too…
Who decided that 30, 60, or 90 days were realistic periods of time for the Average Joe or Jane to transform his/her life or business?
These unrealistic expectations are a product of over-commercialized culture, and they hinder our ability to set realistic expectations and even extraordinary expectations.
We attach ourselves to these unrealistic timelines and quit when we don’t experience the radical results. The problem is that it’s all bogus to begin with, and your timelines and expectations need to be personalized to you and your situation.
Can we really get all those tasks done? Let’s take this down to the day to day level. Take the average daily to-do list. Is it too long or too short? Do we have a good sense of what we can do in a given day? Especially given all the curve balls that come our way on a regular basis? Most people have a horrible judgement for both a reasonable amount of time to perform, and the capacity, energy, and willingness to see it through.
The calculations get even worse when we set expectations for others. Think about when managers tasks their direct reports with a project with an impossible timeline. It’s common for the lower level employees to resent management for setting them up to fail. In order to succeed they have to work longer hours, which strains their personal and family life’s and leads to further unsustainable performance. What’s worse, is if successful, the timeline becomes the norm, and the employees burnout.
So, whether it’s to-do lists, transformations or marching orders from management, when we don’t get it all done, when we don’t experience those radical results, we feel really bummed. We doubt ourselves and our capabilities, and plant seeds of performance drag, depression and anxiety on a regular basis. So what do you do?
A solution to this is to start timing and logging the regular, recurring tasks we perform – so that we become more self aware of what we can expect of ourselves and our teams. Our brains are really good at analyzing a situation, and calculating the steps required to get things done, but accounting for capacity, time, energy and attention management is a masterful skill that most frankly do not cultivate. We’re human. But, we can get a lot better by measuring things and developing a frame of reference.
3. Choosing to exclude your circumstances when goal setting is like creating a dream life for someone who doesn’t exist.
If you want to improve in a lasting way, you must first accept yourself for who you are in this moment. Accept yourself – who you are, right where you are. Your conditions matter when it comes to realistic goal setting. Details Matter and YOUR details matter. The one size fits all approach doesn’t work for most. This also means accepting your circumstances and starting from the position you’re actually in, not the one you’re pretending to be in. You may wear a mask with the general public but it’s critical to be honest with yourself, and operate from your real situation.
The one size fits all expected 90 day results need to be realistic & personalized for you, who you are in this moment, not where you feel you should be.
If you want to improve in a lasting way, you must first ACCEPT yourself in this moment. And you can’t know that without really getting to know yourself. You need to ACCEPT the fact that when they show the fine print say “results may vary” at rapid pace, they mean that all your personal details and circumstances have a huge impact on your outcomes.
Details matter. Goals and plans require personal AND situational awareness.
You must ACCEPT your circumstances and start where you’re at and design to elevate and expand accordingly.
ACCEPT that results are delayed.
The effort you put in today might not manifest until weeks or months from now. It takes a lot of time and consistent care for the seed to grow, but the benefits compound over time.
ACCEPT and acknowledge the desire for perfection.
Perfection can make you brittle. For those plagued by perfectionism, missing a day of something, just one day, is enough to make many quit and fall off the wagon.
4. Goal setting by itself is useless unless it’s part of a personalized plan to make it happen.
Flour is an important ingredient in a cookie, but it’s inedible on its own. The same is true for goal setting. It’s an essential ingredient in the pursuit of success, but it’s nothing more than wishful thinking by itself.
HERE’S THE SECRET -HERE’S WHAT YOU CLICKED ON THIS FOR.
You’ve been so patient…or you skimmed all the way down to make it to this moment. The secret to actually achieving all those big goals, those lasting life changes, is to start with your goals and boil them down into milestones, projects, outcomes, all the way down to a gentle schedule of small changes in the daily activities you need to make.
HERE ARE THE STEPS
1. Create daily habits that support your larger goals.
Boil it all down to daily goals, daily activities you can track. These small changes and shifts in habits, if sustained can bring compounding positive effects over time. The secret is ironic – it requires a disciplined approach to a very gentle cycle. To get you started, you can use this FREE life plan / goal creation tool to help you break down life goals into milestones and the year ahead.
2. Track them each and every day and never break the chain.
Use this FREE Habit Tracker Template to assist. I’ve painstakenly tested and refined this, and found this the best iteration that works for me.
3. Make Success Easy – Land And Expand On Your Habits Using The 40% Rule Choose your desired daily habit, like 100 push ups a day, and crank it down to 40% , or 40 push ups a day. So if your goal is to do 100 push ups. Start with 40 instead. And slowly (like in 2 week increments) increase over time. The secret sauce of The 40% Rule is that consistency outperforms effort over time. This means if you attack a goal and it takes everything you got, your focused attention, energy, and you’re laughing at the guy who is doing the same thing, consistently, at a third of the effort or workload,, guess what? Over time, the guy you were laughing at is more likely to succeed overall, as he’s made a habit that he can simply continue to add to over time.
Starting with The 40% Rule also ensures you can get a win consistently on a daily basis come what may. Once you’ve successfully completed 30 days, increase your activity to 60% and adjust every 2 weeks until you’re performing at 80% – 100% .
4. Keep your daily goals simple to avoid the perfection trap.
For example, “write 1 paragraph a day” offers more flexibility than “publish an award worthy 350 word blog each day.”
If it’s been years since you ran at all, setting a goal to run 5 miles a day to lose weight, is a hard and cruel joke. This is why so many people fail to achieve their goals. They just crank up the intensity and gas themselves long before the behaviors can become habits.
So, to avoid this, set daily goals you know are do-able, easy, satisfying, but progressive steps towards your larger, ultimate goals.
To avoid making a brittle system that requires a perfect score, and accept some failures along the way, grade yourself over a 100 day period. This makes getting an A that much easier and it gives you grace to be human.
5. YOU WILL SCREW UP- SO don’t EVER set a daily goal to 7 days a week unless it’s truly do or die. And it almost always isn’t.
Yo are human. Life throws tornadoes and grenades at your schedule. You need to leave room for this each and every week. And make up what you can. Don’t expect perfect. Doing something every single day as a goal, right out of the gate is designed to fail. Stick with 5 days max until you’re ready to narrow down to 90-100% of your ultimate goal.
6. Design your habits to ensure you enjoy the ride on a daily basis.
Design means of getting satisfaction as you work towards your goals. For me, I enjoy marking down every day I successfully do the activities that I know are supporting my goals.
Follow these steps and you’re off to a great start. It is this easy, and it is FREE… for now! So take advantage of this process and these tools and use them to Build, Live, and Enjoy The Heroik Life!