Every so often, I go back and read through my journal and see what I was thinking 6 months to a year ago.
As I flipped through my journal a bulleted list caught my eye. It was a plan to lose 5 pounds.
It was a good plan – Workout a bit more. Eat a bit less. Count my calories. Yada yada.
So guess what? 6 months later…I weigh the exact same amount.
Even with my “rock solid” plan it didn’t happen.
The bottom line is that I didn’t want it enough.
Plain and simple….If I wanted it, I would have done it.
Everyone Has The Same Goals
Everyone has wants. Everyone has goals. Most of them are the same!
As James Clear discusses in Atomic Habits:
When you think about it that way, you realize that most of us share the same goals.
- Most of us want to be rich.
- Most of us want to be successful.
- Most of us want to be healthy and fit.
So if we are all in pursuit of the same things, why are some people successful and others not?
Why are some people rich and others poor?
Why are some people healthy and others not?
The Problem is Our Systems
There are some things that we want, but our current habits cannot and will not support.
In this case, our system is the problem. Our routines are bad. Our goals are ill defined. Our mindset is lacking.
Overcoming our current routines, habits, and mindset is complicated and hard.
Entire libraries of books have been dedicated to self-improvement and how to get the most out of yourself.
I should know, because I’ve read many of them!
But here are a few things that we can do to form better habits:
1. Change Your Mindset
The first step in going after something, is to change your mindset.
As James Clear discusses in his book:
- “The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader.
- The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner.
- The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.“
And he’s right!
Of all the things I have accomplished, it is largely because I become that person.
- I became an entrepreneur.
- I became a blogger.
- I became an investor.
Whenever I change my identity and mindset, the actual goal doesn’t matter. Because I become that person, it naturally supported my goals.
2. Be Clear
Now maybe in this specific instance, losing 5 pounds doesn’t mean I needed to become anything, but I did need a better plan.
I needed a more specific plan.
If I want to lose those pesky 5 pounds going forward, I need more clarity.
As James Clear recommends being very specific with your desired behavior by tying it to something you already do every day: “after I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes.”
And furthermore, he wants you to Make it Obvious with statements such as “I will meditate for one minute at 7 a.m. in my kitchen.”
As you can see very clearly, specificity works better.
If it is immediately clear what, when, and where you will do something, it will have a better chance of sticking.
3. Build a System
When I reflect back on the things I’ve done, they have largely been successful because I’ve created solid systems that if kept at for days, weeks, and years yield success.
Be it a system for getting deep work done when I was just starting my businesses. Or building systems for managing employees later on down the road…It is clear to me that the systems that I created, led to my success.
One thing that I have done lately that has worked, was my participation in J. Money’s 3,000 Push-Up Challenge.
I was able to complete 3,000 push-ups because I utilized a great system:
- I tracked my push-ups in an accountability spreadsheet, where everyone could see my results.
- After I drank my coffee, I would immediately do push-ups to get the day started right.
- I made a rule that anytime I had nothing to do for a few minutes, I would do at least 20 push-ups.
This blog is also a great example of that. It is thriving after nearly 2 years, because I built a system ensuring that I write weekly, publish (even if I think the article is crap), and market via Twitter/Email.
Clear’s book covers even more habit forming and habit busting tips. So if you are looking to make any change big or small, I would pick it up.
Motivation Doesn’t Matter: Daily Habits Do!
After reminding myself of all of this, it makes sense why I didn’t reach my “goal” to lose 5 pounds.
Sure, maybe it wasn’t that big a deal to me after all. Maybe it was as simple as that.
Or maybe my bulleted list was simply not specific enough. My goals not well defined enough. My mindset not bought in enough.
I think we all get stuck trying to figure out how to get past the initial desire stage. Just remember:
If you want something, you need to change your mindset.
If you want something, you must be specific in how you’ll do it.
If you want something, you need a system to support it.
Lastly, if you want something, you must start.