It’s been a while since I wrote something… There’s been a lot going on and I just didn’t make the time to sit down and write. So I’m making up for it today.
It’s a new year and the time has come, where we all made New Year’s resolutions. And don’t even for a second say, that you didn’t make one, because you did. I think that we all did. But… how committed are you to fulfilling it? It’s January 11th today, are you still there? Are you still exercising, eating healthy, did you light your first cigarette this year, did you save any money yet? I hope you have, but you probably haven’t.
I think those are one of the most favorable promises we make to ourselves and others. And we feel good about ourselves because we put our idea out there and everyone was happy for us, supportive and excited. You know what? That’s a problem. Sure it’s good for you to share your idea with someone, to brainstorm it, maybe you even got a wonderful advice from someone who actually succeeded in their promises. But sharing your resolution with someone can also be a disaster. Not because they don’t support you, but the fact that you got positive affirmation for your intentions, rather than your results.
And there’s another fact why you’ll probably fail. You’ve set your goals, you know what to do, but you haven’t made a plan. There’s something I’ve learned in the past few years. If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist. And you can tell me now, that that’s not true, but think about it. How many things have you done if you didn’t put them on your schedule? I bet that the number is really low, most probably it’s zero.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
So here’s my idea. Don’t pin your starts on New Year’s day. Or a Monday. Or your birthday. This is known as the “fresh-start effect” where we glue our promises on special days. The problem is, that when the day comes, you realize it’s just a regular day, there’s really nothing special about it and the excitement to start something new or to change your old habits just disappears. The adrenaline wears off and you’re stuck with dealing with yourself again.
Well, here’s something you should repeat to yourself every single day you’re on this planet. It always comes down to you. Everything that happens to you is you making it happen – your situation is a sum of your decisions. So to really make any kind of resolution work, you have to come back to you. You need to think about why you decided to do something and if that’s really what you want.
Write everything down. What you want to do, how you want to do it, and the most significant one, why you want to do it. If you don’t have answers to these three questions, failure is guaranteed. Everything you do in life should start with why. I’ve mentioned this before, where I wrote about Simon Sinek’s golden circle. I’ve realized that I can incorporate it into every single thing I do in life, whether it’s my job, my hobbies, my personal life or planning a trip.
Those three little questions are the ones that keep me going and the ones I come back to, when I feel lost, insecure or discouraged. They’re the tree pillars of my existence. And looking back I’m realizing that I do things better when basing my actions on those questions and that I am a better version of myself by doing that.
Got everything written down? Good. Now rewrite it again. Why? Because you probably forgot to make a schedule that incorporates your why, how and what, and you probably made unrealistic goals. The fact is that you’re not going to lose 20 kg in a month. There’s no (healthy) way you’re going to do that. It took a while to gain all that weight, it’s not going to disappear overnight. And you most likely won’t stop smoking in a day, but what you can do, is start reducing the amount of cigarettes you smoke per day.
Our problem is that when we decide to change something, we expect that our habits and problems will disappear overnight and because of unrealistic, high set goals we get disappointed. And disappointment leads to lack of motivation, which leads to taking no action. And we find ourselves in a cursed circle we seem to not get out of. So my advice to you is this: make the goals small at the beginning, like “I will eat only one cookie with my coffee”, or “I will do 10 squats today”. Don’t start with “I’m never going to eat sugar again” or “I’m gonna do 100 push ups today”. You haven’t exercised in 5 years, how the hell are you going to do 100 push ups? You’ll be happy to do 5.
Divide your long term goals in to smaller ones. There’s a method me and my team use on a regular basis called MTO. MTO stands for minimum, target, outrage. After you’ve made and written down your strategy, after setting your main goals, divide those into minimum, target and outrage. Let’s say that your long term goal is to lose 20 kg. That’s OK. You’ve rationally set your goal for a year from now. So in 12 months you’ll be 20 kg lighter. Now let’s incorporate the MTO strategy into each month separately. Your minimum loss of kg is 1 kg, your target is to lose 3 and the outrage is to lose 5 kg. See what we did? Your planning to lose all of the stated kg’s but it’s not necessary that you’ll be losing them as quickly as you wanted. If you lose just 1 kg, you’ve reached your minimum goal and you’ll be really happy about it. If you lose 3 kg, you’ll be excited. And if you’ll lose 5 kg, you’ll be jumping through the roof. No matter how many kg you’ll lose at the end of the month, you’ll be happy because you reached your goal. No matter how many kg you’ll lose, you won’t fail. Your goal was to lose weight. You have.
As Simon Sinek’s Why, how and what strategy, you can incorporate the MTO strategy into almost everything you do. Have a business your running? Set goals for your income. You’ll never feel disappointed again. Are you a runner? Set goals for the length you can run in a week. Smoker? Limit your number of smoked cigarettes.
Life is really simple, we’re the ones trying to complicate it all the time!
And again. It all comes down to you. It’s you that made a promise, resolution, decision, name it as you see fit, but you’re responsible for taking or not taking action. Making it is the easy part, execution is the hard one. You’re the only person in the room who can disappoint you.
And every time you feel like collapsing, every time you think you’re going to fail, or you get scared, here’s a video I want to show you. It was shown to me by Dejan Stipič, a person I admire and respect a lot. He showed me that if I find my why and follow it, there’s nothing in the world I couldn’t achieve. I probably wouldn’t be here if I didn’t follow at least some of his advice. Thanks Dejan.
It helps me every single time and no matter how bad I feel, after watching it I always laugh and continue my journey with a smile all over my face. Hope it helps you too.
Hope you have a blast this week.