5-4-3-2-1: Don’t think
Borne out of the need to preserve life, fear was once necessary. Now more often than not, it hinders your progress. When it becomes detrimental we call it anxiety. If you compound your values and belief systems and somehow generate the ideal version of yourself – the steps you need to take to become that person are clear. The steps are usually a mix of small changes like eating healthier and big changes like leaving your job. Yet sometimes, these challenges seem insurmountable. Worst case scenarios cloud your mind – once again waging a war between who you are and who you want to be.
Here’s an insanely simple trick to bypass these instincts for self-preservation. When facing a challenge you deem necessary for achieving your goals, start a 5 second countdown. Focus on the numbers rather than why you shouldn’t or can’t make the change. Countdowns prepare us for a necessary – almost mandatory action. We use them to launch rockets, start races, cross the new year etc. Why wouldn’t they work for you!
Can’t or Won’t: Make it a priority
There’s something you assume you’re notoriously bad at. Something you seem to always struggle with. Here’s a simple truth – you’re bad at it because you’re not interested in getting better at it. There’s always going to be more things you’re bad at than things your good at. Therefore, improving in something is a matter of priority. Narrowing down the things you need to learn dramatically decreases the fear of the things you don’t know. So instead of hilariously being terrible with names or birthdays or whatever you struggle with – recognise that you’ve not made them a priority. You can but you won’t.
The Millennial Question
Termed appropriately to reflect a common struggle within younger generations – the millennial question describes a lack of patience. The desire to see instant results in actions we’ve taken is relatable – no matter who you talk to. Our brains are notoriously wired to only show us what achieving our goals and desires means for our lifestyle. We strive to leave impactful change in our wake. What we don’t see is the difficult path to who we want to be. These achievements won’t happen as easy or as fast as we want. Practicing patience and repetition are a sure way to stay on the road to success. One sit-up doesn’t make you a body builder but thousands, over a good period of time will. Take the necessary actions but don’t expect instant results. You might not see the progress you’ve made but in time you will.
Leading not lagging
Focus on designing leading goals rather than lagging ones. Here is the distinction – leading goals are within your sphere of control and are things you can influence. For instance – how long will you read each day, what time will you wake up, what will you avoid eating. Whereas lagging goals are those whose outcome you cannot guarantee. For example how much money you’ll make, how much your business will grow and where you’ll be in 3 months. If you’ve not spotted it yet, leading goals focus on the process for achieving your ultimate goal whereas lagging goals solely focus on the outcomes of your ultimate goal.
Lastly, do it today not tomorrow. A recurring myth we all face and know to be false is the one where tomorrow you’ll be the version of yourself that achieves your hopes and dreams. Only for tomorrow to come and your ideal self is still a day away. To defeat this fallacy, start by recognising the only version of yourself that exists or will ever exist is the one now! Only you can do what you want to do. Progress is made with action AND time. You’ll still be the same version of yourself 6 hours, 12 hours, and 365 days from now unless you incorporate action. Next time ask yourself – what is so different about tomorrow that I’ll suddenly achieve my dreams? If time is your only answer – you know what you need to do!