Goals, Habits and Walking the Plank
How many times have you tried to change your habits?
How often do you make New Years Resolutions only to fall short in February and then decide to screw it all together?
Why has losing weight or eating better been a goal of yours for years with very minimal success?
Why do some things just seem totally out of reach or so hard that you don’t even know where to start?
We’ve all been there. We know what we need to do, in theory, to get to our goals. We know that eating less starchy food, drinking less wine and getting to the gym 3-4 days per week will help us lose fat.
We know it. So why can’t we do it?
When it comes to making a change in your life or creating a new habit your rational brain knows what to do. The thing that gets in the way is the human response for instant gratification. If the results are not fast enough, if we don’t see that weight loss “yesterday” then we start to give up. It’s not always giving up after day 3 but it might be day 45 if the results are not what our irrational brain has told us they should be.
Instant gratification is a bitch.
How do you get past this sneaky little thing and actually reach your goals?
Will power, right? You gotta just push on through, keep on keepin’ in.
Will power is great but most people can’t maintain that kind of momentum long enough to create new, lasting habits.
Okay so what do you do?
Instead of relying on your will power, you need to develop your why power.
Why power is your ultimate core value. It’s your highest dream, your deepest desire as to why you want a certain outcome. Your choices need to directly connect with your why power or the results won’t come.
You need to know deep down why you’re doing something. It can’t be just that you want to lose fat.
Here’s an example that I heard in a book I was reading a few weeks back. Imagine there’s a plank, kind of like a balance beam. It’s 10 feet wide and 30 feet long. That would be pretty easy to walk across and you wouldn’t need much motivation or convincing to do that. So someone asks you to walk that plank. Cool. That’s easy. Done.
Now there’s that same plank except now it’s 100 feet in the air, suspended between two buildings. Someone asks you to walk that.
Hell no. Why would I do that?
Well, your child is on the other side and the building is on fire.
You bet your ass that you’ll get up there and walk that plank, 100 feet in the air despite your fear of heights.
You needed a lot of convincing when it was just a high plank between the buildings. But when your “why,” your most important reason for living is in danger, you just do it.
In that case your highest values are in line with your goals and the job gets done. When this is done over and over through small changes day in and day out, you have created a new habit and you’ve become successful.
Here’s an example in my life. When I started out on my own with my training business I didn’t have my exact dreams in line. I knew I wanted a different lifestyle but I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going for.
Along the way I found out what it is that I wanted. My ultimate goal, my deepest dream and my core value was to have a business and not a job. I wanted to have a lifestyle that allowed me to do what I wanted and not be living by someone else’s rules and agendas. I want a lifestyle that in the future years allows me to start a family and spend time with my kids while still running a business and enjoying myself. I also want a business that truly allows me to affect lives, to inspire and to make changes for the better.
This is what pushes me everyday to become better. I know exactly what my dream is down the road. If I was just trying to live for each day individually I would be motivated for a short time, but not long enough.
Here’s a little exercise for you. Sit down and write out your goals. Big ones, huge ones. Don’t be shy about this because it’s ultimately what you want. Write down career goals, personal goals, fitness goals, relationship goals, family goals. Do it all and do it big.
Have those goals in writing and make sure they are aligned with your greatest dreams and values. Use that why power every day. Look at your goals first thing in the morning and before you go to sleep at night.
It took me a while to get into the groove of this. I thought it was silly and I thought I could just remember my goals and think about them sometimes. That’s not the case. You need to have them engrained into your lifestyle. Every day, twice a day, look at them and take action toward them. If you’re not taking action they are probably not lined up with your true dreams so you need to re-evaluate. You may also not be taking action because they may not be big enough. Make them big.
Do this exercise and trust me, your mindset will shift and you’ll be going beast mode on those goals until the actions you take become habit.