Make It Happen Monday – Achievement’s Starting Block


One of the most common stumbling blocks for people is that they get caught up in the process of everything, rather than the actual achievement of a goal. I’m watching it happen right now to one of my friends. He has a very concrete goal. In this case it’s weight loss and there’s not much easier to measure success on that weight loss. You have a scale, time, and an end number. As time goes on, is the scale getting closer to the end number, or not?

In this case… not. I believe that for the most part he wants to achieve his goal. He has the knowledge to do it. He has extraordinary social support AND social obligation. And yet he’s not really been making much progress, despite “doing the right things”.

And on the surface it looks like he really is doing the right things. But the Devil is in the details, so to speak, and once we start scratching at some of his actions things don’t look so great. A few extra cheat meals here and there… a lot of not awful but not quite right meal decisions… missed workouts, etc. That all adds up to either very little progress or even a backwards slide.

See, people get caught up in the process of achieving their goals. They plan. They study. They tell their friends. They focus on what they need to do.

Often to the point where they never do it.

In his case the goal is weight loss, but this applies to most anybody who’s trying to achieve any goal, and it’s what keeps most people from theirs.

There’s a reason for this. Planning is easy. To some people, myself included, planning is even fun. I absolutely have been this guy. I love to plan out a process for getting lean, gaining strength, making more money, having a better schedule, or what-have-you. To me this is an enjoyable activity. It’s sort of an adult version of a word problem or a game of “make-believe”. And I’m good at it. Usually these plans are good, solid plans. There’s little doubt that they would work.

But they’re mostly bullshit.

They’re bullshit because they’re what I (and you) spent my time doing in order to avoid getting my head out of my ass and doing. Why would somebody avoid actually going through with their plan? Fear and comfort. You’re comfortable where you are, even if you don’t particularly like it, and you fear change, even if you know it’s probably going to be good. You need to get over that.

I’m certainly not telling you that you don’t need a plan. If you don’t plan your method of attack, then you’re almost certainly going to fail at any real complex goal. What I am saying is that all the planning in the world doesn’t do any good if you don’t boil down the real reason why you’re trying to make a change in the first place and focus on that.

There’s all kinds of ways we can anchor a goal, but we’re going to go quick and dirty here. This method has worked well with my clients.

Take out a couple of pieces of paper. Or if you’re cheap you can just split one into two columns.

Now ask yourself how achieving this goal would change your life. Good, bad, and otherwise. Write down every way that your life would change on a piece of paper. Being able to say you accomplished a goal is a definite change, so write that down.

On the other paper I want you to write how NOT achieving this goal will change your life. Good, bad, and otherwise. Oh, and don’t forget that failing at (another) goal is something that will change your self-perception. Write that shit down.

Ok, so now you have a list of potential life changes. Go through and pick 1-3 on each piece of paper that really hit you emotionally. The ones you can really grab a hold of.

Take those and write them down somewhere that you can see them every day.

Now go about crushing your goal, paying attention to read these reasons every day. Goal achievement is not from good goal setting, or even by good goal remembering… it’s from anchoring what’s truly important about the goal to your every fiber.

It’s Make It Happen Monday. If you’ve got a goal serious enough to be worth setting, isn’t it serious enough to anchor and get started with?

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Comments on Make It Happen Monday – Achievement’s Starting Block Leave a Comment

June 19, 2012

Sean morgans @ 3:37 pm #

Lovef this article. I’m in the process of ‘planning’ my recovery from an Achilles injury and a blog to accompany it. It’s taken a month do far!!!!
I like the concept of writing the what ifs down as you mentioned I’ll try to utilise this in my recovery.

Isaac @ 5:46 pm #

Awesome, Sean! Good luck on that Achilles injury. What happened? Those can be brutal (none of them are good!). Drop me a note with the blog, I’d be interested in checking it out.

I’ve found that if you really solidify in your head what can happen, good or bad, then you can deal with it. But if you leave it as some sort of nebulous “good” or “bad” then you’ll tend to shy away from it.

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