We’re all trying to do better. To improve all parts of our lives. Whether it’s our health, our career, or our relationships, we want to be better.
So how do we do that? We create elaborate plans and goals of what our new self is going to look like and how we’re going to get there. This is all well and good, except for one funny little hitch that seems to occur over and over. We bite off more than we can chew or as Drake puts it, we go from 0 to 100 real quick.
If we’re trying to be more active, we try to build this extensive, 7 day a week, 2 hour workout routine that we’re suddenly going to follow.
If we’re trying to become a writer, we expect to pound out 2,000 words a day and have a novel done next month.
If we’re trying to eat better we go from the worlds worse diet to trying to turn vegan over night.
While we may hit 100 for a few days or hours, we’re back to where we started without much to show for it. No matter what the skill is, we expect it to be a piece of cake and then we end up eating all the cake. We make it harder than it needs to be. We’re sabotaging ourselves into failure every time.
Unfortunately there’s not just some switch we can flip and suddenly we’ve formed a new habit, changed our behaviors, or learned a new skill. It takes time, effort, and most importantly, consistency.
To go from couch potato to iron man in a day doesn’t allow any consistency to form. We’re trying to do too much too fast. Instead we need to scale things up slowly and make incremental progress towards our goals. We need to gain momentum and slowly accelerate.
Building habits is hard, don’t make them harder by setting the bar too high too soon.
The next time you’re starting something new or struggling with something you’ve been doing for some time, ask yourself this question: how can I make this easy?
It may seem counter intuitive, but let’s walk through the thought process here.
The goal is to create lasting change, but when we set ourselves outrageous goals and continuously fail in reaching our high expectations, we’re not going to get very far. Instead we need to do the opposite. We need to set goals that are dead simple, that we can certainly reach on a regular basis. Taking this approach allows us to establish a routine we can actually follow, not one that we’ll give up the day after tomorrow.
Here are some examples of how you can make things easier:
If you want to be more active, start by going for a 30 minute walk everyday.
If you want to write, just try to write one crappy page a day.
If you want to eat better, try and cut out your food vice, like chips or sweets or sodas.
After you establish this baseline, you can grow and increment your goals in a more reasonable manner. This allows you to build consistency, but also keeps you from quitting. Over time, these goals will turn into habits and hopefully you will even learn to love them along the way.
Making things easy is certainly a better approach than setting yourself up for failure. The next time you’re trying to better your life, start with how you can make the process easy and grow from there.
You’ll win the day, build momentum, and start to realize real change in your life.