I’ve tried everything! How many times have you or a colleague said this about something?
Whether you’re trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book, or any other endeavor – the idea that nothing works is a common one.
Let’s take Albert for example. Albert is trying to lose weight. According to him, he’s tried everything, but nothing is working. How many things has Albert tried to lose weight? Thousands? Hundreds? Ten? If Albert is really honest with himself, he’s only tried two diets repeatedly, with no luck.
The first step is to stop telling yourself this narrative. What we say is what we become. Stop saying you’ve tried everything, when in reality you’ve hardly tried. If you believe you’ve actually tried everything you’re more likely to give up.
Now back to Albert. He’s tried a few diets, but he keeps bringing home junk food from the grocery store. When he has a late night craving, of course he’s going to reach for the MSG laden bag of salty snacks instead of celery! He’s setting himself up for failure, but he’s telling himself that the diet isn’t working. Misappropriating blame to avoid trying to fix the underlying issue.
The truth is, Albert is going about it all wrong. He’s trying every diet under the sun, without changing his habits and behaviors. As Albert himself said, doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results, is what you call insanity. We need to pay attention to how we’re trying to do things to find success.
here are three key steps in finding success and accomplishing your goals. The first two, are fairly straightforward. Define the goal and take action to achieve it. In other words, identify what you want to accomplish and then work your ass off to reach it. That may work in most cases, but sometimes things are a bit more difficult.
You know what you want, you’re working harder than ever, but you’re not making any progress. That’s when you need to examine your strategy.
You don’t get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results.Mike Hawkins
The thing is, strategy is often overlooked either because you unknowingly pick the perfect one or you give up without understanding why you failed. If you find yourself in a place where you’ve defined your goal and are putting in the work, then strategy may be exactly where you’re lacking.
I struggled with this exact situation just a few months ago. I was trying to build a habit of writing on a daily basis. I figured my best bet was to create a routine out of writing. First I tried to write every morning. This failed miserably. Then I tried writing after working out, which also didn’t go so well. I tried writing after work, before bed, on a schedule, with a cup of coffee, and so on. Nothing was really working. My writing habits were erratic at best.
It took me awhile to get there, but I realized maybe the routine approach just wasn’t right for me. Maybe I needed another strategy. This was around the time I had stumbled across this hack used by Jerry Seinfeld that involved a simple calendar system to build better habits. I figured why not and decided to use it to write every day. My first day was January 13th, 2016. I haven’t missed a day since.I’m easily writing around 1,000 words every single day, since I implemented this strategy. And all because of this emotional attachment of not ending my streak.
he point is not to say you should use this same strategy, although I fully endorse it, but that you need to try different approaches to your problem and not the same one over and over. Trying to do something the same way, making the same mistakes along the way, isn’t going to result in success the nth time around. You need to iterate and try new strategies every time until you find one that works.
It will take time and you may have to get comfortable with failure, but in the end, you’ll reach your goal. So next time you feel like you’ve tried everything, take a look at what you’ve really tried and more importantly, how you’ve tried.
Image via flickr