“The Focus: It doesn’t matter how many changes you try to make if none of them stick.
This is going to be the focus of the following method for overcoming the typical problems that people have when it comes to trying to improve themselves.
1. Self-improvement is about changes, but these changes can’t be done all at once.
How many times do you see someone jump 200% into improving themselves only to burn out a few days later and start slipping? It happens all the time, and you’ve probably done it yourself. The key we’re going to focus on is to avoid this type of scenario by actually giving your body and mind time to adjust to the changes you’re trying to implement instead of completely overloading yourself.
2. The willpower situation and the need to work within it.
Consciously choosing X that you don’t want to do over Y that you do expends willpower. You have a limited amount of willpower each day. If you line up eight tasks that you want to do to form six different habits every single day, there’s just not going to be enough willpower there to get it all done. The key to effective self-improvement that actually “takes” and works how it’s “supposed to” is avoiding this type of willpower overload while simultaneously giving you something to focus on that will show real results in the short term.
3. A task on the unconscious level does not require willpower.
Have you ever watched a baby trying to learn how to walk? He or she has to consciously think about every single movement that’s happening, and this is why it looks so choppy and uncoordinated. An adult, on the other hand, has trained walking to the unconscious level.
Trying to take on too much at one time turns you into the baby who is walking all choppy because there are too many things to keep up with.
You don’t want to be this baby.
4. The logical conclusion: Focus on one thing at a time.
I can hear the objections already: “But focusing on one thing at a time will mean that it will take forever to achieve my goals!”
Know what else will take forever? Burning out after four days and not achieving anything but hating yourself for giving up.
5. Start by eliminating choice paralysis: Just pick something arbitrarily if you want.
People can’t handle something being simple. They want it to be complicated so that they feel better if they fail at it. But you aren’t going to fail at this because we’re going to make it so easy that you can’t fail.
Just pick something.
If you don’t know where to start, then make a list of things you want to achieve and use a random number generator to pick one. If you don’t have any direction, then start by learning to do more push-ups by practicing twice a day.
It doesn’t really matter what you pick as long as you pick something and start. The momentum you get from this will carry you through all of your goals fairly quickly.
6. Set a reminder that renews itself so that you literally don’t forget.
Because this is so easy, it might not stick out in your mind. This is why you need a reminder system. Tape notes to the wall or to your mirror where you will see them. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you of what you’re supposed to be doing to achieve your goals. It doesn’t matter what you do to remind yourself as long as it means you’re reminded of the task at hand.
7. Achieve accountability by putting your message in front of people.
The mistake a lot of people make is posting their goals or whatever on their blog that nobody reads, so there’s no real loss if you just stop posting. Instead, hold yourself accountable with a chart or something somewhere that you can see it like a piece of paper literally taped to your wall or to your bathroom mirror.
Let other people hold you accountable as well.Share this process with a friend or family member who will stay on your ass about this.This is called leveraging peer pressure, and it’s amazingly effective for keeping you on track.
8. Don’t set a goal.
This is so important that I’m going to say it again: Don’t set a goal. Just decide that you’re going to do X task every day and build a system around yourself that keeps you on track.
If you decide to drive somewhere, you don’t set a goal and say something like“Hey guys, I have a goal of driving to the store.”Instead, you have a system for getting there. This is the same thing, but you’re having to build your own vehicle to get to where you’re going.
9. Do your tasks daily for two weeks straight.
If you built your vehicle effectively, then you’ll be back here two weeks later telling me about what you did and how it worked for you. This will give you momentum that you didn’t have before after your failures of trying to do too many things at once.
Use this momentum to your advantage by transitioning straight into your next task.
Rebuild your framework that you used from before around whatever it is that you’ve decided to change about yourself the second time around.
10. That’s all there is to it.
Your brain will literally force you to acquire the habit you’ve focused on if you follow these steps and build your “vehicle” in an effective way (the reminders + accountability).
If you go a day without seeing a bunch of reminders or without having a bunch of sources of accountability hit you in the face, then you haven’t made your vehicle strong enough.”