How To Realistically Achieve Your Goals
I finally figured it out. It took me about 20 years, but by gosh by golly, I have figured it out.
Turns out, it’s not my kid's fault. It’s not my high school teacher’s fault. I can’t even (really) blame my parents. I can only look at myself and think “A-ha!” It’s me.
I’m the one who keeps getting in my way. I’m the one who keeps telling myself that I can’t do this, or I can’t do that, because of one excuse or another.
Turns out, I have let excuses run my life. And these excuses have become habitual without me even realizing it.
Habits Create Your Future Experiences
What we do on a consistent basis creates our experiences in life. These habits we’ve formed over time are our unconscious building blocks. Habits can be found in the way you go about your day, and in the way you face adversity, and even in the way you talk to yourself. I’ve managed to build my life around, on and inside my habits, and they’ve kept me from growing, experiencing more, and excelling.
Three areas in my life I can now see have been built on these habitual building blocks and it’s no wonder I’ve been struggling in these areas for years… it’s hard to change hardwired habits!
The first area I struggle with is creating a consistent workout ethic. (And I’m an in-home personal trainer! Shhhhh… don’t tell. I have the hardest time creating my own routine that I can show up for every day.)
Growing my business is another area in which I struggle mightily. Showing up there every day and being consistent is my downfall. I feel like an utter failure month after month when I veer off the “consistency” path. And when there are excuses at the ready (which I have a bunch of), I can point the finger away from me and towards everything else.
Not a good strategy.
The last area I can mark with a big fat “F” is my finances. I suck at saving money. My credit card debt has been my biggest nemesis since college when I got into $12,000 of debt. (And I can quite honestly say I have zero to show for that $12,000 — not even a decent handbag or memories of some lavish meal at a ridiculously overpriced NYC restaurant. What the hell was I spending my money is what I want to know.)
Debt, big or small, has always had me in its grip and I thought well hell, some people are just good with money, and some aren’t. I, clearly, am terrible at it.
Just another excuse.
When I look at these three areas together, it’s kind of painful! I’m in my 40’s and I shouldn’t be where I am. I don’t want to be where I am. I want to be over there… on the other side. Successful. Confident. Content.
How I Began to Achieve My Goals
It all began with a simple statement.
Today I will commit to doing 1% more.
Now that doesn’t seem like a big deal, right?
There is nothing alarming there. It’s a pretty straight forward action step.
The idea for this mantra came from this story I read here on Medium, and it has literally changed my life.
Here’s the most important thing I discovered with that little statement.
I can do it.
I can give 1% more every single day.
And I am. I’m showing up. And I’m accomplishing more than I have in years. By simply giving 1% more effort each and every day.
It’s happening because I’m not over thinking things. I’m simply showing up and doing a little more. I’ve stopped the habitual practice of allowing my excuses to reign supreme when I’m trying to be consistent with something by asking myself this one question each day:
“How can I show up a little more today?”
If I can simply not overthink about what it is I intend to do (i.e. workout at home, write daily, save money) and instead just do it by giving my 1% effort, then it gets done. There is no thinking. It’s just doing. It’s not intimidating or creating resistance because the effort is small and doable.
1% more can mean a 15-minute workout. It can mean writing 500 words. It can mean socking away 10% from my paycheck. It can mean sitting with my kids a little longer to read another book. It can be me stopping what I’m doing to send a text to my husband that says I love you.
These are all things I can (and have) talked myself out of doing for one lame excuse or another. Life is hectic. I’m too tired. The house is a mess. Work is too stressful. So many easy excuses.
Excuses that became habitual. The reward these habits allowed was not having to deal with the fear of failure. After all, you can’t fail if you don’t really try, right? You can lament about how you wish things were different, but that is far removed from failure.
This unintimidating idea of giving a 1% increase in effort has stopped my excuses in their tracks. It was as if a light went on and the mouse fell off the wheel.
Case in point: I finally paid off my credit card bill this month!! This is HUGE for me. As of this moment, I have a zero balance and guys let me tell you, that hasn’t happened in over five years.
In addition, I decided to keep track of how many nights I sat down in front of my computer to write by giving myself a little “thumbs up” emoji on my calendar (a quick and easy reward), and there are 19 little thumbs up looking at me from the month of January. Going from zero to 19 is an impressive step in the right direction.
And lastly, workouts from home are another 19 days out of 31. (Again, going from zero to 19 is something I will take.)
All because of a 1% increase in effort each day.
It stands to reason then that the less we think about creating positive changes in our lives, and the quicker we act before old habits kick in, then the more likely we will be successful.
Think less + Do 1% more every day = Achieving goals
I hope this was helpful to you and can give you the confidence to try just 1% more each day! Clap it up if this resonates with you — I appreciate each and every clap. Thank you for reading!