Story written by Silas Grant –
We’re into the second quarter of 2016 and close to the midway point of the year. And by show of hands, how many of “us” kept our New Year’s resolutions……
I’m sure most of us didn’t keep our resolutions. I’m sure some of us no longer think about our resolutions. I’ll be transparent. Among my many resolutions and goals, I set out to do seven (7) things:
- Make $100,000 in sales commissions with a small business that I do work for
- Get to 100,000 views per year on my website
- The small food company that Im partnering with a friend on…..I want to get that product in a Smithsonian
- Take more vacation time with my wife
- Buy 200 Thanksgiving baskets from one of my favorite non-profits: Project Giveback
- Be more accessible to and a better resource for my family
- Pick up my phone more to have actual phone convos
I am not on target for any of those goals. Some, if not all of these goals can still be met. Some are clearly measurable and some will be based on judgment. Either way, I had good goals. I just haven’t put the time in to plan and execute on a daily basis to get these goals done. So why is it that we don’t keep our goals and resolutions at the forefront of our lives? Why do we lay off of pursuing our yearly goals? I’ve sat and thought about; probably more than I’ve thought about my goals. Here’s what I came up with:
1) We base everything on society’s time structure
“Thank God It’s Friday”, “It’s Humpday”, “I hate Mondays”, “Monday is a holiday”, “It’s the end of year and nobody will be in the office”: These are all sayings that we use and live by. And it’s killing our productivity. We can’t get anything done because we live on society’s schedule. We don’t want to work a moment before 9:00 am, a moment during the 12:30 to 1:30 pm hour, and a minute after 4:59 pm. This isn’t a schedule that we created; it was created for us. And it gives us just enough time to get work done that impacts everyone else except us. And society gives us enough distractions during the weekends and holidays to prevent us from breaking the chain of monotony to a path of growth and success. Big goals take big commitments. These commitments go beyond when society tells us to work.
It also goes beyond when society tells us to start thinking about changing for the better through resolutions and goal-setting. If you wait until Christmas to set resolutions, I believe you’re more likely to fail. The best time to set a goal and start working on improvement is when you see a need for a goal to be set. And if you spend a whole 11 months being oblivious to your need for improvement, you probably wont have the strength to change while thinking about your shortcomings after eating that last piece of pie of Christmas day.
Let’s say that you set a goal or resolution to start on New Year’s Day. Let’s say you want to start getting up earlier. In this scenario, you get up at 7:15 am every day. And you want to rise at 5:30 am in this new year. Well, chances are, on New Year’s Eve you were out late. You may have gotten in the house at 5:30 am. So getting up at 5:30 am on January 1st is probably out of the question. Now, in 2016, New Year’s Day was on a Friday. So you can forget Saturday and Sunday (2nd and 3rd) as “get up early” days. You also took off on the 4th because you have “use or lose”. So now, you have to wait until the 5th day of the new year to start this brand new habit that puts you in a position to force yourself to wake up almost two hours earlier than you’ve ever woken up before…..on a regular basis. And because society has told you that you must be out late on New Year’s Eve and you don’t have to wake up early on holidays, days off, or weekends, your best start date for this goal in this scenario is day 5. That Tuesday you’re struggling to make it. You wake up early, but so is everyone else trying to make a “new year new me” moment. But what if as soon as you thought about this goal, you implemented it right then? What if you started on December 22nd in the previous year? That would have given you over a week to test it out before it was “go time”. But because we set our lives around society’s calendar, we set ourselves up to fail.
2) The first time we fall off horse, we never saddle up again
We like our goals to be “clean” the entire way. Get off to a clean start, with a clean time period throughout the target goal time, and a clean ending. So, let me be forthcoming and honest again. My wife and I did a fast last year. July 5th to August 5th, we cut out all types of “less than healthy” foods. Our anniversary was on the 6th of August. So we did this cleanse in preparation for celebrating 5 years of marriage. It went well. We stayed on track and I ended up losing close to 25 pounds. But all goals don’t work like that.
A week ago, on Monday April 11th, we set a time period of TWO months to do the same fast/cleanse. We got through the week days. And this weekend, we fell off the “horse” because of a lack of extensive planning. I had pizza AND fried chicken this weekend…and I enjoyed it. But I fell off as a result. I set April 11th to June 11th as the two month period because my birthday is on June 14th. I wanted to cleanse two months ahead to feel better about my health. But this setback this weekend puts me back a few days. I talked to my wife and I said “Let’s go from April 18th to June 18th”. She replied “No, let’s just keep the same date and move forward”. And it was a valuable piece of advice: you don’t have to start all over..to start over. We tend to fall off the horse never to get back on again because we think that we have to set new dates and start from square one. Going back to the “waking up earlier” scenario: Just because you overslept on the 6th, 7th, and 8th days of the year doesn’t mean that you postpone that goal until the end of year and start in 2017. It just means you do all you can to wake up earlier on day 9.
(Side note: My favorite video game growing up was NBA Live 95 on Super Nintendo. I used to make a custom team and play against the computer. Mark Price was always my point guard and he shot well from the three. Every game, I had to win the tipoff, kick it out to Mark and shoot the three. If my games didn’t start with me winning the tip and Mark hitting the first three, I’d reset the entire game. It was a quirk that I had, but thats not how life works. You shouldn’t hit reset every time things don’t go your way. And sometimes you aren’t afforded the opportunities to hit reset in real life.)
3) To change one thing, you must change everything
Change is not easy. It’s always more difficult than we anticipate. To wake up earlier (example given earlier) means that you probably have to go to sleep earlier. That also means you probably have to have a lighter meal to end your day each day. That also means that you’ll probably have to end your night organizing and mapping out your next day. Which also means that you’ll have to adjust every moment in your day so you can get up earlier the next day. We often fail at pursuing the goals because we don’t understand that every action that we take is intertwined into this new goal for this new life that we want. A great book to read is “The 10X Rule” by Grant Cardone. This book lays out the argument for setting bigger goals. If we set lower goals that we perceive to be easy, we won’t put in the effort. We don’t put in the effort, we don’t progress. So the book suggests that we set our goals high, anticipate a lot of friction and resistance in the process, and push through. This causes it to be necessary that we adjust EVERYTHING in our lives to get that goal done. As you can see, I set seven (7) goals. After 3 and a half months into this year, I’ve realized that maybe I set too many goals. And maybe I’m being pulled into several directions at once because of it. Therefore, none of it gets done. And for some of the goals, they depend on other goals getting done first. So there is a sequence that has to be determined. One example: I can’t take great vacations (goal 4) if I don’t hit the commission targets (goal 1). Even if I don’t hit the target, I at least need to focus in on that one totally…at first….so that I can have a reasonable level of success. That is just one example of being all in on a goal versus being all over the place.
So…. where do we go from here? It’s not easy, but it’s simple:
A. Every day of your life, take time to work on your goals, reflect on your goals, or recharge in preparation for working and reflection moving forward.
B. Don’t let society set your schedule. Work until he work is done, so you can play when you choose to.
C. You will fall down. If it’s something new for you, you won’t be perfect. Get back on the saddle.
D. Anticipate what it takes, but don’t be discouraged by the effort it takes to get to your goals.
E. The best gift is the present: start now.