Accountability goals…in theory, an awesome tool. In practice, they can be frustrating IF you don’t know how to properly go about them.
We’ve been sharing our accountability goals in the Facebook group of awesomeness known as Becoming Your Own Hero for a few weeks now. I’ve seen some success, but it seems like there has been more frustration than anything. This post is not to knock the successes we’ve had. This is to explain the method to my madness and to help you all understand how to start reaching MORE of the goals you set out for yourself. I started the accountability posts as a bit of an experiment. I wanted to see firsthand how successful people would be if they just started writing down goals. I wanted to know that if we just identified things we wanted to do, how many people would achieve how many goals?
If you’ve been partaking in the activities, you can probably answer that we’ve had more misses than hits. But that’s ok. The whole “experiment” was a success. Because even though we didn’t accomplish 100% of them, we are in the habit of setting goals now, and that’s a powerful habit to have.
Sneaky, ain’t I? 😉
But now that we’ve set up the basic habit of painting a picture of what we hope to accomplish, let’s start looking at how we can make that picture a reality. Let’s get out your proverbial paints and brushes and let’s make a masterpiece, because it’s high time I share some secrets with you all.
Let’s get specific
I’m not mentioning any names, but I see goals of “get up earlier”, “eat more veggies”, “stop eating junk”, etc. And I’m pretty sure that not many of those goals are getting met. The reason? They’re not specific enough. I’ve mentioned this in the 10 Habits of Healthy Weight Loss eBook, but your goals need to be specific. None of the above fit that goal.
Let’s transform them. “Get up earlier” needs to be “I will get up at 5am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”
“Eat more veggies” needs to be “I will eat a 1-2 cups of broccoli at 3 meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
“Stop eating junk” needs to be “I will throw out any junk food, I will not buy any junk food and instead of eating junk food every day, I will allow myself to have a cheat meal on Sunday.”
The specifics of the examples I give are what’s important. You HAVE to give yourself targets to aim for. If you just shoot blindly in the dark, sure, you may eventually hit something, sooner or later…but if you turn on all the lights, put a laser scope of a high-powered rifle (of awesomeness, of course) and paint a target on that goal, you’re sure to nail it. Being specific turns on those lights, puts on that scope and paints that target. (It doesn’t supply the gun, I’m into health and fitness, not building a militia.)
So if you’re goals are not specific, if they fit the above examples, take the time to make them specific. Make them AS SPECIFIC as possible. Really nail them down. Not only that, but make it a specific that you KNOW you can attain. Specific does you no good if it’s not realistic. But specific + attainable = ……wait for it……wait forrrrr it…..AWESOME.
But Andy, my goals ARE specific, and I still can’t hit them…what do I do? Hold on to your seat, because we’re about to go deeper down the rabbit hole…
Time to start SHINING
One thing you’ll learn about me, I like a.c.r.o.n.y.m.s. I use to have them all over the place.
I would take people’s names and turn them into a saying (Andy’s Never Defeated and Rarely Ever Whines…hey, I didn’t say they were all gold here folks)
I would take brand names and make mockeries of them (We Eat Now, Diet Yoyos Simultaneously)
I’ve toned it down, one because I don’t have as much free time and two because nobody really appreciated my genius, but they still come in handy from time to time. This is where SHINING comes in.
Small Habits Instilled Now Initiate New Growth
Tony Robbins (you know, big guy, big teeth, lots of energy, late night infomercials) has a story about 2 boats sailing on the ocean. Initially they are both on the same course, but suddenly one boat changes its course. Not by much, only a degree off the original course. So what happens?
At first, not much. Minutes, hours, even days go by and not much has changed. But as the days turn into weeks and months, suddenly the two boats are no longer neck and neck. Now one boat is miles off course while the other remains right on the same journey.
Now, let’s take this a step further, because this principle can be beneficial AS WELL AS harmful.
Imagine there are 3 boats now. One boat stays on course in the middle, the boat on the left and right, however, make that one degree change in their heading. Again, we’ll fast forward time a few months. Now one boat is miles off to the left, one boat is one the same course and the last one is miles off to the right.
Still with me?
Let’s say, for simplicity sake, that Left is Losing, Middle is Staying the same and that Right is Winning.
Using our boats from above we see that the middle boat changed nothing, and nothing has changed. It may have weathered some storms, may have seen some pretty sunsets, but all-in-all, it’s on exactly the same course and nothing is different.
The other two boats have undergone drastically different changes in their course and, in turn, their experiences. The simple ONE DEGREE change of heading that the Left and the Right boats made turned into massive changes down the path as they kept that heading.
Now let’s apply that to YOU. You are one of those boats. Whether you like it or not, don’t argue with me, you’re a boat. Yes, you can be a yacht or a speedboat…whatever you’d like, but I’m writing this, so for now you’re a boat.
You have the choice to stay the same. We know what happens with this. You don’t change, you don’t grow, you don’t EVOLVE….shame shame.
You have the choice to make albeit small, but nonetheless harmful choices. At first, they don’t seem like much, but over time, they add up. 100 calories here, skip the gym there, sleep in today, go to sleep late tomorrow. This is a slippery slope and one that will slide right into a future that nobody wants, because the pain of regret is a million times more bitter a pill to swallow than the pain of responsibility.
Lastly, you have the choice to make albeit small, but nonetheless POWERFUL choices. At first, they don’t seem like much, but over time, they add up. 100 calories burned here, an extra workout there, get up at 5am today, go to sleep early tomorrow. This is a path not many choose, and even less stick with because we live in a NOW NOW NOW society. We don’t generally have the the determination or goals to have a reason to make such choices. Even when we do, the changes don’t appear immediately, so we give up. Forgetting that it’s only with consistent, positive action that real change comes.
So what’s your choice?
This is where SHINING came from. If we understand that by starting Small Habits that we Instill Now, we can Initiate New Growth for the future, it’s kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it?
Suck it up, realize it’ll take time, and start enacting small positive changes that you can maintain over the long haul. They’ll add up and before you know it you’ll be able to look back in amazement at the goals you’ve set AND THIS TIME ACCOMPLISHED.
This goes hand in hand with the previous section, but I feel I have to emphasize it. If you perform a habit, consistently over time, it will define you. The things that separate those of us who achieve great things and those who do not are easy to identify. They are not inherited traits. They are not a faster metabolism, better genes, stronger bodies, more money, more options, better brains, or anything else of the like. What sets someone up for success is BETTER CONSISTENCY. What sets someone up for eventual failure is BETTER EXCUSES. There is a successful fitness expert, named Cory, who heads a multi-million supplement company and who has recently teamed up with Arnold Schwarzenegger (somebody spell check that for me) and he has an awesome secret to his success. Simply put, “I don’t do anything special, I just don’t f$ckin’ miss.” Meaning no matter what, he’s going to do what he’s gotta do. He’s consistent. And he’s successful because of it.
Add it all up
So let’s review, shall we? What have we discussed? Seems like a lot, but in reality we’ve covered 3 topics. 3 very simple, but VERY powerful habits.
We covered the power of specificity, the power of small habits, and the power of becoming consistent.
Add those up to one sentence and we get the following: SET SPECIFIC SMALL HABITS THAT YOU CAN MAINTAIN CONSISTENTLY
Do this, and your world will change. I promise you. At first, it won’t seem like much is different, if anything at all. But over time, you’ll notice more and more that the power of these consistent, small, specific habits is dramatically changing your life. Soon, you’ll be adding new small, specific habits to your consistent schedule. And that is how success, in any endeavor, is created. Multiple small habits, stacked one upon the other. That is what separates the great from the complacent. The greats have merely practiced and cemented more small habits along their path. Use this, and begin now. It will serve you well.
GO BE SPECIFICALLY AWESOME!!!!