Inconsistency your biggest obstacle
Inconsistency is the single biggest obstacle you have to overcome when reaching for your goals. Another two are:
- Not starting
- Not finishing
You can do anything if you keep at it for years. Do you want to create a website that is the most important resource in its niche? Do you want to run a marathon below 3 hours? Do you want to be the best parent for your kid? Want to learn to play the guitar?
- One time in the gym doesn’t matter. Go 3x per week for a year.
- One blog post doesn’t matter. Write every day and publish a 2000-word post every week.
- One week of dieting doesn’t matter. Change the foods you eat… forever.
Just the other day I saw a post on Facebook where someone said that motivational stuff (speakers, books, exercises) are useless. The reason? You will eventually lose the motivation.
Of course!!! If you don’t pump iron, you lose your muscles. If you don’t practice piano every day, you will not be a top performer. If you don’t don’t continuously work on your motivation, you may lose that, too.
You get results when you keep at it.
Long term goals take years
Everything you ever wanted to do is within your reach. However, this is a long reach. Most of the goals I listed above take years to accomplish. I have friends who say that snowboarding is not for them. They were on the board once!
Most expect results right now. But if a goal that is 3, 5 or even 10 years out is something you can cope with, then you are half way there.
Why people quit on their big goals?
Big goals are hard.
Big goals are the ones that make you change yourself (you can change more than you think). You need to do things that you thought to you could never do. You have to stretch yourself exert willpower and endlessly repeat the difficult parts that frustrate and exhaust you.
If you don’t push the limits then you will stall and plateau. As you stop seeing progress, then you will lose motivation. Lack of motivation will make you skip the things you need to do.
Take every setback and plateau as a sign that you have reached another level. Step up your game, motivate yourself with the idea that every step you advance will be a new all-time high for you.
For example, when I ran my first 100 kilometers then my previous record was 72.3k. After that, every step was a new record.
The better you get, the slower the progress. It may be hard to motivate yourself with the results that are far in the future. Instead, concentrate on the process. Do what you have to do as well as you can. And if nothing else you will train your willpower that you can apply to any other task in your life.
Lack of time
Your goals take time!
You only have 24 hours every day. You have to understand that if you sleep for 8 hours and work your day job from 9 to 5, then you are left with 8 hours. You eat, you commute, and you may have friends, maybe a family. So, you are left with 2 to 3 hours where you can do your thing.
You know that you have to put in 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to get to the world-class level. Here’s the podcast with the author of the 10000-hour idea (Anders Ericsson: Dismantling the 10,000 Hour Rule).
If you put all your free time into your goal and skip one day every week then you get approximately 900 hours of practice every year. As you can see this means that it takes you 11 years to put in the hours needed.
Time is your number one ally. It crushes your competition – Priit Kallas, FixWillpower.com
How to maximize the time?
I think that “do what you love” is stupid advice. If you start something from scratch, then it’s hard, and you may even hate it at some point. I started running to keep my weight down after quitting smoking. I always hated running. Running slowly became my most important form of exercise. Now I routinely run marathons and even completed some ultras.
Love the process and results you will get, and you power through anything.
However, to maximize your time, it helps if can manage any of the following.
It’s your job, then you can put in 8 or more hours per day and reach the 10k hour mark in 3 to 5 years.
Some of your family members are into the same thing. For example, hiking, cooking, dancing, and other activities that you can do with your spouse or whole family.
You do it with your friends. At some point, I was unbelievably good at Doom 2 and Need for Speed. We played computer games for countless hours. E-sports wasn’t a big thing back then, but I cracked some records in Porsche Unleashed and was pretty much unbeatable in multiplayer Doom.
Of course, you can tie it all together. Have a family business that you love. A fantasy for most of us.
But even if you have to get by on the 1 to 3 hours per day, you will be able to make it if you just won’t let go.
Lack of focus
Do one thing!
You won’t. There aren’t many people who can stick to one thing for year after year after year without losing focus. I know my biggest problem is that I find everything interesting. Then I dabble in this and that. Jumping from one goal to another. I may even get pretty good at something or other, but then I find something new and the practice that I put into the previous goal slowly fades away.
Focus! The focus is hugely important!
If you split your time between many activities then, sadly, you will not get to the top.
There will be times when the lack of progress demotivates you. And then there’s a new shiny hobby or goal that tries to lure you from your path.
Just do not let go!
But maybe you should have other hobbies? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Sure! The key is that your hobbies are not something you want to excel at. No goals also means that you don’t have a schedule and can skip it whenever you feel like it.
The important detractors are usually the people you are neglecting when trying to achieve your goal. Friends and family may feel left out. Certainly, you are using the time that you could spend with them on something else. Sometimes that something else is totally incomprehensible to them.
Then there are unimportant detractors. Internet comments, distant acquaintances, and other people who feel that they have something to say about what you do. They are easy to handle!
In the middle is the group of people who are knowledgeable about the field you are in. If those people discourage you then take it in analyze and use the good parts. As the saying goes
If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; but if he says that it is impossible, he is very probably wrong. – Arthur C. Clarke
Pick the pearls out of the cow dung and go your own way.
How to start?
Just start doing it but remember there are three obstacles to your success:
- Not starting
- Not finishing
You can start with 30-day challenges Twelve 30-Day Challenges for One Year but that is just a start.
Photo on Visualhunt.com