One thing that almost nobody does is hold us accountable. So today, I thought I’d do it.
See, about a month ago, I wrote one of my favorite posts, where I shared how delusional I was when I was younger: I thought the world should listen to me because of my “great ideas,” and when they didn’t, I got frustrated. It turns out, it’s SUPPOSED to be hard to be the best.
Here’s the full post: “Uh, it’s SUPPOSED to Be Hard”
Basically, I now get to rant to 500,000+ people any time I want. This has become a very rewarding life.
So as you know, I’m fascinated between what people SAY and what they DO. So to test this, I decided to see how many of you would actually follow through. I asked what your #1 goal of the year was…
…and then, like the Surrogate Asian Father than I am, I actually followed up.
If you’re curious how many people actually did what they claimed was important — remember, they said this was their NUMBER ONE priority — read on.
You’ll learn how to study the language of people who take action…and the rationalizations of people who don’t.
RESULTS of people’s goals
#1: CLAUDIA’S INITIAL GOAL: DEBT FREE
CLAUDIA’S RESULTS (I reached out):
Impressive. This warms my heart like no puppy could ever do (I hate pets). She set a goal, she knew how long it would take, and she accomplished it. Just think how this sense of accomplishment will “flow” into other parts of her life. Awesome job, Claudia.
#2: SHAUNA’S INITIAL GOAL: LOSE 5-10 LBS
Good job. I love that she set specific goals (5-10lbs, eating healthy 5x/week, etc) and is tracking progress. I would have liked to see specific weight results, but as a general rule, process > immediate results. And she has the right process down. Good job, Shauna.
But what about those who haven’t been able to make any significant progress towards their objective, even when they claimed it was their “#1 goal for the year”?
Why do we claim something is important, then often do nothing to actually make that thing a priority in our lives?
I want you to pay specific attention to how easily we can reframe and rationalize not making progress.
#3: LYNZIE’S INITIAL GOAL: LEARN SPANISH, GET A RAISE
Picking a goal is an art, and I would throw this art in my trash can. Saying “I want to learn Spanish” is a HUGE goal. Then saying you’re going to use it to “get a raise or a better job” is yet another huge goal. Huge X huge = kill me. And when you come home from work tired, are you really inspired by a vague goal? Instead, I would have rather Lynzie said, “I’m going to practice Spanish 3x/week — MWF at 5:30pm for one hour each. By December, I want to be able to order in a restaurant.”
I would RATHER you shoot for 5 and accomplish it, then shoot for 10 and accomplish 0.
This isn’t meant to insult Lynzie. We’ve ALL done the same thing. She was courageous enough to write it down and admit that it wasn’t working. Let’s all learn how to improve from her example.
What did you notice about people who DO things…vs. people who just TALK?
What are the main differences between people that were able to follow through and those who weren’t?
Look at the patterns in from the first couple readers who were successful in taking action. Do you see any of these?
- Cognitive misers. They made it as easy on themselves as possible by limiting the scope and creating habits
- Identified the highest-value uses of their time
- Got an accountability partner
Does this mean that those who didn’t take action are BAD people? Of course not.
But after a while, you can spot the language differences in less than 5 seconds. For example, Lynzie, the woman who wanted to learn Spanish, wrote:
“Part of it is not wanting to give up my lunches, which isn’t the greatest excuse”
This is for the item she claimed as her NUMBER ONE priority of the year!
We all do this. How many of us want to travel more, learn a language, earn more — but we don’t?
It’s easy to point fun at people, but actually, they took the initiative to respond and track their progress. How many of us do that? How many of us look down at other people…but we aren’t excelling at OUR #1 goal of the year?
We’re not “Special Snowflakes”. We rationalize our inaction by
- Justification (e.g., lunches)
- Spending our time the wrong way (80/20) and focusing on minutiae, including endless research
- Waiting until we “some day” (when we have enough information, more time, more money…)
Any of this sound familiar?
At IWT, I insist that we’re all honest with ourselves. If you’re weak in an area, AND you want to fix it, great! I’ll show you how. If it’s just not important enough…that’s also cool — if you’re conscious about it.
TO DO TODAY
Think about a goal that you were “serious” about in the past — but you couldn’t seem to take action on.
1. What was the goal?
2. What have you learned from THIS POST alone that will help you achieve the goal?
Leave your comment below.
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