Have you entered a new year beating your chest and proclaiming your magnificent transformation from every mountaintop only to have it dwindle to a whimper by the time January gets torn off the calendar?
What went wrong?
In my experience, there are about a half a dozen ways you can trip yourself up right at the start. Let me help you avoid these common trip-ups:
1. Too Many, Too Much
You try to tackle too many goals, change too many ingrained behaviors and attempt too much too quickly. Look, you have probably been building, developing and reinforcing a poor habit for 10, 20, 30, maybe even 40-plus years. Breaking one poor habit and trying to install a single new success habit is tough enough (and worth it). If you try to do too many, you won’t do any.
2. Too Tough, Too Soon
Remember Richard from The Compound Effect? He had never worked out in his life, but then started working out 2.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. I told him to back it down to 45 minutes, 3 days a week—something he could maintain for the next 50 years. He swore up and down he could maintain this and was committed to his new plan. By the time the book went to press, he had just started this program. Guess how long he works out, and how many days a week today? Zero and zero. He set himself up to fail and he did. Don’t be a Richard. (Suggestion: refer to “Ease In” section, page 80 of TCE).
3. Too Hardcore
Is there such thing as too much discipline? Yes and yes. Yes, if you want to have any levity, fun and joy in life. And yes, particularly in the beginning of a transformation. Too much discipline too quickly will send your emotional and psychic system into a state of shock, then meltdown. Willpower fails, eventually, every time. Can you hold your breath indefinitely? Neither can you hold your willpower indefinitely.
4. Too Rigid
Give yourself some room for error. You will be off course 80% of time. Life will happen. You will fall. Just don’t stay down. Get up and get back on. Over and over and over again.