Speed Bumps

An object in motion will remain in motion unless something stops it.

It’s the same with you.

People don’t quit things that are going well, smoothly, and according to plan. If you look in the mirror one day and decide you want to start working out, great. And if from day one it’s easy, fun, and fulfilling? If you start seeing results instantly and you magically never have a day where you’re too tired or too busy to put in your exercise time? Then you’re not going to suddenly stop doing it for no reason.

When people stop doing things they initially wanted to do, they often explain it to others – or even themselves – by saying vague things like “oh, you know, life just got in the way.” But that is never, ever the case.

What actually happened was that there was one day, a single moment, where that day’s effort to continue on the path was less than the effort required to overcome that day’s challenges. You missed that day, and then because it’s harder to start than to keep going, you never started back up.

If you want to really keep a goal in your sights, you need to do three things to make the math work.

  1. Increase your own motivation. There are plenty of ways to do this – good discipline, a solid self-reward structure, publicly announcing your intentions, aligning with allies – but the point is that you’ll need something to motivate you when times are tough, even if it’s extreme.
  2. Decrease the effort required. I know that sometimes effort is the point (like in exercise), but that doesn’t mean you can’t be making it easier for yourself to fail. For instance, if you join a gym – join the one closest to your house, not the one across town. Stuff like that. Remove as many potential obstacles as you can in advance so you hit fewer speed bumps overall.
  3. Get rid of the safety net – and replace it with a trampoline. Your “failure plan” shouldn’t be something that catches you and then deposits you safely on the ground. It should be something that bounces you back into the fight. You’ll miss a day here and there. Be okay with getting back on tomorrow or taking a partial victory.

Pick a clear road, rev your engine, and be okay with pulling back onto the highway if you veer a little. You’ll get there.

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