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If there are goals that you struggle with change the timeframe

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

If there are goals that you struggle with change the timeframe

Scott Miker

A lot of times when people that I talk to struggle with their goals, we find that one of the best ways to get past that struggle is to change the timeframe in which they view those goals.

We have all probably heard someone say they are going to do something great with their life.  They go on and on and then you come to find out that they haven’t done any of the hard work yet.  They have only spent time dreaming about what it will be like after they do the work.

Or we have talked with someone that wants to tackle a long-term goal with a short-term focus; the salesperson that feels that they fix all their problems by just hitting their goal this month or the person struggling with their health says they will try this new 21 day exercise program.  Both of these can help but likely won’t help them over the long term.

In these types of situations I like to change the perspective.  Take the person that thinks they can just keep dreaming and eventually they will go after the goal… the answer is to look for something small to help move them in the direction of their dream.  The important part is that there is some sort of action.

The action shouldn’t be huge.  The reality is that if the goal is a long-term goal it probably requires quite a bit of work.  But doing nothing is much worse than doing something small.  Doing something small starts you towards the goal and will start to reveal the various elements that need to be in place in order to be successful. 

For the person struggling with a long-term problem and wants to implore a short-term solution to it, the answer is to look at it from the future.  If that person is successful in the short-term, what does two years later look like?  Most likely if you solve your problem with a temporary solution, the problem will come back.

I like Dave Ramsey’s advice on getting out of debt.  He looks at the long term and also gives specific steps that someone can do right away.  He certainly understands the importance of having the right timeframe for your goals.

In his book, EntreLeadership, he says, “A year of intense exercise and watching what you eat will likely change the trajectory of your life physically.  You will melt away fat, tone up muscle, feel better and change your habits, likely for life.  But only ten days of that exercise program won’t move the needle on the scale.  To create big-time success you have to stay focused and stay intense over an extended period of time.”

What I have found is that it is natural to ebb and flow in your focus and intensity over time.  That can be fine but you have to fight against the stop in momentum.  Keep making progress and make progress the measuring stick. 

After a tough day, don’t let yourself just give up.  Find a way to keep going.  This might be by self-motivation, talking to a mentor, fighting through, or you could use a technique that I recommend called setting the minimum.  However you prefer to keep going, start to become resilient and keep moving forward.

Conversely when you have an overwhelming amount of passion and intensity, keep yourself in check.  Realize that this up will likely have a down right behind it.  Instead of assuming everything will continue to be perfect, use this time to make significant, lasting progress.  Don’t slow down and assume it will be like that forever, keep working on making progress. 

Changing your perspective and focusing on progress can be great ways to get through a goal that has you stuck.  Whatever you do, just keep going.  Don’t give up.  Realize that the times that you are tested are the important times, not the times when it comes easy.