Let’s Start Small, But Finish Strong

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If you want something, then go after it! Do anything in your power to achieve your goals. But there is just one caveat … you must continue what you start and follow through on your plans, otherwise you are doing more harm to yourself than good.

 

I wanted to touch upon this topic because, at the start of every year, many people start setting their New Year resolutions. “They want to lose 20 pounds, go to the gym every day, and wake up early every morning to work on a passion project.” However, quite often, one month into the New Year they fall apart and forget about all their goals and action plans. The outcome of this type of goal setting is more worrisome than not setting any goals at all. The reason is that you haven’t only failed to reach your goals, but you’ve also begun a process of reinforcing a new belief in your subconscious mind; the belief that you are not accountable to finishing what you start. Therefore, this can plant the seeds to cultivating a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy, where you unconsciously expect not to finish what you start. What’s even worse though is one can be content, without ever consciously being aware of it, that Setting but not Reaching your goals is normal.

 

So, it’s important to start with setting small and achievable goals for set duration of time which you know you can control and follow through on. This way you are teaching your subconscious mind that no matter what goal you set, you will finish what you start. This goal can be a task which is so easy, that you find no excuses to not finish it. For example, it could be as easy as committing to doing 3 push-ups every day for the next 3 months. I had a client who was overweight by 25 pounds and hadn’t exercised for 10 years. Every time he weighed himself, he told himself he really needed to lose some weight. So finally, one day, he set himself a goal to go to the gym for one hour every day. However, after a week of trying to follow this routine, he fell apart and returned to his sedentary habits. What started out as a concerted initiative to change became a daunting task instead; the thought of getting up and going to the gym for ONE hour became overwhelming for him.

 

The more he set difficult goals for himself and gave up in the middle of his action plans, the more powerless he felt in life. It was beginning to deeply be rooted into his subconscious mind, such that it didn’t matter what routine he started, he was never be able to continue for more than one week.

 

So, one day I suggested to start approaching his desire to become more active by starting with setting himself “Planned Success Result Goals”, which means to set small goals that are impossible to fail at achieving. I told him, “Why don’t you start with just saying to yourself that you will do 1 push-up every day for next 90 days, something you can accomplish in less than 5 seconds, where accomplishing it is not a matter of time, but rather a matter of commitment.” I remember he laughed and said he would do 3 push-ups. So, for the next 90 days, not only was he able to achieve this, but he slowly increased the number of push-ups to 100 a day.

 

What was even more incredible was not only he managed to stick to his goal, but he hardwired into his lifestyle a habit of having to exercise daily. Hence, within 6 months, he lost over 25 pounds. Also, he developed the habit of setting smalls goals and following through on it by developing an internal coping mechanism to control himself in more ways than before. Today, he is not afraid to set himself bigger and more challenging goals, because he knows that he will follow through regardless of any external circumstances. He’s developed the skills to committing to finish what he starts.

 

Our subconscious mind is very powerful, it’s the source of our belief system that programs what we can or cannot do in our life. This belief system has been developed over many years through different activities and events. The only way to change your old limiting beliefs is to change your daily actions which results into new habits. Then eventually, you begin to instill new beliefs and motives to drive your subconscious mind and hence, your behavior.

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