Why our great plans fail
We have all done this at least once in ourlife: We have this amazing idea that is going to completely change our lives for the better. We are super motivated. We put together a game plan. Possibly even go out and tell our friend and families. We get started, and a week or so later our great idea, our great change is a thing of the past, another dream that just didn’t work out.
What are your goals, dreams, and desires? Turn them into reality.
Some common examples of great plans that fail are:
The great weight loss plan-
You decide to stop eating junk food and become a super active super healthy person. And this is going to happen fast. From now on you are only eating salads and you will go to the gym every day. Until you realize you don’t enjoy eating only raw plants nor huffing and puffing in front of a bunch of people at the gym.
The saving money plan-
To save money you are going to be super frugal and only spend on absolute necessities the rest stays in the bank. This is quickly abandoned when you realize the coffee you buy in the morning isn’t a necessity, but you’re not giving up your morning coffee, and what about those new work clothes you needed? Maybe just start saving next week instead.
The “I’m going to make money from home/online” plan-
After seeing a video or reading an article about making money from home you decide this is what you want to do for a living. So you jump in head first only to become quickly overwhelmed and give up accepting that the work from home lifestyle is just not for you.
Why the failure?
So what is it that causes these great plans we have to change our lives to fail? Some of you may think to yourselves “Do I not deserve this change?”, “Are all of my plans destined to fail?”, or even “I just can’t (insert plan here)”.
You do deserve change, you are destined to succeed, and you are able to do anything you set your mind to!
“Then why don’t my plans work out how I want them to?”
The answer to this is such a simple one that most of us don’t even think of it as a factor of our failure. We stretch too far out of our comfort zone, too fast.
Let’s say Bob eats fast food almost every day and watches television every night after work. When he takes a trip to the doctor for a checkup his doctor tells him that his cholesterol levels are high and the lifestyle he is living is unhealthy. So bob decides to start eating healthy and going to the gym, he is determined to get himself back into shape and fast! So Bob swears off junk food and gets a gym membership. For the next few days things are going good. But then his body becomes sore from pushing himself too hard at the gym, and preparing healthy meals every day is starting to feel like a chore. So he decides to take a day break from the gym, and since it’s a cheat day why not get a burger from the drive through. His muscles are still sore the next day so decides he will let his body rest and watch TV tonight. This causes Bob to (consciously or subconsciously) feel like he has failed his program this causes some guilt to settle in and makes him feel worse, causing him to abandon this goal all together. Bob reassures himself “I still have the gym membership so I can start this back up when I’m more up to it”.
The 10% Rule Leads to 100% Greatness
The 10% rule is a cool idea that I learned while studying NLP aka Neuro Linguistic Programming. It basically outlines that the most effective way to generate long term change and results is to only change 10% of your habits at a time. This takes us slightly out of our comfort zone into the “stretch zone” where we can stay until it is our new comfort zone, and then make a new change to get ourselves back into the stretch zone and so on. If we change too many things at once we go into the “panic zone” where our minds and bodies reject the change causing us to go right back to our original comfort zone and creating no long lasting change. Read more about the 10% rule here.
Reaching your goals 10% at a time
So what if our friend Bob decides to start living a healthier lifestyle 10% at a time. As we know he eats fast food almost every day and does not do much if any physical activity. Instead of totally changing his lifestyle what if he decides to start walking every day? He can even start walking to his favorite fast food spot to get his food.
Once walking to get his food becomes a habit maybe he will decide once a week he will walk without getting fast food or walking to get food somewhere with a healthier menu. After this is a normal activity for him, Bob may decide he wants to start making salads for lunch when he goes to work. And he can continue progressing towards a healthier lifestyle in this fashion by following the 10% rule.
You too can achieve any goal you set!
Did he see results overnight? No, But he did not become unhealthy overnight either. And after a month or two of using the 10% rule he has gone from being a sedentary junk food eater to someone who goes for walks to get his food and eats a healthy lunch. And since he didn’t put himself into the panic zone he is able to notice how these small changes are having a positive influence on his life.
The baby that did a back flip
Today’s world is so filled with instant gratification and promises that you can have this or that with little to no effort, that we can sometimes forget to take things one step at a time.
Imagine a baby who is still unable to walk, sitting on the floor watching an Olympic gymnasts flip through the air on the television. The baby wants to be able to do these flips but if the baby tries to do exactly what it saw on TV right then and there it would not work out so well! So instead the baby first works on standing, and then taking a step here and there before falling, and then walking upright, then running, then maybe a somersault some time later, then a cartwheel, their parents notice their behavior and ask if they would like to join a gymnastics class, and only a few years later the baby is doing flips quite like what it had watched on television not so long ago. But it was not overnight, it took years to go from not being able to walk to being able to flip through the air.
This is how greatness is achieved! By taking small steps into the unknown, stretching out of our comfort zone until our stretch zone is our new comfort zone and then repeating.
The next time you have a big life changing plan make it a small easily accomplished plan. And I bet you will love the results.
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