Success by Design — How to Achieve Exceptional Results through Micro-Management
January 1st — New Year’s Resolution
January 2nd — “Nothing can stop me.”
Fast forward — March 1st — stopped sticking to the plan.
March 31st — Resolution dropped.
Sound familiar? If so, you have probably heard something like this, “You didn’t set a realistic goal.”
That’s a bunch of hogwash!
Just because you did not follow through does not mean that the goal was unrealistic. If you wanted to lose 25 pounds but stopped working out and eating right, was losing 25 pounds unrealistic? No. What was unrealistic was how you went about achieving your goal.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” Confucius.
Losing weight is WHAT you want to accomplish. That is your goal.
HOW you are going to accomplish what you want to achieve is in the STEPS. The steps you take are the most important component of your success and must be customized to design success into the process.
Success is designed by breaking things down into their simplest form. Each step that we take is a single decision and it is each decision that makes the difference between results and failure.
Results are a culmination of small, individual decisions. For example, you may believe that cutting out chocolate from your diet will help you eliminate your unwanted weight. There may be merit to what you have identified, but if you are a person who cannot dream of going a day, much less a week, month, or more without chocolate, how long do you think you can hold out?
This is where customizing the steps necessary to achieve your goals comes in.
Everything must be broken down into micro components, small decisions, which must be specific to us and designed on how we operate. If you cannot live without chocolate and know that you will cave, why not factor that in and customize a diet that includes chocolate? You know you will cave anyway, so why not just design in success and save yourself the inner-struggle.
Keep in mind that progress is progress. If you are going to cheat on your diet and give up because you cave-in and have chocolate, then your progress is brought to a halt.
If you add chocolate into what you can have, you can make other adjustments to accommodate caloric intake from chocolate. Our success boils down to every single decision that we make. This is where self-love plays a role.
When we break things down into manageable, micro decisions, losing weight, breaking a habit, starting a new habit, or completing a project at work, ANY goal, is simplified and we are much kinder to ourselves.
We need to first stop thinking of losing 25 pounds as “losing 25 pounds”, and start looking at every decision that makes up every individual step along the way. Actually putting thought into simple things like choosing not to add an extra scoop of sugar or creamer to your coffee to sitting on the couch for 20 minutes can change your goal achievement. Focus on the micro decisions.
Your power is in every micro decision because these contribute to success with the main goal.
Every decision we make impacts our achievement so it takes a higher level of consciousness, paying attention to what we are deciding to do; IMPACTING RESULTS.
If you already know that chocolate is a ‘must have’, acknowledge that understanding and make a conscious decision that chocolate can be a deal breaker. It is where the decision to stick to the diet or not becomes black and white. Being kind to yourself is acceptance of how you think about this, not trying to overpower it — at least initially.
Go ahead and choose to have a small morsel of chocolate following lunch, dinner, or both. I am not saying eat a Snickers with every meal but I am saying that the other small decisions will be much easier to make healthier choices if you do not ignore this big decision — “Do I have chocolate or not?” This is a struggle that when you begin to tackle by accepting as a deal breaker and including in your plan, eliminates the struggle.
The small amount of calories that are added can be adjusted elsewhere in another food or exercise choice — yes, another decision. Stop looking at all or nothing and instead micro-manage your decisions until healthier choices overtake the unhealthy ones.
The problem is that we focus on the wrong thing. Keep the end goal in sight, but focus on the individual decisions that are going to get you to the goal.
When we say, “I need to exercise,” it is like trying to eat an entire elephant at once. The steps are not laid out, and instead lumped together. “I need to exercise”, does not specify, HOW. What steps are necessary to exercise?
Well, first, you probably will have to choose what you are NOT going to do at that moment, and instead DO.
When you go to flop down on the couch and grab the remote, why not instead make a decision to grab your walking shoes? You can then decide to walk out the door and around the block. How about after the first lap, you decide to do another.
Grabbing your walking shoes is a step in the right direction and IS progress!
Keep the progress going because progress begets progress. This is because we get a burst of dopamine, our body’s pleasure hormone, when we achieve.
Seriously, applaud yourself for lacing your sneakers. Goal achieved! That was an easy win, onto the next! Get your butt out the door. Now one-step at a time, get walking, cycling, or whatever exercise you decide (that darned decision thing keeps popping up).
This process is no different if you want to learn a foreign language, read a book a month, or study for a professional exam. You simply need to lay out the steps needed and DECIDE one micro decision at a time, what you are going to choose to do in place of another decision.
If you are studying for an exam and you know that you cannot focus for more than 10 minutes at a time, do not plan to study for more than 10 minutes. Stop, shift gears, do something else, and then come back for another burst. In 10 minutes, you have made 10 minutes more progress studying than you would if you never started.
If you lose 1 pound every 2 weeks by adjusting the micro decisions related to the steps that you take with your diet and exercise routine, (which also includes chocolate, because you can’t live without chocolate), than you are 1 pound closer to your goal. At that rate, at the end of a year, you will have successfully lost the 25 pounds through micro adjustments to your decisions — and you still ate chocolate!
The problem with sticking to our goals has little to do with having no willpower, but everything to do with the steps we take in achieving our goals. Specifically, we need to break down each step into its smallest form and consider each micro decision associated with each step, while being real about who we are.
Success is by design and you cannot design your success without factoring in YOU.
Design it, decide to do it, and relish in the success of it.
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain.