By: Anthony Moore
Photo by John Arano on Unsplash
After 6+ years of behavioral counseling and addiction therapy, I’ve learned an important lesson:
Most people don’t really understand how to change their life.
- This is why so many people quit difficult tasks after a few weeks.
- It’s why so many people don’t know how to be consistent or self-disciplined.
- It’s why so many many are stuck in a “good” life when they could have a “great” one.
Fortunately, understanding the fundamentals for success aren’t difficult. Once you understand these 5 fundamentals, you’ll be able to consistently achieve HUGE goals, without fail.
1. Behavior Isn’t Logical; It’s Emotional. Use This to Win.
I learned this lesson from Dave Ramsey, financial guru and best-selling author.
In his Financial Peace University course — one of the best finance courses I’ve ever taken — Dave described this fundamental through a illustration he called “The Snowball Effect.”
Let’s say you’ve got credit card debt on 5 different credit cards. You want to pay each card off and be 100% debt-free.
The “logical” solution? Start paying off the card with the highest interest rate. This makes sense, right? That card costs you the most in interest; the sooner you pay it, the less money you lose on high interest rates.
But this isn’t how behavior works. 9 times out of 10, this strategy will fail.
The better solution is focusing on your emotions.
Instead of starting with the card with the highest interest rate, start with the card with the lowest amount — regardless of the interest rates. This way, you’ll pay off a card as fast as possible, giving you that crucial mental “check mark.”
This builds powerful emotional momentum. You use that momentum to tackle the next highest amount, then the next. It might be more expensive, but it works. Your brain responds to these wins much more than simple, boring logic.
If you want to achieve any goal, you need a bedrock of 2 things: commitment and consistency. Changing behavior and building consistency aren’t logical; they’re emotional.
Instead of downloading yet another 12-week diet plan, focus on your emotions.
- What incentives can you give yourself to succeed?
- How can you “gamify” the process — make it fun?
- How can you guarantee you’ll do step 1?
Behavior isn’t logical, it’s emotional. Once you understand this, you can begin changing yourself in incredible ways.
2. Information Alone Isn’t Enough. (If it was, we’d all be rich)
“If more information was the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” -Derek Sivers
You don’t need more information.
You don’t need to read another book.
You don’t need to take another online course.
You just need to take the next step, today.
Wherever you’re at — even if you’re sitting in front of the TV in your PJ’s on a Thursday afternoon, depressed and full of anxiety — just take the next step.
That’s all you need to do. And once you take that step, congratulations: you’ve done more work today than 90% of your competition.
It’s all you can do — just take another step. And another. And another.
Every day you keep going, thousands of others quit. It is the action of doing something today that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.
“The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.”
― Phil Knight, founder of NIKE
3. Action CREATES motivation.
“Action is not just the effect of motivation; it is also the cause of it.” -Mark Manson
Many people mistakenly think they haven’t achieve their goals because of a lack of motivation.
But the truth is, action creates motivation.
You don’t need to be motivated to take action — you can take action at any time. To not take action because of a “lack of motivation” simply isn’t true.
To quote prolific Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.”
Your action will create inspiration. Action creates “luck,” creativity, and motivation.
If you are feeling tired, or lazy, or helpless, your solution is a simple one: take action. Get up and do something.
Tony Robbins famously said, “Motion creates emotion.” When you move, you jumpstart your system. You inject new life and renewed energy towards your goals, even if it’s a simple jog.
This action will bring renewed motivation, which translates into more action, and so on.
If you want to consistently achieve huge goals, start small: take one step in the right direction. Every day, I live by this mantra:
Small progress, every day.
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” -Confucius
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
4. World-Class Performers Don’t Have Superpowers — They Have Good Systems.
World-class performers — athletes, creatives, entertainers, craftswomen, creators — don’t have superpowers. Almost none of them have anything you don’t. In fact, many started with less than you did.
The reason they’re so amazing? They have world-class systems.
These systems — uncommon rules, habits, and routines — are what allows them to operate at superhuman levels. In the words of former Editor of SUCCESS Magazine Darren hardy:
“The key to becoming world-class in your endeavors is to build your performance around world-class routines.”
New York Times best-selling author James Clear once wrote, “Forget about setting goals. Focus on systems instead.” He argued that setting systems that automatically achieve your goals is far smarter than average goal-setting. Systems, he said, are the key to unlocking world-class behaviors and routines.
Don’t focus on setting goals; it’s an inefficient way to achieve anything, with a high failure-rate.
Instead, focus on designing systems and creating environments that make it impossible to fail.
5. Your discomfort is temporary.
“95% of our society — the ‘mediocre majority’ — fail, time and time again, to start exercise routines, quit smoking, improve their diets, stick to a budget, or any other life habit that would improve their quality of life. Why? Most people don’t realize the seemingly unbearable first 10 days of a new habit is only temporary.” -Hal Elrod
Whenever you decide to change a fundamental behavior or work towards a huge goal, you’ll inevitably feel like it’s impossible early on.
Why? Because everything is hard before it’s easy. You’re changing deep-seeded mental ruts, and getting out of these ruts will be difficult.
But what 95% of the world doesn’t realize is that the discomfort you feel during first 10 days or so will stop. It won’t always be that way.
Take this story of physical transformation by my colleague Aaron Bleyaert:
“Late one Sunday afternoon you are writing out your rent check and realize it’s been exactly a year since you started working out.
You think of all those miles you’ve run and those pounds you’ve lifted and chicken you’ve eaten and puddles you’ve made.
It doesn’t seem that bad.
You realize that it’s not about hitting a goal weight, or lifting a weight. It’s about being able to wait. Waiting, being patient, and trusting that life will slowly inch along and things will eventually get better.
After all, change takes time.”
All that work you’re doing…
Won’t seem that hard when you look back on it.
It’s the ability to wait through the temporary discomfort that sets you apart from the other 95%.