Picking up on Chet’s reference to the book Atomic Habits, author James Clear observes that, “Everybody wants a transformation. Everybody wants radical change or success. But many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity. We think we need to get more motivated; that we need more willpower in order to execute. ‘If I just felt like writing today; if I just felt like working out today, then I would do it.’ But in fact, we don’t have a plan for it. So, we wake up each day hoping we feel like working out today.”
His advice is to take the decision making out of the equation by clearly stating when, where and how we will take action.
My BTL “and” is to clarify the WHY.
Clear touches on this with what he calls a “failure pre-mortem.” He suggests imagining that six months from now you have failed to achieve your most important goal. He advises you write the story of how it happened. What caused you to fail?
While I do see where he’s going, to me, this is fear-based thinking. Rather than clearly identifying the negative downside to NOT reaching my goals, I am much more inspired by imagining the positive upside to achieving them. Rather than an outcome to be avoided that’s fueled by fear, I imagine an outcome to be embraced that’s fueled by love.
What I will not quibble with, however, is the melody line of Clear’s work: “Most of the significant things in life aren’t stand-alone events, but rather the sum of all the moments when we choose to do things 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. Aggregating these marginal gains, or habit stacking, is what makes a difference.”
As Aristotle put it, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, it’s not an act, but a habit.”
So, what do you repeatedly do? Are you choosing 1 percent better or 1 percent worse? More importantly, why?