Consistent success cannot be attained by anyone without practising goal-aligned behaviours on a regular basis, and the good news is that consistency can be acquired and controlled.
There can be many factors that make highly successful people different from many of us. Natural ability, luck, access to various resources, genetics and environment, all play a big role in making someone famous and on top of their game.
The brain loves rewards, which it associates with novelty and happiness. If one focuses on the reward that comes when completing a task, it becomes enticing, and doesn’t take much effort. If one focuses on the challenges or on the effort required to complete the task, it becomes a pain.
Your direction of focus is the reason most new year resolutions fail, and also why you can’t wake up at 5:00 am.
When we decide to write more often or go to the gym every day we are setting vague, undefined goals, that are bound to be dismissed by the mind.
Setting up bold, clear and intentional statements makes us want to implement them. Example: I want to spend 30 minutes jogging at 7:00 am with this playlist on.
Too much friction diminishes the probability of our doing the desired task.
If our new habit requires a lot of effort, mind and energy, we are less likely to do it. If we want to paint, for example, and the colours and canvas are nowhere to be found, kept away in closets or the garage, we are less likely to start painting, due to the added friction.
One solution is to game your environment to facilitate certain good habits, triggering the desired behaviour. It’s also a good idea to automate certain behaviour patterns by using phone notifications or reminders.
If we focus too much on the destination we lose the flavour and the fun of the journey. Our brain gets tired of waiting for the reward and craves something in the present moment. The reward is also not completely certain, making it a zero-sum game.
The solution is to reframe your outcome as a learning goal, focusing on the mastery and fresh new skills you gain along the way. Example: Instead of learning coding languages for a degree that can land you a job, focus on learning the actual languages to improve your skills, enjoying the challenge of learning something new.
We try to use willpower to move past the million distractions that come in the way of us and our goals. It isn’t very effective. There is a shortcut that does not require heroic self-control and willpower all the time.
One can try implementing the Ulysses Pact, or a commitment device, which is a way to hack your behaviour in order to resist temptation. Example: Keeping your phone switched off or locked up until you have completed a certain task.
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