Walk the Winding Path - Deepstash

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How to Commit to Long-Term Goals | Scott H Young

Walk the Winding Path

  1. Stick to short commitments. Get good at this skill before going further.
  2. Understand your goal at different levels. The highest goal should be fairly abstract.
  3. Set a much more specific agenda of how I could fulfill this.
  4. Have periodic reviews where you can change your direction and incorporate new ideas. 
  5. Don't let your reviews interfere with the short-term process of committing.

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How to Commit to Long-Term Goals | Scott H Young

How to Commit to Long-Term Goals | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2018/04/17/commit-long-term-goals/

scotthyoung.com

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Key Ideas

Long-term flexible commitment

What many people fail at with long-term commitments is that they make their initial vision too rigid.

Flexible commitment can help overcome this by bringing together two properties. Flexibility to change the terms of your goal as information becomes available allowing you to redirect efforts and commitment to the core effort so as to not abandon your goal entirely.

The winding path: Goals and projects

Imagine your ambitions on two levels:
  1. A goal level, which is big-picture and abstract. It has just enough detail to inspire, but not so much that you're stuck pursuing things that don’t matter when conditions change. 
  2. Underneath that, have projects: these tend to be short-to-medium term efforts you think will help realize the larger goal.

The flexibility of the system comes once one leg of a short-term commitment has ended. This provides an opportunity for pivoting and redirecting.

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Commitment to Personal Goals

Generally, people don't train in themselves the habits, self-knowledge and control structures to ensure they act on their plans and goals.

You can be better at committing to things...

Improve Your Ability to Stick to Things
  1. Start with projects that should be easy to commit to. Don’t start with projects of 3-6 months if you don’t have a strong track-record of one-month successes behind you. 
  2. Start becoming more sensitive about what you commit to. Be cautious about overcommitting.
  3. If you need future flexibility, bake it into your initial commitment, don’t try to wiggle it in later.
  4. Raise the bar on what counts as a valid excuse. View commitment as a long-term skill-building project.
The Commitment Muscle

Sticking through things longer builds resilience. But sticking through on a bad idea, project or effort can lose you years of your life.

The goal is to increase your ability to susta...

Quitting Points

They are pre-specified periods of time, effort or stress that you decide you’re willing to endure before you step back and re-evaluate.

Pick Your Quitting Point
  • Set shorter lengths of projects: set projects that are short enough that committing to them all the way is easy enough to do or break into chunks th bigger ones.
  • Set re-evaluation points for ongoing habits and goals.
  • Based on impact to other areas of your life. You can choose metrics like: time and how those things impact your life.
Taking action = eventual success
Taking action = eventual success

Inaction is the biggest cause of our failures and our miseries. If we could consistently do the things we know we should do, we would be more successful, and our lives would be better. Yet w...

Explaining inaction

Some possible but weak reasons why action is hard:

  • Talent. But the world is full of brilliant stars that flame out and mediocre minds that build empires.
  • Preferences can explain our failure to try, but don't explain our inner struggles with inaction.
  • Capacity for effort. If your capacity for doing things is lower, it does not explain chronic bursts of activity with inevitable crashes in your goals and projects.
  • Motivation. Some people with the most reason have the hardest time taking action. 
Confidence
Motivation and expectation of success create a feedback loop:
  • Your motivation to complete a task depends on the value of the reward and your expectation of success. 
  • Your expectation of success depends on your motivation.

If your projects tend to fail, your expectations are low, and motivation fades. If your projects tend to succeed, your expectations go up, and motivation stays strong.

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