How To Make Change Stick

Mark Manson absolutely slays the big old beast of that gaping delta between goal setting and achieving those goals in this post. It’s long, but I really, really, really recommend you read what he’s written.

What he’s talking about is how to make change stick.

The key is process, not objective.

We all make this mistake. We focus on the end result instead of on the things we need to do in order to get there. I love the metaphor of the difference between a rich person’s attitude toward money and that of a poor or middle-class person: One looks for opportunities to build on accomplishments by investing incrementally and wisely over time; the other just keeps trying to reach the goal.

If you’re trying to improve your fitness, striving towards losing 20 pounds might be a good thing to have happen. But anyone who has actually lost weight knows it’s a two steps forward, one step back, two steps sideways, three steps back, two steps forward, no steps anywhere, one step backward, one step forward kind of process. Focusing on the end result is not only pointless, it can be demoralizing.

Committing yourself to a process though, well, that’s another experience altogether, and it doesn’t have to be overly complex. Like Mark says in his article, if your level of daily activity consists of parking yourself at a desk, and then parking yourself on the sofa, then making a process commitment to doing SOMETHING every day can end up making an enormous difference. And once you see some progress then you can build on that and reinvest your gains in something more involved. That is how to make change stick.

The key is to think like a rich person. What he doesn’t touch on is the mindset that the rich have and the rest of us typically lack. The mindset of the average working schlub is one of scarcity. The mindset of the rich is one of abundance. What the rich know that the working classes don’t is that there really is plenty of everything to go around. Plenty of money, plenty of time and plenty of opportunities.

The typical new years resolution goal of, as Mark calls out, “losing 20 pounds by June” is a scarcity mindset goal. It’s framed around two ideas that embrace a lack of time and resources as a given. Why June? And if you somehow accomplish this feat, what happens then? Cake for everyone?

If you have 20 pounds to lose it’s because you have less than ideal habits (or a medical condition, but this is just an example anyway). Focus on changing the habits that created that excess of you and it will go away. And instead of simply temporarily making a change you’ll create new habits that support a healthier version of you for a long time to come. Again, this is the notion that you’re investing in yourself and building for the long term.

Anyway, Mark Manson does a wonderful and much more articulate job in his article. Go read it.


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