It’s January and it’s likely you’ve got a New Year’s resolution burning away. Forming new habits takes 66 days. Whether it’s a diet change, lifestyle change, starting a podcast, diary, blog, photo journal or some other goal. 66 days is a long time to do something that is different from your normal routine.
So the secret I’ve discovered, if you couldn't guess, is to cheat. It’s the secret to all success. And there's logic behind this, so stick with me.
Success is rather binary, so the moment that you fail to post your weekly podcast is the first big failure. You’ve let your audience down. The second time you miss it, you’re pretty much dead and you may well have already considered “what’s the point in continuing?”. I’ve certainly felt the same when I said I’d stop drinking, or the previous times I’ve “started” going to the gym.
There’re two things to consider:
- Make the goal extremely easy.
- Plan to fail.
Making the goal easy allows you to build up later. If you aim to publish every two months instead of every month. Or even less, maybe once a quarter. Then if you’re feeling ambitious you either record and bank a podcast for another date, or release a special episode.
The same with the gym. Aim low, and keep it simple. If once a week is a change to your life, start there, don’t start with 5 times a week.
Planning to fail is incredibly easy and equally powerful. I’ll do this in general conversation where, ahead of explaining something I’m not confident of, I’ll pre-emptively apologise for mistakes. I’ve planned for failing to explain something.
If your goal is a new diet or to quit drinking or quit smoking (or quit anything), plan to fall off the wagon. Because when you don’t plan to fail, when you fail, you’ve failed, and that’s it, you might as well not bother. But if you do plan to fail, when you fail, it’s no big deal, it was part of the plan. It was your intention to fail. So you’re still on track, and you’re still making positive progress.
Don’t make it hard to achieve, make it hard to give up.
Plan to fail. Plan to cheat.