So understanding the reasons we fail is part of the puzzle. Now lets look at the building blocks that are necessary to create a program that will help us succeed despite those human frailties.
7 Keys to Successful Changes (or Goal Acquisition)
Step 1: Willpower – Recognize Your Limits (Self Regulation Units – Kevin Hogan)
In classic goal setting the idea was you would exert the power of your will over your decisions and actions. Those who succeeded were the ones who had the strongest will.
But that doesn’t work for 99% of us. We’re not robots who can be programmed to succeed, ignoring emotions, normal human psychology, and weakness (yes that fudge brownie sitting on the counter calling your name won’t move itself out of your sight).
And so setting New Years Resolutions or worthy goals often becomes an exercise in futility.
But why is that and how can we overcome our weaknesses?
Kevin Hogan’s article addresses that issue. Basically he breaks things down into “Self-Regulation Units” or “SRU’s”. The idea is when you start your day you have the ability to use your willpower. But as you get tired, hungry, and have to overcome adversity throughout your day (aka make difficult choices or decisions), your ability to use your willpower diminishes.
Ultimately to the point where you can no longer use it. And that is where you end up giving into temptation. Or not taking the actions that are required to achieve your goal.
For instance imagine you’ve had a rough day at the office or you’ve been at home with the kids all day and they’re driving you nuts. So at 7 PM at night when things start winding down, do you really think you’ll be able to muster the energy and convince yourself to not grab that beer or large plate of comfort food and get your workout in? Or jump into that challenging project you need to knock out?
No. It won’t likely happen.
That is why Kevin recommends tackling your most critical goal-achieving tasks first thing in the morning. Often that means waking up 2-3 hours earlier than normal (or at least an hour if you’re going to get a workout in). That way you can tackle those most impactful tasks while you’re still fresh and have few interruptions or temptations.
Knocking out several hours of high value work at the start of your day will both reinforce an awesome success habit, and it will also do more to move you rapidly towards your goals than anything else.
Not a morning person? It can still be done but may require a few more of these steps to overcome those derailing influences that will inevitably be coming your way.