There are countless theories, mixed with facts, coated with conjecture about how best to deal with your personal development; tips and tricks to self-motivation, goal making, do’s-and-don’ts of dieting, most effective work-out schedules, and on and on. How many have you tired? How many have you judged without trying? How many have you said you’d try, than forgot to make time? What things do you say you do, but you don’t really?
I love personal experimentation, especially when the protocol laughs in the face of popular trends. Exercise and dieting are typically the format this happens in, giving me the reputation for being nuts among those I’m closest to, though I’m nowhere near a trailblazer. Thanks to the works of Tim Ferriss, Joel Runyon, and others, I’ve found my confidence to not care about the shallow pool where most tend to stay, especially when I have way less to complain about the more adventures I attempt. I say this to expound on the fact that it’s because of these trailblazers that I found some modicum of success. It’s because I have their words to go back to, their stories and checklists to ensure I’m successfully monitoring myself to give me that extra nudge of accountability. I seek-out words to re-affirm, or re-train my brain, in whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish. Accountability is an active affair.
Accountability is where long-term success is met. Goal tracking is the most straight forward way to stay accountable. You want to gain 20 pounds of muscle? Well, you need to know where you’re starting to see if you’re getting there. The worst thing about this, is not having enough numbers, or not correctly processing the numbers you have. If you’re struggling to meet your goal, don’t blame the process right away. Check yourself. Are you being true to the process? Maybe YOU are the problem.
This human nature problem makes personal accountability flawed. Flawed in a way as to argue it to be a fool’s path. It reminds me of self-control. Self control is grossly over-stated, over-estimated, and mis-understood. Give me an example of someone who over-eats in the morning. Tell me about someone who works in a gym who never works out. Self-control is like a muscle that can get over-used. Say no to those cookies. Now continue to say no over and over again. There will come a point when that cookie has disappeared into your mouth.
Experiencing results is a great motivator, but results are roller-coaster-like. Quick excitement, followed by a slowing to that dreaded plateau. These cycles can’t be avoided, but they can be understood. Unfortunately, logic is rarely our driving force in conversations about such things. We need some external explanations to keep us on track.
Behavioral Psychologist Anyone?
Now, if we could have someone follow us around, who truly understood the nature of decision making, and cognitive dissonance to our individual degrees, all of this would be mute. While we may not have it in our budgets to employ someone with such credentials, simply engaging a like-minded person to our purpose(s) will greatly influence our success, and the longevity of it. For me, this can often-times be a book.
Whatever protocol I’m following, I try to have reference material for it handy, so when I feel like I”m slipping, or it doesn’t seem to be working the way promised, I can go back and re-visit the rules. Just like a friend can explain a point you missed, or mis-interpreted. If you feel like you’re failing at whatever goal you’re working on, before you give it up, check the check-list. Maybe there’s simply some subtleties you’re missing.
- What are your best tricks to staying on track?
- Physical partner or technology: which is your most successful partner?