“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”
I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that you, dear reader, want something that you don’t currently have… a better job, six pack abs, a loving significant other, etc.
Whatever it may be, you believe this goal will drastically improve the quality of your life. Chances are, it probably will.
So why is it that only 8% of goals set each year end up actually getting accomplished? Why do so many people struggle to achieve what they so desperately want?
Here’s the secret: too many people are focused on the OUTCOMES instead of the ACTIONS.
Real quick, stop and imagine yourself already achieving your goal.
What does that look like for you?
Would you be less stressed?
Would you sleep better at night?
Would you feel more confident?
You might’ve pictured yourself rocking a six pack with a hot thang on your arm, happy as can be, sleeping like a baby.
Did you also picture the hours of hard work in the gym? The weekly meal prep? The Saturday nights spent getting 8 hours of sleep instead of drinking with pals?
It’s easy to picture what we want our outcome to look like. Happiness, confidence, more vitality… These are all outcomes that drive us to set goals in the first place.
However, we often forget about the habit changes that must occur to get there. The space between point A (where you’re at now) and point B (what you want) is where the magic happens. This is where you take action. Here, you develop skill sets that make your goal a reality.
These skill sets can’t be obtained by chance (or over night). They require specific actions that you create and practice starting today. Not tomorrow, not next month when things aren’t as hectic, no, TODAY.
In other words, to achieve your goal, you must create habits now that mimic the habits of your future self. You must stop dreaming for the outcome to occur and instead start focusing on what you need to change.
Doing this allows you to look at the bigger picture. The Long Game.
When you focus on habits, you won’t be tempted to try the latest “quick-fix” diets because you’ll understand that your future self will have nothing to do with them. (C’mon, who wants to be dieting for the rest of their life?)
You’ll be able to convince yourself to wake up early to exercise because you know that’s going to be the normal routine for Future You with the six pack abs.
You won’t base your progress off of the number on the scale because you’ll realize these things take time and that rushing it and stressing won’t make you leaner any quicker.
Practicing the habits of your goal-accomplishing future self ensures sustainability long after your desired outcome has been reached, simply because you’re making a lifestyle change instead of a short-term fix.
Now you may be wondering: okay, great. But how do I start practicing these actions?
Start with the questions above, the vision of the person you wish to be. Break the vision down into what you’re really after.
You picture yourself with less stress once you reach your goals, right?
Well, why do you think you’ll have less stress?
Only because you’ve obtained your desired outcome? Nah, let’s be real. Stress will always be that ex that can’t let go, always trying to squeeze its way back into your life.
So if what you’re really after is less stress, you can start practicing relaxation skills and planning activities that help you unwind.
You don’t have to wait until your outcome is achieved. This is a skill that you can practice RIGHT NOW.
Same goes for sleep. You don’t just automatically start sleeping better when your life gets better. It takes practice & consistency. If your future self sleeps better, you’ve built habits that influence better sleep.
Confidence, too, is a habit that needs to be developed. It’s probably the biggest misinterpreted outcome people expect to accomplish.
This is because it’s extremely easy to base your confidence on accomplishing a desired outcome (body weight, six pack, muscle mass, performance, owning a business, etc).
While all of these could potentially help boost your confidence, you’ll need enough confidence to achieve them in the first place. This confidence is required on the hard days when doubt overwhelms you and will be the factor that drives you forward.
Confidence, like every desired outcome, is gained through daily practice.
As you can see, by taking a look at what life looks like after achieving your goal, you can figure out what you need to practice today to move in the right direction.
Once you figure out these actions, you’ll have something measurable to record as progress. These are ACTION based goals that lead you to your OUTCOME based goals.
This is extremely effective because unlike desired outcomes, we have complete control of our everyday actions.
You aren’t able to predict that you’ll achieve your desired outcome within the next three months BUT YOU CAN ensure that every single day you’re taking the actions that will get you there.
If you want to get fit so that you stress less, sleep better, & have more confidence, start focusing on your actions and habits. Overtime, you will build a skill set identical to the person you wish to be.
Each skill set can be broken down into a daily practice:
Lower your stress by implementing five minutes of deep breathing every other hour.
Sleep better by creating a morning & nightly routine.
Build confidence by surrounding yourself with positivity & celebrating your wins.
The beauty behind this approach isthat it is completely individual to your current circumstances meaning that a small step in the right direction is all it takes. The options are endless. No matter the action, if you stick with it, you are guaranteed to see progress.
Each day you practice your skill set, you’re one step closer to your desired outcome.
Do this and you will create momentum, making uncomfortable new skills eventually become simple, normal habits – habits that will allow you to live your best life.
What are you waiting for? Take action.
– Chris Sexton
Lifestyle Optimization Academy