Do you ever feel like everything you do is a flop? Has chronic failure become a part of your life? If it has, you should consider using mini-goals and mini-habits to break out of the cycle…
The sad fact is that life is a lot like a boxing match.
Every time you land a punch (have some success), you improve your position of control.
But every time you take a punch (fail), you become weaker, and you’re left with less strength to fight back against the challenges of life. The more punches you take, the less the chance of you winning the fight – ever.
Every time you fail, your level of self-belief takes a knock. As such, there is just that little more doubt in your mind when you take on your next challenge, task or project. Along with that nagging doubt, there is tendency to expect less of an outcome than you would have wanted. It leaves a dent in your commitment.
Unfortunately, the combination of a lack of self-belief and flawed commitment sets you up for the next failure. And of course when you do fail again, the effect is such that your self-belief and level o commitment to the net goal is even less…
And so it goes down and down into a spiral, until you eventually stop trying – because you believe everything you do is doomed to fail.
But it doesn’t have to be that way…
How You can use Mini-goals and Mini-habits to Overcome Chronic Failure
I order to “win the fight”…
Pick a fight you KNOW you will win. It might not seem worth getting into the fight, but believe me it will make all the difference in the world.
Allow me to explain:
Instead of taking on something big, do something ridiculously small. So instead of saying “from tomorrow, I am going on a strict diet”…
Just decide that you will replace ONE meal per day with something healthy. It doesn’t sound that hard, does it? Fair enough, depending on the rest of your eating habits, it won’t help you lose weight.
But what it WILL do is this:
1. It will prove that you CAN stick to your decisions.
2. It will prove that you CAN set a goal and achieve it.
3. It will allow you to “grow” positive habits one by one.
Your next step will be a second meal, etc.
And once you have swapped all your meals for healthy ones, you can start working on reducing the in-between snacks one by one. Note which times of the day you usually feel peckish, and start replacing those snacks with healthy ones – one by one.
And yes, this way it will take you quite a bit of time before your weight is where you want it to be…
Once you get it there, all of your habits will already be long term habits, ingrained in your thinking and your habitual behavior.
While other people you know will still be jumping back and forth between picking up weight and losing it, you will have it sorted out.
Now your own goal might not be about losing weight, but…
Simply apply these basic principles:
1. If you look at everything that you would normally do if you wanted to get into your goal (full on, boots and all), what is the simplest, easiest task that you feel you can accomplish without ANY fear of failure?
2. What is the absolute smallest item you can brake it down to?
(for instance if you want to get into the habit of studying every day, you may feel that the smallest goal you can set for the start is to study for half an hour per day. But your absolute, non-negotiable minimum action would be to open the book and read two pages).
This is called a mini-habit. The psychology behind it has been researched extensively. If you – on a day when you really can’t (or don’t feel like it to) do anything about your goal, can just do SOMETHING, however small, you do keep some momentum going in your brain.
That makes it easier to be able to do it (or more) again the next day, or at the next given opportunity. You will find that you become capable of doing more and more towards your goal every day – in general – simply because of the habit that formed in your brain because you “do something” every day towards your goal.
It all boils down to something Martin Luther King Jr said:
If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.
So instead of failing at one goal after the other, or one attempt after the other (on the same goal), this might be for you.
When you find yourself in a bad (mental/emotional) space, even a small goal may seem like a mountain. So pick a tiny one. Pick one you can beat. Even if it seems trivial. And even then, if need be, you can “cheat” with the use of mini-habits.
But if you keep doing something, however small, towards your goal every day, you will systematically become stronger emotionally, and more resilient to life’s challenges.
Instead of picking “one big fight” and get beaten up again, “pick a series of small ones you will definitely win”.
That way, you slowly prepare yourself for the day when you want to take on a “big fight” (bigger goal) again.
And by the time you do, your positive mindset and consistent behavioral patterns will be so ingrained in your mind that success will become virtually inevitable.
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