As usual, on the 1st of January I’m overcome with the need to completely revamp my life. I feel the urge to set loads of massive goals: lose a bunch of weight, run everyday, journal everyday, eat healthy, work harder etc etc etc.
I’ve set goals like these before and they usually fall apart by the middle of January, once I step out of my fantasy world and back into reality. They last while there’s enough willpower to make them happen. But when that runs out, there’s nothing left to support them.
Today I read this post by Benjamin Hardy on why willpower doesn’t work, and it captured and enhanced my thinking on the topic. The basic premise is that we need to approach progress and success like we’re overcoming addiction.
To overcome an addiction, Hardy sets out two main requirements. First , you need to set goals that have a “why” or core purpose that you truly want to achieve. This removes the conflict that may come into place when faced with a temptation to stray. Secondly, the right environment needs to be in place, which may include investments, commitment devices, sharing it in public and installing accountability or feedback loops.
Doing this requires more than just writing a goal down. It requires measured, thought through planning, decision making and execution. In the same way we wouldn’t build a building by willing it into existence, the same can be said of our goals, habits and aspirations. It needs to be done properly, brick by brick.
My 2018 Goal
So, in light of this, I’ve set a single core goal for 2018 and have built structures around it to make sure it succeeds.
My goal is to meditate every day for the whole of 2018. I’ll be using Headspace to do so, as I’ve really enjoyed using it in the past. So that’s 365 meditation sessions by the end of the year.
My structures around this are as follows:
- Investment: I’ve paid for the premium subscription, which is expensive but works out to less than R2 a day over the year
- Making it public: well, here we are. It is available on my blog and will go out as soon as I click publish
- Commitment device: I’ve made a bet with my friend Jared. If I do not reach this goal then I owe him a bottle of whiskey worth R2000. That means the cost of missing a single day is significant.
- Accountability: Jared is my accountability partner. He’s made a similar bet with me for his own resolution, so we’re mutually accountable
- Feedback: the app tracks the streak I’m on. Currently that streak is at 1 day.
Sustaining a habit for that long is difficult, but I’m certain that I will achieve it. The cost of not doing so has been set too high and my purpose for doing it is too strong.
By the end of this year, I know I’ll have achieved 365 meditations and 365 blog posts (and I’m already at post number 56).
What are you going to do this year? And more importantly, how will you make sure you get it done?
Image was taken in Greenpoint park this evening while I was out on a cycle 🙂
Blog 56/365. Read more about my #365of25 journey here