Episode: Tired of Making No Progress on Goals? Try This
Michael Hyatt: Hi, I’m Michael Hyatt, and this is Lead to Win, a weekly podcast to help you win at work and succeed at life. In this episode, we’re talking about the mental shift you need to make in order to see consistent progress on your goals. Megan Hyatt Miller is on parental leave. She’s with her newly adopted baby girl, Naomi, and we miss her terribly, but she’ll be back soon.
Today we’re going to be solving the problem many leaders face which is the frustration you feel when you can’t get further faster. We’re going to do that by helping you shift your thinking from an intensity mindset, which so many people advocate, to a consistency mindset, and it’s revolutionary for the progress you’re able to make. I’m joined as always by Larry Wilson. Hey, Larry!
Larry Wilson: Hey, Michael!
Michael: How are you doing?
Larry: I’m doing well. How are you?
Michael: I’m doing great.
Larry: I haven’t actually had a chance to sit down with you since your sabbatical.
Michael: I know! I’m glad we’re doing this finally. We’re back in the groove.
Larry: Yeah! This show is, again, one I wish I had access to years ago, because I think every ambitious leader feels this kind of tension and frustration. You have a big goal in mind, and you’re action-oriented. You want results. Then, you hear all of these success stories about people who did it overnight or who built their business in three months or who went from zero to 60 in 3.2 seconds. You think, “Why can’t I do that?”
Larry: So what do you do? Well, you work harder. You work faster. You put in more effort and more energy. It’s just so frustrating.
Michael: Yeah. I’ve been in the situation where I’ve tried to apply intensity, and the most recent time I did this was about three years ago when I was trying to create the course for Free to Focus. I gave myself two weeks to complete it. I had already completed the frameworks and had all of the basic content. I thought, “Two weeks is plenty of time.”
Well, I got to the end of two weeks, and I was about one-third of the way through it. Unfortunately, we were going to be launching it that fall, so getting the course done was pretty important. It had a revenue impact if I didn’t finish. It had an impact for our promotional schedule if it was delayed. I called Jim, my assistant, and said, “Jim, I don’t know how to tell you this, but we have to clear my calendar. I don’t know what I have coming up, but based on my progress so far, I’m going to need another month.”
This is all-day-every-day kind of stuff where I’m recording it. I’m trying to tighten it up. I’m trying to create the tools as I’m going. It was tedious, tedious work, but the key is you ultimately achieve more with steady progress than instant results. I would have done much better rather than setting this huge goal I was going to accomplish in two weeks by just laying it out and saying, “I’m going to work on this a day a week, and I’m going to do that over the course of the next 12 weeks, and I’ll finish,” but I didn’t do it that way.
Larry: Thankfully, you learned something. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. When did it turn around? When did you learn to put this principle into practice?
Michael: Honestly, I’m still learning it. I’m really goal-focused, and for me, the sort of natural thing is to set an achievement goal. I like the sound of it. By September 30, I’m going to do some massive thing. The thing I’ve discovered more and more is that consistency is more important than intensity. In other words, if I can focus on making incremental progress against a goal and focus on a habit goal (that’s how we would frame it in Your Best Year Ever language) rather than an achievement goal… I’m not saying swear off achievement goals, but I am saying for most things a habit goal will get you there faster than trying to do it out of intensity.
Larry: Well, James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, which I think was a LeaderBook selection not long ago, said, “Rather than trying to do something amazing from the beginning, start small and gradually improve. One percent improvements add up surprisingly fast.” I think that’s what you’re trying to get across today. Small steps are better than giant leaps very often. You have four steps to producing these transformative results using a consistency mindset. Let’s get to step one. Get clear on your goal.
Michael: Regardless of your approach… I don’t care if you’re going to do an achievement goal or a habit goal or if you’re going to focus on intensity or consistency, you still have to achieve clarity about what the end result looks like. Vision always comes first. You have to see the result you want. Many of our intense bursts of activity are just poorly directed. We just think we’re going to do more faster.
We don’t have the clarity, but we’ll just muscle through and, hopefully, get a result we’re happy with at the end. I find, regardless of the approach, you still have to get clear on what the end result is going to be. You have to be specific. You have to connect with your passion (what you want to achieve) and not your anxiety (the catastrophe you’re trying to avoid).
In the case of writing a book or in my case of my example before of creating the course, I was just really going as hard as I could to try to avoid this looming disaster I was imagining in my mind of not finishing the course in time for the promotion, what the cash flow impact of that was going to be, what the promotional impact of that was going to be to our calendar, and that I was going to let down my friends and my colleagues. That’s not the place you want to focus.
Larry: Well, I really resonate with what you said there about starting off with misdirected effort. You’re all full of energy and you want to see some action. I recall doing that in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy a few years ago. We got reports that one of the things people needed was water, because it destroyed water systems and so on.
I rented a van. People from my church loaded up the van with Clorox and bottled water and some other things. I drove it to New York City from Indiana and dropped it off with a guy we were somewhat connected with who was doing disaster relief out there. He was grateful and appreciative and so glad we had helped. He said, “I really hate water.”
“Why? Isn’t that what people need?”
“No. We get tons of water from FEMA and other things.”
Michael: Oh, man!
Larry: Yeah! “After the first two days or maybe a week, we don’t need water anymore. What we really need are people to show up in a week or a month or two months and continue the effort when all of the photo ops are over.”
Michael: You guys weren’t clear on the end result.
Larry: No. We just wanted to do something.
Michael: Yeah. That’s a problem with a lot of us. I think it’s really important at this point to get the clarity you need, because sort of the default is to jump into how too quickly. Well, the how is only relevant if you’re clear on the result you want. In your case, you weren’t clear. You jumped into the how.
You said, “How can we help? Let’s get some water. Let’s get some bleach. Let’s help these guys.” The end result wasn’t clear, and if you guys had spent a little bit more time (not to shame you) trying to figure out what they actually needed, it would have been much more likely that you would have had achieved that goal. Were you guys deflated after that?
Larry: Well, I was, because we were the ones who drove out there and did all of this, but I actually took his words to heart, and a month or so later we got a team together and went back and helped to clear the debris from some houses out there which was a part of the ongoing work that lasted months and is probably still going on in some places.
Michael: I was just thinking to myself… I can’t imagine you going back to your church after that first visit and giving the report and saying, “Well, we went to New York and pretty much delivered the wrong stuff.”
Larry: I didn’t phrase it exactly like that.
Michael: If I would have been phrasing that, I probably would have said, “It was a great trip, but we’re not quite done, so we’re going to do a second trip.”
Larry: It came out a little more like that. I tried to shift the focus to what will be really effective in what we could do.
Michael: Good leadership! One way to know you’re clear or not is to actually write the goal down. As I’ve said ad nauseam on this show, thoughts disentangle themselves passing over the lips and through pencil tips. There’s just something about forcing yourself to write down the goal (what it is that you want) that forces the clarity you need. Until you can write it down and be clear, you might think you have it clear in your mind, but until you write it down, you don’t really know.
Here’s the other great thing about writing it down. You have to communicate it to somebody else, because most projects that are of consequence and most goals that are of consequence are going to require you to enlist or enroll other people in the process. You may think you have the end result pictured and that you have clarity, and you may very well have clarity in your brain, but you’re going to fail if you assume everybody else has the same vision. When you write it down, it’s a much better and much easier way to create the alignment you need in order for the project to succeed. That’s why this first step is so critical.
Larry: The first step is get clear on your goal. The second step is identify the right behavior. In parentheses, that is, the right habit.
Michael: Yeah! The right behavior is one that’s going to enable you to achieve your goal, and you can’t make it too difficult. This has to be something really simple that when practiced over and over again is going to incrementally move you toward the goal you want. For example, in the old days, I would have these fitness goals of running a half marathon. That was exciting. I got all jazzed about it, but it was a big goal. It was daunting, and I tended to put off or procrastinate the training, because it seemed so big.
I had a friend who came along and said, “Instead of that, why don’t you focus on just your daily training (how much you’re going to run)? You can just dial that up a little bit each week and still hit your big goal but not be focused on the big goal which tends to promote procrastination. Just focus on the right daily behavior.”
That was a goal that worked. You can think of a lot of physical kinds of goals, too. For example, this last year I ended up dropping about 25 pounds. I thought I had hit a plateau in my weight, and I had this stubborn 25 pounds I couldn’t lose. I thought, “My body is happy. Whatever…” Instead of just creating this goal that I was going to muscle through and say, “I’m going to lose 25 pounds no matter what…”
“I’m going to work out more. I’m going to run a full marathon. In fact, I’m going to do an Iron Man somehow to lose this.” I said, “No.” All I did was cut out sugar and cut out processed carbohydrates. That’s really all I focused on. I did that every day. It was super easy. It wasn’t hard to do at all, and it didn’t seem like this insurmountable goal. In fact, I didn’t even focus on my weight.
The reason I did this primarily was because I wanted to clear up what I suspected might be some brain fog, and I wanted more energy, and those things actually came with it, but the weight totally dropped off, so here I am 12 months later. I dropped it off at about three months. I’ve kept it off, but again, I didn’t focus on the weight, and I didn’t focus on a big weight-loss goal. I just focused on a little simple thing about consistency, not intensity.
Larry: I think that is really true of personal goals of any kind and not just health goals. When we’re trying to make a change in our personal lives, we’re really talking about a lifestyle change; or in business, it would maybe be a systems change, but we want the result now, so we’ll look for whatever promises that immediate result. I think that’s why so many health regimens, fad diets, and exercise programs and other kinds of things are so popular, because people don’t want to really make the lifestyle change or the systems change. They just want the result.
Michael: That’s the key. Honestly, this may be controversial, but I’m opposed to diets. Diets don’t work. The reason the diet industry continues to be successful is because they don’t work. They sell this promise, but it really does require a lifestyle change. That’s all I’m interested in. How can I adjust my lifestyle to get the results I want?
Let me give you another business example, because I had a client last year whose business just kind of fell through the floor. His sales were depressed. They weren’t what he needed in order to generate the cash flow, and he was in the midst of a cash-flow crisis when he called me. I said, “What have you been doing?” He said, “I’m just trying to find a big deal that can cover our losses year to date and give us the cash we need to survive into the future.”
I said, “How is that going?” He said, “We’ve lost this deal, and we’ve lost that deal.” I said, “I wonder if you could change your approach from intensity (trying to find that big deal like the Hail Mary pass to win the game) and, instead of doing that, if you focused on consistency. Is there a habit or a practice you could employ that would better guarantee the results?” Immediately without hesitation, he said, “If I would focus on a certain number of sales calls every week, I’m pretty sure the math would ensure that the result would take care of itself.”
I’ve seen that before in sales, too. Make the calls. I said, “What do you need to do?” He said, “I need to make three sales calls a day. If I can make 15 sales calls a week, I know I could convert about 20 percent of those, and that would give me the numbers.” He started doing the math with me. I said, “Why don’t you focus on that?”
I said, “I think that’s way more achievable and way more inside your control than going out there trying to find a big deal that’s going to save the day.” Well, he did that, and a year later his business is completely turned around. It didn’t happen all at once. It was a process, and it was a little bit hairy at the beginning because it didn’t solve his cash-flow crisis all at once, but the truth is the intensity approach wasn’t going to solve it either.
He was just careening from one deal to the next getting super discouraged. It was impacting the morale of his team. Once he started focusing on sales calls, everybody could rally behind that. That was something they could control and something they could celebrate as a win when they did it. Then they started to see the numbers start to unfold and the results start to come in.
Larry: Nothing serves panic in an organization more than when leaders start grasping at those straws they think will be the big ticket. A silver bullet may work for a werewolf, but I don’t think it works anywhere else. There is no such thing as a silver bullet, or if there is, it’s consistent effort.
Michael: It is. I think whether it’s in sports, whether it’s in your personal life, or whether it’s in business, that consistency (those daily practices we do over and over again) are like compound interest. It’s not really that exciting saving a little bit. Gail and I just had a call with our financial advisor yesterday, and we were kind of talking through where we were and what the markets were doing and everything.
Honestly, I was astonished at how our financial situation has improved over the last five years, and nothing at any one time was a big Hail Mary pass or some big windfall. It’s just that incrementally every month we’ve been saving and investing, and now we’re beginning to reap the benefit of that. We’re seeing the benefit of that, but that’s the value in the power of compound interest, and we can apply that principle in any area of our lives. We just have to identify the right behavior.
Larry: You mentioned the financial aspect or the illustration of compound interest. Few people are worth more than Warren Buffett. The last number I saw was $86.5 billion.
Michael: I could live on that. Couldn’t you?
Larry: I think I could make it at least until the end of the month. He said, “It’s not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results.” He went on and said, “I don’t look to jump over seven-foot bars. I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over.”
Michael: Yes. That’s the key in anything. In the example of our client, he was able to make those sales calls. He may or may not be able to land a big deal, and he had everything riding on that, but to make a sales call? For he and his team to make those sales calls every day? Totally possible. That’s what turned things around.
Blake: Oh, my gosh! Courtney, are we on Michael’s podcast right now?
Courtney Carver: I think we are! We took it over.
Blake: How did we take over Lead to Win?
Courtney: I think it’s because of our new podcast.
Blake: Oh, yeah!
Courtney: It’s the most productive podcast on the Internet.
Blake: It is. It will make you love Monday again. It is called…
Courtney: Focus on This.
Blake: Every week, we’re going to be giving you a new episode to help you banish distractions, get the right stuff done, and start loving Monday again.
Courtney: That’s right! No more Sunday Scaries, as we call them.
Blake: No more Sunday night Netflix binges because you are scared about what’s coming ahead.
Courtney: That’s right. No more dreading Monday. You can get your Monday started with us. If you’re a Full Focus Planner user, you have to listen to this podcast.
Blake: We actually have people calling in live to the show who use the planner, and we help them find the breakthroughs they need to take it to the next level.
Courtney: Yeah. It’s one of my favorite things (talking to people about how they use the planner, what they could do better, and tips and hacks they have). I love it.
Blake: You also like listening to my stupid jokes. Right?
Courtney: Right. We do have a lot of fun. That’s legit. You don’t have to take our word for it.
Blake: That’s right. Take it from the man himself who totally did not have a script to record this endorsement, Michael Hyatt.
Courtney: That’s right. The prince of productivity.
Michael: Hey, guys. I want to ask you a favor. I want you to help me launch Courtney and Blake’s podcast and get it into the new and noteworthy section of iTunes and get it into the iTunes business. Let’s say the top 50 just to set a big goal out there. If you would go out there and subscribe right now, that would help us immeasurably. Tell your friends about it. If you know anybody who uses the Full Focus Planner, they have to listen to this podcast. You’re going to miss the opportunity to optimize your use of the planner unless you’re listening to this podcast. Do it now so you don’t forget.
Courtney: Should we give Michael his podcast back?
Blake: I guess.
Courtney: All right.
Larry: The first step is get clear on your goal. The second step is identify the right behavior, which is very often going to be a habit or a systems change. The third step is track your progress.
Michael: Yeah. Tracking does two things. First of all, it reinforces the habit through self-accountability. I’m doing this right now. I was talking to you guys offline before we started about how I have this resurgence of interest personally in playing the Native American flute. Gail bought me my first two flutes like 10 years ago, and I’ve kind of done it here and there but with no real consistency to it, so I hired a flute instructor.
I’m meeting with him about once every week or two weeks depending upon my schedule, and I started tracking my progress. I committed to him that I would practice 30 minutes a day, and instead of having this big goal that I’m going to learn a suite of songs and compose all of this stuff, forget that. I’m just going to practice 30 minutes a day.
I started tracking that in my Full Focus Planner. On the month pages… A lot of people ask about this, Larry, but on each of those day blocks there are smaller blocks. If you read the instructions, those are designed actually to track habits. I have been checking those off every time I do my flute practice. Jerry Seinfeld talks about this thing about not breaking the streak. Is that what he calls it or is it something else?
Larry: I don’t remember, but it is about this very same thing of maintaining a habit. It’s for consistent behavior.
Michael: Yeah. As you begin to get that consistent practice, you don’t want to break the streak, so that creates a kind of accountability and motivation all of its own, and…this is the second thing tracking does…it boosts motivation by showing you visual progress. Here’s another example. I met with my trainer, Lisa Hisscock, who has a website called More Than a Body at morethanabody.com.
It’s amazing. I work with her through Zoom. We talk once a month. She’s amazingly affordable (much cheaper than having a trainer who works with me at the gym). I’m not opposed to that. I did that for years, but this has been fantastic. She meets with me once a month. We go over what my practice has been, because I’m logging it every time I go to the gym.
Every time I do a workout, I’m logging in an app she uses called Trainer Eyes, so she can see how consistent I’ve been or how inconsistent I’ve been. I can see visually. This last time I talked to her I had worked out two weeks not missing a workout except for Sunday. That’s the one day I don’t work out. Six days a week for two weeks, and I was kind of a little bit proud of myself.
Larry: I bet!
Michael: And she was proud of me! The cool thing was we could see the visual progress, and that motivated me even more for consistency, whereas with intensity… By the way, Scott Adams talks about this in his book. I think it’s called How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.
Larry: I love that!
Michael: He says the problem with an achievement goal a lot of times is that we’re kind of in constant reminder mode that we haven’t yet achieved it, so we’re constantly noticing the gap between where we are and where we want to be, whereas with a habit goal… He uses a different word. He calls it a system, but it’s the same idea of the habit goal. Every day that I go to the gym I get to celebrate a win. I get to feel like I’m winning. That’s a totally different energy and a totally different motivation than feeling, “Wow! The achievement of that goal is still off in the distance somewhere, and I’m not there yet.” Does that make sense?
Larry: It sure does. I love checklists and to-do lists for that very reason. It gives you a sense of accomplishment. Then, you get hooked on the streak. I’m one of those people who will do almost anything if it means I can make a tick mark in my planner.
Michael: I’m going to tell you why I’m excited about that. I’m excited about that because, as an Enneagram 3, of course, that’s what I love. Check marks are the best mark ever, but you’re an Enneagram 1, so to hear that you enjoy that… I think probably most people enjoy that because it gives them a sense of forward movement. We kind of live in an Enneagram 3 culture where achievement is a big deal.
Larry: Yes, we do. Enneagram 1, as I am, tend toward perfectionism, as you know, and the secret for me is to write it on the list, because once it is there, I have to check it off.
Michael: Okay. Here’s the test. You may not do this because you’re not an Enneagram 3. Have you ever written down a task after you did it because maybe you forgot to do it but you just want the satisfaction of checking that off and having a list full of check marks? Be honest.
Larry: Well, what do you think? Yes! I do it almost every day!
Michael: That’s awesome! There are a lot of ways you could do this. You could do it in a paper planner. You could do it in a digital organizer. You could do it in a reminder app. You could do it on your calendar. You could do it on a wall chart. There is something powerful about doing it in a visual way. Now, Jerry Seinfeld, just to go back to him for a minute, did it with a circle or an X on a calendar.
I don’t know which it was, but don’t break the streak. His whole thing was to write a joke a day. That was the secret to his success. He thought to himself, “I don’t have to be brilliant as a comedian,” and he’s brilliant as a comedian. “If I write enough jokes, I’m going to get enough jokes that will be brilliant that people will think I’m brilliant.”
That’s the same way I think about writing blog posts. If I can just write a half a blog post a day and I can do that consistently five days a week, over time I’ll get enough content. A lot of it will be bad, but some of it will be good. Again, I’m not focused on writing 10 amazing blog posts. I’m just focused on the daily practice of writing 500 words a day.
Larry: The third step is track your progress. Before we move to step four, Michael, let’s let people know about this amazing tool you developed for building consistency, and I’m not referring to the Full Focus Planner. We always ask people if they’ve developed a hack for using the planner (a personalized way of using it). Well, this is kind of a hack we put in our own planner. It’s called the Perfect Progress Checklist. What is that?
Michael: Okay. The Perfect Progress Checklist is a tool we designed to help you jumpstart your progress on being consistent in four specific things. First, your daily goal review, because that’s the key to achieving your goal. They have to remain visible to you. If you lose visibility, you will not achieve the goal. It’s a way of tracking. Again, this is a nice tool we’re making available for free. You can track it on a daily basis (goal review).
Then, choosing or selecting your daily big three, which is a concept we talked about on this podcast before, is the real secret, I think, to creating leverage in your life by identifying three and only three tasks you’re going to pursue each day. This has a place to check that. Then, to share a win… To really focus on where you’re winning and not where you’re losing. One way to do that is to share a win with somebody else. It could be your spouse. It could be a child. It could be a co-worker. Whatever it is, there’s a place to make a tick mark.
Then, there’s a blank for one other habit or one other consistent action you want to track. Then, we have at the end of the week a place where you can plan your next weekly preview. That’s something we teach in the context of our productivity system and the Full Focus Planner. This is a place for you to plan that. Now, this can be cut out almost like a bookmark and inserted into your Full Focus Planner or whatever planner you’re using. Move it from day to day and track and see your progress. This is an awesome tool.
Larry: That’s actually one of the things I like the most about it, that it’s a bookmark size and you can make it into a bookmark, because my only suggestion for improving the planner is that I want more ribbons. I like the bookmarks. I’m going to move the ribbon I currently use for the daily page and put that on my goals page. I use one on my weekly big three. Now, this will be my daily page bookmark.
Michael: This is brilliant! I’m going to change my practice based on what you just said. This is awesome. You guys want this, and you can download it for free. All you have to do is go to the show notes for today’s episode. There is going to be a link there. Download it. Start using this especially if you’re using the Full Focus Planner. This will make a difference.
Larry: Yeah. It will be a game changer for some people. That’s at leadto.win. Just check the show notes for today’s episode. Well, that’s a very natural tie to our fourth step, which is to enlist an accountability partner.
Michael: Yeah. This is so important. I’ve already given a couple of examples (what I do with my trainer and what I do with my flute instructor), but if you can build in accountability to anything you’re trying to do on a regular practice… When Gail and I were trying to eat zero sugar and no refined carbs, we held each other accountable to that. It was so much easier. I mean, I would be tempted if it was just me, but the fact that we were trying to do it together… Sometimes I’d feel weak. Sometimes she’d feel strong. She could keep me on track. Sometimes it was the reverse.
In fact, it reminds me of a great verse from the Bible in Ecclesiastes 4. Verses 9 and 10 say, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to the one who falls when he is alone.” That’s the value of accountability.
This is a hack that is so easy. Yet, few people take advantage of it. There is something about putting yourself in that relationship (submitting yourself to a relationship where you’re held accountable) that will do more for you achieving the results than almost any other single thing you could do.
Larry: Well, it’s interesting that you put that twist on it that accountability gives you encouragement as well, because a lot of people, when they hear that word, think it is like getting called into the principal’s office. “I have to go answer for my behavior.” It’s really a way to get support and encouragement for the positive changes you’re trying to make.
Michael: In fact, I think it’s critically important that you find the right accountability partner. I was trying to improve my golf game, so I decided I was going to go golfing with a guy who was about 20 years my senior. This was 20 years ago. This guy constantly ragged on me. I’d slice a ball. I had a problem with slicing my drives. He would just say something like, “There you go again,” which, frankly, with what I know about human psychology now with my coaching experience now, that only reinforces the behavior. What you focus on you’re going to get more of.
Lisa, on the other hand, when she’s coaching me doesn’t say anything about the fact that I have missed a workout. She doesn’t even comment on it. She comments on the places where I have been consistent. She asks me what my goals are. What I’m looking for in an accountability partner is somebody who is going to be fundamentally positive who is going to catch me doing stuff right and not catch me doing stuff wrong who is going to hold me to account, for sure, who might say to me, “You said at the outset that you wanted to work out six days a week or five days a week or whatever it was, and I notice you’re not quite hitting that. Is that still your goal?”
Larry: I love that, because nobody can actually make you change. An accountability partner isn’t going to change for you. They’re just supporting you in making the change or the behavior you’ve already said you want to do.
Michael: Megan said to me one time, “A true friend is somebody who takes you by the hand and leads you back to yourself,” and I think sometimes an accountability partner is that very thing. The person who is there on behalf of the goal, so they’re an advocate for the goal, but they’re also an advocate for you.
Sometimes those things get out of alignment, and they want to lead you back to the goal. If the goal has changed, fine. You can change the goal, but if the goal is the same, they are there to remind you of what you said you wanted to do when you had that moment of clarity, because all of us in the messy middle lose the clarity, and a true friend is going to take us back to what we said we wanted to do and help us get refocused on the goal so we can achieve it.
Larry: I think another key here is that this can be anybody who will do that. It doesn’t have to be a professional counselor. It doesn’t have to be a paid coaching relationship. It can be a spouse or partner. It doesn’t have to be but just anybody who will play that role in your life.
Michael: That’s true, but I will say that if it’s somebody you are paying, it increases the amount of skin you have in the game.
Larry: That’s a very good point.
Michael: For example, I’m paying Lisa. I don’t want to show up at the meeting not having been to the gym because I’m just wasting my money. The same thing with my flute instructor and the same value our coaching clients get out of Business Accelerator. There is accountability built in because they’re writing us a big check. I think that can actually motivate us as well, because when people pay they pay attention. There are people out there who can hold us accountable. We can pay them or it can be free.
Nick has talked on this show before about the service he has used where you just basically get some random stranger and decide you’re going to achieve something over the course of the next 20 or 30 minutes or an hour or whatever it is. It’s just having that accountability. Even to a stranger it can work. Nick, you’re going to love this story. Jim, my assistant, told me he tried that last week. It blew his mind. He said it was so amazing. He was the most productive he has ever been, and he was determined he was going to use it again. I still haven’t tried it, but I want to.
Larry: It’s called Focusmate, and Nick turned me on to that as well. It’s one of those things. It’s like when people offer you a food like snails or frog legs, you’re like, “Really?” But, wow! It is the most amazing thing in how it dials in your focus and brings accountability especially if you’re totally un-structured, work at home, and so on.
Let’s review our four steps to changing your mindset from a mindset of intensity to a mindset of consistency. The first step is get clear on your goal. The second step is identify the right behavior (often a change in habit or systems). The third step is track your progress. The fourth step is enlist an accountability partner. As we wrap up this discussion, Michael, final thoughts for our listeners.
Michael: I would say if you’re procrastinating some big goal you’ve been trying to achieve or if you feel stuck or you’re just struggling to achieve it, I want to invite you to completely throw it away and start over with something that focuses on consistency not intensity, some small practice that, if you do it on a regular basis, will little by little move you toward that goal, something where you can celebrate the win every day and something where you can feel good about the progress you’re making and something where you will, in fact, achieve the goal. It may take you a little bit longer, but you will achieve it. Again, consistency over intensity.
Larry: Well, Michael, thank you for this practical and really encouraging advice.
Michael: Thank you, Larry, and thank you guys for joining us today. Join us next time when we’re going to share with you some next-level strategies that will take your productivity to a whole new level. Until then, lead to win.