2012-12-01 Get ‘Er Done

Well, how did those resolutions go in 2012? Did you reach your fitness goals? Did you reach any goals, or do you have a sentence like the one below floating around in your head to make you feel better?

I would have completed x if y hadn’t happened, which is ok, since x is harder for me anyway because of my genetics.

The crazy thing about setting goals is that we all know almost everything that needs to be done to complete those goals. I’ll give you an example: Make sure you save at least 10% of your income. Put your money away in a diverse portfolio. Invest in real estate. Buy stocks when everyone else is selling.

Now, anyone who knows me very well knows I am not a financial advisor, but I have picked up enough over the years to know that the advice above is pretty solid. On the same token, everyone reading this article knows what to do to get stronger and to lose weight.

The problem is not knowledge, it’s execution.

You probably can grasp that we are better motivated by the avoidance of pain than the promise of happiness. You’ve probably even seen it in action. How often do you reward yourself even if you don’t quite earn it? My guess is it’s almost every day.

You might remember “The Alpo Diet” that we wrote about a few years back. The basic idea is you invite a dozen or so friends over to dinner, whip out a big can of Alpo dog food, and promise them that you’ll have them over again next month to watch you eat it if you don’t lose 10 pounds.

This, obviously, would work better than promising yourself a shopping trip if you achieved a goal. You’re taking that trip whether you lose weight or not. The idea behind the can of Alpo is called pre-commitment. Thanks to websites like stickK.com, you don’t even have to invite your friends over to make a high-stakes commitment. The idea is easy: state a goal, set the stakes, get a “referee,” and tell everyone about it.

The trick is in the stakes. You’ve got to make it hurt. In fact, the more it’s going to hurt, the more likely you’ll reach your goal. The most popular commitment is a donation to the George W. Bush Presidential Library (I don’t see what the big deal is…I like comic books), but you can pick anything you’d hate to give money to. Just by setting high stakes, you are close to three times as likely to reach your stated goal.
If you are floundering, this might be your ticket. Log on to stickK.com, wager $500 against losing those last 5 pounds, and see just how well you work when the heat is on.

 

2012-11-15 The Shoulds

Information sharing is an interesting business, especially when the information you’re sharing is information your readers already have. Like this:

You should save your money.

You should spend more time with your family.

You should spend less time in front of the TV.

You should exercise more, and do it more vigorously.

You should eat more vegetables.

You should eat less sugar.

You should talk to your significant other.

You should be involved in your community.

You should stretch more.

You should read all of these books before you read any teenage paranormal romances.

You should travel more.

You should learn a new skill every year.

You should call your parents.

You should eat more organic food.

You should eat more local food.

The problem is that all of this is a little too much to take care of. Pick one thing and do it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and then you can add another. Keep track of your progress, and you’ll be amazed where you get in a month or two.