If I had to name one thing that everyone wants in life, besides beauty, brains and billions of euros, I would say progress.
Progress is getting better at something. And if we get better at something, we might just be closer to having beauty, brains and billions of euros.
We all know that in order to develop, we have to do something on a regular basis. To get certain results, it takes more than just a one-time action.
This is the case when we are trying to get better at things like
- Making money
- Getting in shape
- Playing an instrument
- Writing a book
- Learning a foreign language
So if we want to achieve a goal such as fluent French, we need to study, and often. If we want to run 10 km, we need to run, often. If we want to be guitar players we need to play, often.
Now, there are good news and bad news. The bad news is that none of these things are easy to start doing. They’re really hard. Everyone that has ever been on their first run knows this, because it really, really sucks.
The good news is that once you’ve done something regularly for a while, it gets much easier.
“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress”
I recently read somewhere that habits account for 40% of what we do every day. Seriously? So almost half of what we do is unconscious, just us continuing with whatever it is that we’ve always done?
It makes sense, though. When I think about it, always buy more or less the same groceries, I go to bed at the same time every night, and I do these things without thinking.
So, how do you form new habits?
First, understand your personal “why”
It’s weird, but most people only seem to have a vague idea of why they want to get better at something. Maybe it’s because it seems obvious. But we need to figure out why something is so important to us, on a personal level.
It needs to be specific. Not just “I want to eat healthy to feel good” but also “it’s important to me to be the best, healthiest, happiest version of myself (insert vision of your best self) so that I can live a full life and be together with my loved ones (insert names of loved ones).”
We need to do this because it’s the one thing that we need in weak moments when we feel like giving up.
Knowing our own “why” is what makes something more than a goal. It makes something a must do thing, necessary because we can feel it in our bones, and it’s crystal clear.
Then, make your “what” into “how” and “when”
This is a no-brainer: create a realistic plan for whatever you’re trying to get better at. Do your homework and learn from those that have done it before you.
By having a plan we don’t have to waste energy on those little decisions anymore. We’ve decided to do something, so we can just do it.
Keep sticking with it
Finally, there will come a time (maybe on the first day already) when reality hits and it’s hard. That’s okay – life doesn’t have to be fun all the time.
Not giving up makes all the difference and remember, it will get easier if you just keep going.
Finally, progress isn’t always a linear trend. We have good days and bad days, days when we perform well and days when we don’t
Maybe the best kind of progress is learning to try, try and try again.