I used to suck at setting goals. A lot.
At some point I had a new goals almost weekly. “From now on I will go to the gym 3x a week”, “I will only eat ice cream on weekends”, “Maximum one glass of wine with dinner”, etc. These usually lasted a week, only to be tried again months later. It was a vicious circle.
Then I learned of a technique called inevitability thinking – instead of setting goals and thinking of ways to solve problems, create conditions so that what you want to happen happens automatically.
In the words of Eben Pagan:
If you set up the conditions so that the thing you want to have happen is inevitable (it happens automatically), it shifts your thinking. Creating conditions so that something will happen by itself is very different from trying to make the thing happen.
Suppose you want to go to the gym 3x per week. Which conditions would you need to set up to make it inevitable? Have a training partner pick you up at a specific times? Hire a personal trainer who’ll kick your ass when needed? Set up a system to donate 50€ to the KKK every time you skip a session?
The best option always involves some form of accountability. If you ask your friend to slap you really really hard and promise to give him 250€ if you miss your goal, you will make sure to reach it.
This really works. For a while I’ve been trying to lose weight, but not making much progress. It was time to make it inevitable. A month ago I wrote the following on Facebook:
99 people liked it. That’s 4950€. My girlfriend was keeping score of my progress. Needless to say I didn’t slip.
Instead I lost 4.2kg in 30 days and got very drunk on 2 glasses of wine once the challenge was over.
Some days were harder than others, but the 5000€ (6400$) penalty really helped keep me on track.
It’s that simple. Make your success inevitable!