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If You Want To Achieve Every Goal You Set, You Should Know This Magic Loop

If You Want To Achieve Every Goal You Set, You Should Know This Magic Loop

How One Year Is Too Long As A Feedback Loop

Decisions to change behavior normally begin with one choice. But the challenge is to stick with the plan to alter a specific behavior for one whole year. This one decision equates to multiple changes in a person’s daily life.

One year.  That’s a long time.  And waiting until the end of those 12 months to assess our progress is also problematic.  How can we properly or successfully identify areas of weakness or areas to pay closer attention if we wait 12 months, 52 weeks to make adjustments?  Most likely, we will have bailed on the project long before it had a chance for successful completion.

Tracking our progress is important.  And, if we begin to track our progress sooner rather than later, we may enjoy different results.  It is called the magic loop.  Assessing progress daily, weekly, monthly or every three months is one way to magically achieve results.

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The Magic Loop:

Daily Motivation and Reflection

Les Brown says we should review our goals twice a day to be focused on achieving them.

This may look like spending time planning each step.  In this step, a set of positive, encouraging affirmations to start the day can keep us focused on our goal and prepared to win.

Try telling yourself each day, “Anything worth achieving will always have obstacles, but I can do it!”

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Another suggestion is to regularly review the day’s progress, also known as daily reflection.  Ask yourself, “Did I work towards my goal today?  What did I do?  What did I skip?  How can I do better tomorrow?”

These questions and their subsequent answers will help us gauge our daily progress and improve on our results the next day.

Weekly Planning

Planning to succeed is vital, but so is celebrating our success.  At the beginning or end of each week, you can write out a plan to help you reach your New Year’s Resolution goal.  In this way, the newly desired behavior will become a habit instead of an “I tried it and I failed” attempt at success.

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For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds by the end of a three-month cycle, you could plan your meals for the week making sure you stay under the caloric intake.

By following your weekly plan, then doing daily reflection, you can magically advance towards your goal.  Then, at the end of the week, you can make another assessment to see how far you have come.

Monthly Tuning and Celebration

Hopefully, you are writing down your daily progress, which will help you remain focused. You can also review your daily notes on a weekly basis. Try writing a weekly summary as well or journaling your experience. At the end of the month, you can re-read your notes. Take the time to pay special attention to where you have come from and where you are going. Celebrate the successes with low or no-cost activities that affirm your hard work.

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Conclusion

Change requires action. Even the best and most prolific leaders do a review of the work they have done to see if it is paying off. Sometimes that action is multi-layered, like the magic loop. But the above-stated actions will yield results that will make you smile at the end of the year.

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Michelle Owens

Freelance Writer/Editor

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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