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How to Make the “Impossible” Happen

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How to Make the “Impossible” Happen

Many people have what they call a “bucket list”: namely, a list of things they want to experience or accomplish before they die. Sometimes, a bucket list just doesn’t cut it, however, which is why making an “impossible list” is the way to go. Following the rules of Joel Runyon’s impossible list, learn how to accomplish the things that you think you’ll never be able to do, and how to drive yourself to do more.

What do you believe to be impossible?

The first step in this process is to figure out what you believe to be impossible. Some common activities include:

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  • Running a marathon
  • Going skydiving
  • Going a whole year without fast food
  • Reaching a million Twitter followers
  • Learning how to play piano
  • Learning a foreign language fluently

These are the things that you don’t think that you could accomplish in 100 years, yet you want to do your best to achieve them.

Bucket Lists

An impossible list isn’t a bucket list. It’s not a guide for you to accomplish things that you think are possible and that you want to do before you do; an impossible list is what you think is IMPOSSIBLE. It’s important to separate the two very different types of lists and focus on the impossible.

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The reason why it’s called an impossible list is because you find the activity to be impossible to accomplish, while a bucket lists suggests a list of things that you know you can accomplish if you put your mind to it. The main difference between the two is that an impossible list not only requires a strong mind, it also requires a strong body, sense of self, and passion to always do more.

What’s next?

Once you’ve configured your impossible list, the next thing that you should is this: go. The only way to really get started is to pick something, and really go after it. For example, if your list contains running a marathon, you should get off your couch and go for a jog. Every week, you should be doing more. Your focus should not only be the run, but what you need to do to be successful in completing a marathon. This means fixing your diet. It means finding great resources on running. It means running a 5K and then a 10K and then a half-marathon; it’s as if you’re climbing a ladder to get to the length of a marathon. 

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See, it’s not just about trying to go from 0 to impossible, it’s about the steps that you have to take to get there. Most of the time, this requires focus and attention to accomplish the impossible. But you didn’t expect anything less, right?

Adding/subtracting

Your list can be dynamic; it can be ever-expanding and evolving into whatever you want it to be. This means adding things to your list, or even subtracting some things (for overlying circumstances that prevent you from accomplishing one of your goals). The main idea is to get to you work harder than you even have and ultimately, to get you to get rid of the word “impossible” so that you can become the best person that you believe you can be.

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This isn’t about anyone else, this is about you.

Last, but not least

It’s important to note that you must have a strong desire to accomplish the things that you think are impossible. If you don’t possess this, chances are you’ll come up short and you’ll begin to lose the motivation, drive, and inspiration that is necessary to accomplish the impossible.

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This is no easy feat. In fact, most people may give up. They may get discouraged and want to stop doing it altogether, but if you’re still reading this, chances are you’re not one of those people. You’re someone who will accomplish the extraordinary and maximize your growth.

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer 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.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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