There's one thing you can do to ensure you have a winning chance of achieving a goal—get a strategy
What's a Strategy?
It's a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
Having a goal is great, but you need a strategy to support it, to ensure you can get it done.
The Planner and The Doer
Before we look at an example let’s take a step back. There’s an interesting dichotomy that gets in the way of success. In “Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts — Becoming the Person You Want to Be” by Marshall Goldsmith,
it explains we each have two personalities. The personality that plans,
The Planner, and the personality that does, The Doer. Most of us are good Planners, but not good Doers, and it makes perfect sense. It’s easy to plan. We sit and dream of what we want to do but executing on the plan is hard, really hard, and the Doer in each of us isn’t setup for success.
A Successful Strategy
So let’s look at an example strategy. If your goal is losing weight your strategy might look something like this:
1. Healthy eating
4. Stress management
5. Support Community
Taking a Deeper Dive
1. Healthy Eating
To lose weight your eating plan needs to be measured, portion control or calories, as well as eating a combination of the right food groups. What this means to each of us is completely different and trying to be someone you’re not is part of the reason our best intentions go awry. Make sure the Planner in you doesn’t get carried away and give your Doer the chance to make it work for you. if you adore pasta and you try to cut it out of your eating plan permanently, you run the risk of your Doer rebelling and feeling deprived, and deprivation doesn’t work long-term. In a nutshell, your eating plan has to be calibrated for your day-to-day lifestyle and therefore your Doer.
Exercise is another choice that you don’t want your Planner to force you into. It’s much easier to exercise when you’re doing something you enjoy, that appeals to you, and that’s more meaningful than simply a method to burn calories. There are always going to be those days when you don’t want to exercise, when your energy is low, when you’ve run out of steam. And if your Doer doesn’t like the form of exercise your Planner has chosen, then no amount of discipline will get you there. If walking is your chosen form of exercise and you enjoy it, excellent you’re over one hurdle, and if you add a walking buddy you’ll be more likely to exercise even when you feel like it. For most of us there has to be another reason to exercise and having an exercise buddy can make all the difference.
Environment is one of the most critical factors to achieving a goal. The book I mentioned earlier, Triggers, discusses how essential the environment is to success. The power of your environment cannot be overlooked and this means everywhere you find yourself on a regular basis. As part of a weight loss strategy it’s essential to consider where you are and with whom you spend your time.
4. Stress management
For many of us stress is something we live with everyday, and a small amount of stress is ok. It’s a motivator and kept in check is positive. However, too much stress is a terrible thing for your Doer. It’s destructive; it paralyzes creative thinking, and even makes us physically hungry. Quantifying stress and how much stress is bad for your Doer is not a one size fits all. The amount of stress one person can cope with is entirely different from another.
Here’s another interesting fact; at the start of each day, as long as we’ve slept well, we have replenished our capacity for change and
we start out the day at 100%. With each new, or difficult, task (new and difficult = stressful) our capacity for change is gradually used up. Therefore, it’s an exhaustible source. That means we run out of steam as the day progresses — literally. That’s why you see recommendations to exercise in the morning before you’ve done anything else that might sap your exhaustible energy source. This is why successful people do the most difficult things first, as it’s when they have the most energy. One book that takes you through creating new habits and how stress has an impact on success is
“The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg. It’s one of my favorites on the topic. Beautifully written
and well worth the read.
5. Support Community
Your support network, community, friends, and family are essential and are part of your environment. If the friends you hang out with all exercise, and live a healthy lifestyle it will rub off on you. This might mean you need to limit time with certain friends if they aren’t supportive of your goal, as they will tempt the Doer in you to veer off course. Ensuring you have the right team of people around you is essential and it’s something you need to consider. Regardless of the change or goal you want to achieve we all need the right support to help our Doer get it done.
A well-designed strategy is the foundation to achieving success but watch out if you have an over enthusiastic Planner. Develop the strategy for
your Doer and you’ll achieve all those goals you previously thought
Shout out to Marshall Goldsmith for the fantastic book — Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts — Becoming the Person You Want to Be, and to Charles Duhigg for The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.