In next few days, 3rd month of this year will be over and done with.
As per statistics: You are where you were in first of January.
If like half of world, your financial year ends in March, then march rush is already here.
If not, then you are just getting in groove with work and other responsibilities.
But then once in a while articles like this one comes into your newsfeed:
- Best before and after weight loss photos (100+ answers on this post)
- How I turned my blog into 5 figure income
- How to build a product loved by millions [firebase story]
- How my friend and I grew our side project into recurring revenue
and you are reminded of what you planned, last time when you read such article.
It seems so doable when you are reading about what other people have done with such short span ( funny that time always seems so short, when looked in hindsight)
But, when you start yourself, things present themselves in entirely different way.
Just like the new year resolution, you took (silently) just 2 months back in January 🙂
What happens ?
You are not alone.
This is what happens with most of us. You are not a failure. You certainly have reached certain level in your life.
It is only what you desire, every now and then, that seems so elusive.
What happens there?
As I just mentioned: Life gets in the way
And it will. Time and again.
So what’s the solution?
As with yogic approach to life, we will use science of observation and art of execution.
Means observe what is happening and the reasons for it.
Then find out how to take small but firm steps on consistent basis to solve it.
5 hour per week for at least 2 months
Anything that requires more than 3 months to reach as target, can be achieved if you have a more manageable 5 hours a week time frame to it.
Why 3 months cutoff?
Anything that takes less than 3 hours to achieve , will benefit most from intense efforts on daily basis.
Because the time frame is small enough to hold focus for such time.
It is longer term goals that require more than will power and initial euphoria.
As mentioned in this wonderful book “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change by Charles Duhigg” , habits are what gets us most result.
Your decision about pursuing a goal when coupled with will power can take you only up to a certain point.
What takes your beyond that is habit that you develop regarding that goal.
For example, look at your habit of brushing your teeth in the morning. The only way you are able to carry it, till now, is the daily routine that was pushed into you as kid.
Beyond a certain time frame, it is your habit which made it easy for you to do it everyday.
Same applies to nearly 90% of things you do everyday.
[This is indeed a good book to read. Tells you a lot about how habits effect us in long run]
Now back to our topic!
So anything that require more than 3 months to complete, will require a habit to take care of.
But we can’t simply replace our daily routine. Unless that goal itself becomes major part of our life. Like enrolling in a course related to a field or getting job in the field.
What it actually requires is consistent efforts with a plan.
Hence the 5 hours a week focus
So what type of goals are we talking about?
- Loosing weight
- Learning a new skill
- Any health routine like yoga, running, gym etc. ( take your pick)
- Working on improving your existing professional skills
- Any extra-curricular activity
and so on..
Let’s get this straight: If you devote less than 60 min to a task, then effective learning or result will be marginal.
So 60 min a day, 5 days a week.
Or 60 min for 3 days and 120 min on any of weekdays.
The catch: You have to complete at least 2 months.
Why 2 months?
Because, as you will see, end of 1st month will be the most difficult phase.
Not because you are tired or it is difficult. You will feel nothing with 5 hours a week.
The problem will be mind games.
As you will see, you will come up with many reasons of why not to continue any further!
- Should I do something else instead?
- Is it worth it?
This is the time to remind yourself, why you started? and what value you assigned to the goal.
Only when you have done it for 2 months, despite the mental resistance, can you safely make right decision about whether to continue with the goal or leave it altogether.
Why to ‘waste’ time on unnecessary goal?
Yes, I know this is not motivational post and the image is little cheesy for what you normally read on this blog.
This is to drive an important point home: You decided about something after due consideration to value it will provide you over time.
That doesn’t change after doing it for 20 hours ( time you will devote to it in first month).
In reality, more than physical, it is the mental resistance which will make you leave out any goal midway.
You need to know for sure that you are on wrong path before abandoning it.
And 40 hours, as price, for this surety is nothing. Compared to thinking every 6 months (or whenever you read articles mentioned above), what it would have been, if you had stayed on the path.
Second benefit: Apart from surety factor, the other benefit of 2 months ‘at least’ test is that when you have done it once, there is remote chance you will do it again.
Means, once you have delayed your decision to see through the mental resistance, it will effect how you decide about any of your future goals.
In positive way.
If I may say so, this is the most important benefit of crossing the 2 months mark.
It will improve your decision making process and it will change the way you will read about what others have achieved.
You see, not every achievement or goal requires you to pursue it.
For example, you see someone sporting a six pack. And you get inspired to have it.
But have you given thought about, do you really want the six pack or to be lean, healthy and energetic will do?
Am I against six pack or getting ripped? NO.
But it takes a totally different lifestyle to be at that body fat level. Whereas I like to enjoy food as well as being energetic and lean.
I get by practicing yoga 5 times a week. No need to count my calories, protein and other things.
Same goes for learning to code, which I started last year.
It is going well, and now I am thinking about increasing the time I devote to it.
So what next?
Why don’t you choose one of many goals, which you have in back of your mind.
Pick any one of them. Think about how you will feel once you have achieved it? Is it worth it?
If yes, plan about what steps you are going follow to achieve it.
Then get on it.
Carve out 5 hours from your weekly schedule.
If it is same time everyday, all the better, as they will develop a habit faster. (Remember the habit book)
Cross the 2 months mark.
And, once you have crossed a milestone, how about writing it down and sharing with others?
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Also published on Medium.