Whether it’s positive or negative.
James Clear illustrated this by comparing someone who improves 1% every day versus someone who’s 1% worse:
You may be wondering how you can get worse, so I’ll share an example.
Imagine you’ve graduated high school and you’re in the best shape of your life at 150 pounds and each year you gain 1% body weight, which doesn’t seem like a big deal.
You’ll cut back when you’re done university…have your career on track…the kids start school…you retire…
As each milestone ticks by, you come up with a future milestone before you’ll get things back under control.
In the meantime, when you’re ready to retire at 50, your weight has climbed to nearly 205 pounds:
You can use consistency and the power of compounding in your favor though.
Nothing will be able to stop you once you know what it can do.
The question a lot of people ask, though, is how they can show up consistently when they’ve never done it before. They want to know how you can get motivated.
That’s the thing, though, This isn’t about motivation. It’s about discipline. It’s about building your Get Sh!t Done Muscle.
Build Your Get Sh!t Done Muscle
Your Get Sh!t Done muscle is built by doing hard things consistently.
However, hard things for you and me are different and you need to start where you are.
For someone new to building their Get Sh!t Done Muscle, that starting place needs to be as small as possible and your increases as you progress each month will be as small as they need to be to ensure you’re successful.
To start, pick an activity you’re going to do every single day, at the same time, in the same place and in the exact same way. As an example, you’ll wake up at 6:15 AM every day and write a check mark in a book beside your bed.
Once you’ve finished the activity for 30 days, you’ll have taught yourself I am someone who can complete a challenge.
It’s important to keep these promises to yourself. To teach yourself you’re someone who can WIN.
When you’re done with your first 30-day challenge, you’re going to step it up. Your next challenge will be slightly harder than the first – let’s use a practical example below.
Every day at 6:15 AM you’ll:
Within six months you could have gone from being a couch potato who doesn’t believe they can complete challenges to a superstar who’s walking 5 miles every morning.
You’ll be healthier, fitter and more confident than ever, and nothing’s stopping you from ramping that up over the coming years.
The Power of Streaks
Streaks have been my answer.
Whether it was writing or running, I’ve used them for years.
In December 2016, I was an out-of-shape couch potato and was talking with a banker about running when a colleague pointed at my belly, laughed and said You’re not a runner.
Within the next week, I started a running streak.
Over the next 1-1/2 years, I ran an average of 4-1/2 miles daily, every day, lost 40 pounds and completed a 50-mile ultramarathon.
Streaks are the easiest way for you to prove to yourself you are something.
Someone told me I wasn’t a runner.
I showed them I’m whatever I want to be.
The key to streaks is you make a promise to yourself and you KEEP it.
There’s no greater way for you to prove to yourself you’re capable of being whoever you want to be and it’s the greatest way to build your Get Sh!t Done Muscle.
Streaks can, but may not always be, a superpower for someone with ADHD like me.
For some, it’s easy to do something a few days per week. I refer to these people as having dimmer switches.
For others, like me, I refer to myself as ON or OFF. If I’m doing a Streak, I can do it every day for years. I’m also able not to do it for years.
With consistency, here’s some things you need to know:
Exponential versus Incremental
The average person thinks about life in a linear and incremental way. If you add 500 followers in January, you’ll add 500 followers in February.
When we sat around the table at New Year’s 2021, my wife, two sons and I predicted where my Twitter following would be one year later. They each ranged from 25,000 – 40,000 thinking growth would continue incrementally.
I thought I was being aggressive with a target of 50,000 and a 75,000 stretch goal.
We finished the year with 207,000 followers.
We had ALL thought incrementally.
When you’re consistent for long enough periods of time, the compounding leads to exponential growth. You just have to keep going long enough to get there.
It will go slow until it goes fast.
Do it long enough for it to go fast.
Embrace the Suck
When I started as an accountant, I sucked AND 15 years later, I was a CFO.
When I started triathlon training, I sucked AND two years later I completed an Ironman.
When I started writing on Twitter, I sucked AND 15 months later, I’m doing alright on the platform.
You need to be willing to suck long enough to get good:
The 2-Minute Rule
There are going to be days you don’t want to keep the Streak going.
It’s alright, we’ve all been there, which is why I recommend the streak be maintainable.
For example, I ran almost 5 miles per day for 1-1/2 years but the minimum I had to run was 1.5 miles.
In fact, my wife came up with some cheat codes, such as going for a 1.5 mile run at 11:30 PM, taking a rest, then running home at 12:05 AM, which would allow me to have a rest day.
Whatever you’re doing, set a minimum you can stick to.
Also, use the 2-minute rule to help you achieve that minimum:
Run two minutes
Read for two minutes
Creative writing for two minutes
We choose two minutes because the research shows that once you commit to that two minutes, you’re going to put more time in.
The two minutes is how we can get you started.
It’s how we can get your running shoes on and you out the door.
Whatever you want to do regularly, do it in small increments and let the time expand.
Do it Daily-ish
The last one I’m going to leave you with is the idea of doing it daily-ish.
What this means is you may not do it each and every day, but you’re going to be doing it regularly.
I recognize not everyone will have the same ON or OFF mentality as I do when it comes to streaks. They’re not always reasonable or approachable for everyone and that’s okay.
With daily-ish, simply make sure that you never miss two days in a row.
If you miss on Monday, you’re going to do it on Tuesday.
This is also commonly called the two-day rule.
This week on the Growth Guide Podcast, we talked to...
This week on the Growth Guide Podcast, we talked to Shannon Lee Simmons, author of No Regret Decisions: Making Good Choices during Difficult Times.
We all face unexpected decision crises in our lives.
When you feel overwhelmed, it's difficult to be confident in your decision-making. Uncertainty is scary.
In No Regret Decisions, Shannon will show you how to:
My wife would say consistency was my greatest weakness early in our relationship.
Once I learned it’s power, it’s become my greatest strength.
Where in your life can you be more consistent?
Thanks for reading
If you have questions, feedback, or you want to work with me, reply to this email. I reply to all emails and would love to get to know all of you.
See you next week,