I’ve said many times before progression is a huge motivator. If you don’t see progression, it’s very hard to stick anything you are trying to change in the long term.
So how do you improve your progression odds.
I woke up early this morning thinking about this issue. Tossing and turning half asleep, I came up with the following formula. It’s a work in progress, so do let me have your feedback.
Progression = ABC + 123.
OK, sing it with me… ‘ABC, it’s easy as 123.’ (Hopefully, that makes it easier for you to remember.)
Let’s break this down.
What do we mean by part 1; ABC – Aim to Build Consistency.
This is about habit forming. How can you help yourself to build the habits you want/ need to build to see progress. Well, James Clear in his Atomic Habits books say there are 4 things we can do to make habits easier to build.
(1) make it obvious, (2) make it attractive, (3) make it easy, and (4) make it satisfying.
Speaking to a close friend who was struggling with a few issues last week we figured out that they loved games. So, we made the things she was trying to change into a game; giving points to the good habits she added into every day. What do points mean…prizes. Yes, for every 35 points my friend got to spend time doing something she truly loved. She gave herself a reward/ a treat. 1 week in and its working, my friend is now hooked on keeping her eyes on the prize.
And what of Part 2; + 1,2,3.
These are the ingredients you need for the formula to work.
1 x an open mind. Personal develop and growth needs an open mind. This positive mindset helps us solve problems, make us more tolerant of people and situations, helps us see things differently, be more curious. For progression an open mind helps ask questions that encourage change. How can we do something differently? How can we remove that barrier? How can we change it up? What did we learn? We see things more positively with an open mind.
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”
– Frank Zappa, American musician and songwriter
2 x parts of a plan. Planning is an essential for this formula to work. But it has 2 parts to it; you need to have a plan and then more importantly you need to stick to it. Many people find it easy to write a plan, but how many of you stick to what you have written down. Implementation and activity are the key here. Its tough with all our modern society distractions but that’s what we need to do. Go on, you can do it switch the distractions off and go do something more important instead.
“Progress is not achieved by luck or accident, but by working on yourself daily.”
– Epictetus, Ancient Greek Stoic philosopher
3 x timescales of focus for the activity or the day. Now, the Future, Space. If you think of something you are trying to progress at work, you will often spend your time working and thinking of the future. How do you get from the position now, to where you want to be. This is great for inspiring a vision of the future. Giving us hope. If you are trying to improve your fitness, you might spend lots of time thinking about how you look and feel now. How awful we feel about ourselves? This is good to motivate us to do, to feel achievement to feel proud of the changes we make.
However, I think the secret to making progress is to allow a third type of focused time in your plan/activity. That is focused ‘space’. This space could be used as breathing time, to cover emergencies. It could be used for recovery or to give you time back from an earlier distraction. Whatever you use the focused ‘space’ time for to helps keep your progression on track. You will feel less guilty when things go wrong or affect your plan negatively if you give yourself the space to get back on track. Life happens, so give yourself the buffer of ‘space’.
“I was taught the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.”
– Marie Curie, pioneering physicist and chemist
That’s it folks, Progression = ABC + 123.
Aim to build consistency.
Be open minded.
Have a plan and more importantly stick to it.
Split your time between the now, the future but leave some ‘space’ for catch up.
Give it a go, let me know what you think to my formula.