“Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence.” ~Christopher Sommer in Tools of the Titans – Tim Ferriss
Two weeks ago, I was talking to a friend and he could hear frustration in my voice. He said, “you’re frustrated because you’re used to things being easy and what you’re trying to do isn’t easy”.
Man, that made me mad.
But it’s true, isn’t it? When things are not easy or perfect, what do we do? We get frustrated. And sometimes we throw the towel in rather than endure the pure, relentless, unforgiving frustrations that come with accomplishing great things.
We hyper-focus on frustrations because it’s easier than moving through them and continuing toward our goals. It’s easier to have something to blame for the lack of immediate success.
But the thing is, getting frustrated will always show up if you set a goal – training for an event, getting through a major sickness, combatting chronic pain, working toward a promotion or being in a valley with your marriage or a friendship.
No doubt, if anything great happens or any major goal is achieved, you’ll at some point be frustrated during the journey.
Simply put, achieving excellence comes with frustrations.
For me, working toward a healthy lifestyle is one of the most frustrating things I’ve personally endured.
I’m like a lot of people. I’ve been up and down and irritated going plus or minus a few pounds. I’d get to a lower weight, get frustrated and quit. I’d gain my weight back and start the process all over again.
But why did I ever stop? Because I could not stomach the frustrations of not seeing enough weight come off. I did not have the patience – I wanted a six-pack overnight. Most importantly, I didn’t commit to a long-term goal. And like most people, I’d eventually quit.
Until something changed. I quit reinventing my goals because I could not manage the exhaustion of setting different goals every time I’d quit, get out of shape, and start over again.
I realized I was committing to short-term goals over and over again, which doesn’t work. Why? Because it doesn’t allow for any level of consistency or habits to form. It’s disruptive to constantly change directions.
It wasn’t until,
- I realized the short-term fixes no longer worked for me, I needed a long term solution
- I needed a goal other than weight loss – this was shallow and unmeaningful
- I was completely exhausted from the frustration of immediate gratification flames flickering out in a blink of an eye
- I set a long-term life goal vs. a short-term shallow meaningless goal
This made everything easier.
Why? Because I committed to one long-term goal instead of tiny short term goals that I could barely keep up with and had to keep reinventing.
In Tim Ferriss’ Tools of the Titans Coach Christopher Sommer writes to Tim, “If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to. Clear, simple, straightforward. Much easier to maintain than having to make small decision after small decision to stay the course when dealing with each step along the way. This provides far too many opportunities to inadvertently drift from your chosen goal. The single decision is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox.”
For me, the single goal, the single decision came when I had a life-altering experience, which I don’t think is necessarily needed but it’s what propelled me toward changing and setting one long-term goal.
It also came when I realized I was setting all these short-term goals and not driving toward one of the most important goals of all – a healthy lifestyle that would last a lifetime.
My goals were always in the moment. I was always trying to drop an inch of fat, or lose ten pounds, or weigh 130 and maintain.
I never ever committed to one meaningful long term goal.
Today, my life goal a.k.a. long term goal is to have healthy eating habits in order to feel good, have high amounts of energy, sleep well, feel confident, have less anxiety, and to workout four out of the seven days a week.
I’ve maintained my weight for longer than ever before because I made a single decision. With this, I don’t have to make tiny decisions every day – like should I eat this or should I not eat that. Constant decision making gets exhausting.
Making this single decision has changed my life and it can change yours too. This can apply to more than just health.
This can apply to marriage – what if your single decision is you’re going to stay married? Or your single decision is you’re going to be CEO someday? And what if you stopped stressing and worrying about the tiny steps in between and stopped constantly trying to make the decisions day in and day out?
Pick a single long-term goal – commit to it. Don’t let anything sway you from it. See what happens!