Heads up – this is a vulnerability post. Today is an awesome day to let you in on some internal dialogues I am having with myself and I am excited to take the opportunity to share with you some mental conflicts that I actually predicted. And, I am reaching out to you to help keep me accountable!
As you may or may not know, I started a daily blogging habit back on February 24 and planned it for 90 days. The reason I like 90 day plans is that they are short enough to see the finish line, but also long enough to see results. I wrote about that more in detail on my post Strategy vs Tactic.
So how do we reduce the amount of self-sabotage and increase our chances of seeing our projects through completion?
Here’s the secret. It is easy to give advice and direction. I do it every day! But it’s HARD to take advice, even when you know logically that it makes sense.
Why do we stay stuck? Because humans are not logical or rational, and we are the worst predictors of our own behavior. One of the hardest parts for me is to take my own advice because, as humans, we are so resistant to change. So today, I am sharing with you some of the challenges I am currently facing, and what I plan to do to overcome them. I hope it helps you with YOUR 90 day plans!
The 90 day plan
As I mentioned, 90 days is an ideal timeline for any goal you set. It is short enough to see the end zone, and long enough that you can create some meaningful results.
To make it happen, you need to look at three things:
- Your overall goal
- Your processes to get you there
- The activities to schedule to complete the processes
Most times, when we set a goal, we only go so far as to set the processes. And when we start working on “stuff,” we get easily side-tracked because we don’t know exactly what we are supposed to do each day. That is why the scheduling is so vital. When you schedule your activities that meet the needs of the process, which lead to the goal, you only have to check and see if you did it or not. You only need to say YES or NO.
There is no room for interpretation at that point.
During your 90 days, once you have set your activities, you have to then FORGET the goal. Don’t measure yourself on results. The true measure of success will be whether you followed the plan. Sure, watch the stats, and measure progress, but don’t let that be a reflection of your efforts. Only at 90 days, should you evaluate the success. I will be writing more on this later.
What happens to us during the 90 days
Usually the first 30 days are pretty fun. You learn new skills, you are excited about new habits, and perhaps you see some cool results. Basically, you can do anything for 30 days. It is not that far out of your comfort zone, and you just have to work a bit harder.
During those 30 days, however, new ideas will come your way (the shiny object syndrome) and you will be tempted to abandon your plan and try something new. That is why we get caught in an endless cycle of new ideas that don’t fully work.
Also, like what happened to me, is that you may feel as though it is not working. When I first started blogging, I would post, and I would hear crickets chirping. And even as I progressed, it felt like no one was reading my posts. Cue the insecurity, ego, vulnerability, etc. But a few people here and there told me that the stuff I was writing was actually helping them!
That was when I realized that I was actually making an impact. Even if ONE person got value, I was doing the right thing. I hope YOU get value from what I write too. But when you start a new 90 day project, be prepared for the crickets to chirp. Don’t expect anything to happen…yet.
If you make it past the first 30 days, good job. Between 30 and 60 days poses a completely new challenge. Typically, results start to slow down during this period. You have built some good habits, and it is not as tough as it was at the start, but you also start to get kind of in a routine, which can in turn, lead to boredom. Combine the routine with results that aren’t dramatic and perhaps look like they are plateauing, and you have a recipe to abandon your plan again.
Or, perhaps the work you have been doing has created some really cool new opportunities and you want to work on those instead? Something new and exciting. Not this routine work that you have been doing, right?
My Personal Day 56 is TODAY. And…
It is usually at the 45 day mark that the newly formed habits start to suffer. Between 45 and 60 days. And wouldn’t you know it, that is exactly where I am today. Day 56.
I have found that over the past few days, I haven’t been as eager to write my posts and have been focusing in other areas. I am looking at MY shiny objects.
I have been approached by quite a few people throughout the past month who want to do more work with me and it is very exciting. The blogging worked, so let’s move on, right? Wrong.
But here’s the thing. I WANT to make sure I finish my 90 day plan. Because I said I would.
And I know what lies ahead. Stay with me…
The last 30 Days – Get your ass there!
Day 60 to 90 is really where magic happens. And often, it is not until the last few weeks that you see a massive change in results.
When you get past the 60 days, you have really formed some string habits, perhaps found new relationships, and have a new set of skills. The last 30 days are really where you start to apply these new skills, and you are in more of a performance zone.
The skills you developed are now part of your DNA and you are in more of a state of flow. Read my post on making tough decisions – especially the part on comfort zones. When you start pushing your comfort zone a bit at a time, you can grow. But it takes time. When you go through the entire 90 day process (for anything) you develop an entirely NEW comfort zone.
Your goal therefore, should never be about results. You should focus on doing the activities and in doing so, bring yourself to a new state of reality. One where you have new capabilities and understanding to tackle new problems. If you stay focused for 90 days on very specific activities , AND you do that every quarter for a year, imagine the evolving states of realities you create.
Each quarter, you have new skills and confidence. From that point, you grow more over the following 90 days, altering your reality yet again. And so on.In life, it is not the BIG home runs we hit, but rather our willingness to do the little things each day. The true measure of success is not what you accomplished, but how you got there.
So back to my dilemma. I logically know why I should see my daily blogging through to the 90 day conclusion.
- Because it alters my reality
- Because I said I would
And when I get caught in the days where I don’t feel like doing it, I have to re-focus myself on the reason I am doing it.
It is easy to forget the emotions you felt before you started a 90 day program. Even if it has only been 56 days. Your goal is to keep yourself focused on activities. You must be unwavering to your commitment, not just to your goal, but to yourself.The true test of your character comes from your ability to do what you say you will do. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t criticize your performance. Don’t get caught in negative self-talk. Finish what you started. When you finish, THEN take a look and see what you learned.
When you finish what you start, it not only builds your confidence, but the confidence in those around you.
So today, for me, was all about taking the time to do a bit of self-reflection, and re-align my mind to the project. Doing so, makes me feel more empowered and motivated to finish.