I hate being frustrated with not accomplishing goals. It happens to me so damn often and it's really tiresome to continually go through the same loop. Usually when enough time has passed my goals get to a point where they simply don't feel worthwhile anymore. This happens for a few reasons:
- When you fail at not reaching your goal you generally find an excuse why you didn't succeed.
- As time passes you grow and learn new information or completely change your environment, which leads to your goal/s becoming obsolete.
- You struggle to find the time to even scratch away at your goal; as time compounds so does your desire simply not do the task to reach the goal at all.
- You try to take on way too much and that just leaves you feeling overwhelmed.
I love the idea of setting goals, however I haven't always had a good track record. I suppose most of us are like that, right?
At the moment I am reading James Clear's new book called Atomic Habits. Needless to say, it's a great book. It's fascinating and very easy to digest and it provides a clear route through each step of the habit forming process.
In the book James make some solid points about the psychology behind why we fail. It quickly becomes obvious that no matter how strong one's willpower is, we all suffer from the same problems: social media, procrastination, over eating, not exercising, failing to write, learn, study ... you name it.
I don't want to go into too much detail about the book but what I do want to say is that the 200 words philosophy gels well with one of James' habit principles. He calls it "Habit Shaping" and it basically means that if you have a goal in mind, you start extremely small and slowly build up over time.
You shape your habits by making the first step ridiculously easy.
If you want to blog more, then 200 words is the perfect starting point. Just start with 200 words, then stop.
If it's cleaning your room, just start with one shelf or drawer, then stop.
If it's studying more, just read 2 pages of your textbook, then stop.
You get the idea.
Make it so irresistibly small that success is inevitable ... then scale up. I've noticed that 200words has really helped me unlock my fear of "not blogging enough". Even though I'm not actually blogging on my own website, it still feels just as good to crank out a 200+ word article from scratch.
One my favourite chapters in the book is about the "Goldilocks Zone". As the name suggests, Clear says it's important to find tasks that are just the right level of difficulty and interest so that we can hit the sweet spot every time we practice them. I think this approach is a great way at mastering your habits because it ensures that you don't bit off more than you can chew. It's important to think in longer time frames and take frequent steps of just a little bit, rather than burn out by working yourself too hard.
I'll end it with this awesome quote from Clear: