We’ve all been there. Dreading the task that we set for ourselves. Whether it is reading, or cleaning the room, or writing in you daily journal, we all face tasks throughout the day that we simply don’t want to do. How do we get over this? How do we make these easier on ourselves?
It’s pretty simple really. The best way to start something is to simply start. However, the trick is this. Lower the outcome. The hardest part about starting something is the start. Once we get going, it is easier to keep up what we already are doing. I’ll explain what I mean.
Let’s say you set a goal for yourself to read for 20 minutes. Let’s also say that you are in no mood to read, but you want to push yourself to keep up your daily reading. Instead of telling yourself that you will read for 20 minutes, lower your goal. Tell yourself that you are only going to read 5 pages. I think we all agree the sound of reading 5 pages is way easier than 20 minutes. More times than not, this will help you with the most difficult part about this task you gave yourself. The most difficult part about reading for 20 minutes is not the reading for 20 minutes. In fact, the most difficult part about reading for 20 minutes is opening the book. That is the real part we dread. We dread the build-up. Here is where the hack comes in handy. Once we open that book, we already won. We already got past the worst part. If we convince ourselves that we are only going to read 5 pages, then it will be easier for us to open up that book. And guess what, once you are already reading, it is easier to keep going. It’s easier to continue reading than it is to start reading. With this in mind, it will be easier to reach your goal of reading for 20 minutes because you already got through the worst part. After that, it’s simply continuing what you’re already doing.
This is not my own concept. I’ve borrowed this from many people I listen to. It’s gotten passed around a lot because it works. The first example I heard of this is with flossing. If you promise yourself to floss just one tooth, then you will end up flossing all your teeth because it’s easier to continue to do the rest. The difficult part is to start flossing but once you’re past that it gets easier to keep going. Something in motion wants to stay in motion.
I wonder if you could apply this hack to bigger goals in your life. Sure it’s good for reading, writing, or flossing, but how about applying it towards a business? Are we likely to see similar results from using this tool to start a business? Many of us who have business ideas can’t get over the hump of commitment. What if we changed our goal of making money to just coming up with a business plan? This makes the task far less intimidating and may help us get going. Once we see ourselves make progress there, perhaps this will encourage us to make progress with a marketing plan, or finding suppliers, or validating that there’s a market.
I apply this hack to many parts of my life. I apply this hack to writing, working out, running, work assignments, studying, and so on. It’s a great hack to take your mind off the burden of starting something. But once you get going, it gets easy to stay in motion. Use this tool to make tasks less intimidating and help yourself move forward. A lot of the times the most difficult part about doing a task is the start. What can you apply this hack to in your life that would help you reach some of your goals?