Never Let Excuses Drag You Down Again
I'm driving home from work. It's already dark, and the rain is pelting the windshield. In the backseat, I have my workout bag. In less than a mile, I have a decision to make. Do I turn left and go to the gym, or do I continue to drive straight and go home? Then the rationalizations start. What's the big deal if I miss one workout? I can exercise extra hard tomorrow. My body and my mind are all pleading with me to skip the workout, but I decide to turn left because I gave myself a unique and powerful gift.
During this time of year when we are focused on buying gifts for others, we should give ourselves a gift. However, this is a gift you cannot buy in any store and it's a gift that only you can give yourself. It's the gift of "at least."
The thought of working out for an hour was too daunting. The mental hurdle was too much for me to overcome. "I'll go for at least ten minutes," I told myself. That single message is what provided the mental shift that gave me the permission and the momentum to exercise that night. In an age when we are constantly trying to do more, and in a column where I encourage readers to capitalize on their other eight hours -- the time they are not working or sleeping -- it may come as a surprise to see me encourage you to do less, but there is power in "at least."
These two simple words can get you off the couch and can help you reach your goals because they crush the one thing that can impede your progress -- excuses. Whenever we are going after a goal or doing something we know we should do but don't necessarily see immediate results from, we can talk ourselves out of action. We'll look for any reasonable (and sometimes not so reasonable!) excuse. When this happens infrequently, it's harmless. But more often than not, one missed workout turns into two and three until we talk ourselves out of reaching our goal. A worthwhile outcome -- one that could benefit our family, our health, our finances or our community -- turns into another missed opportunity.
When the excitement of setting the goal turns into the drudgery of working toward it, you need a secret weapon. Something you can pull from your back pocket to ward off excuses and rationalizations. Give yourself the gift of "at least." By allowing yourself to do less, you'll actually do much more.
How can you use "at least" thinking? Don't feel like walking two miles? Tell yourself you'll walk for at least 20 minutes. If that's all you do, at least you got out and did something. Don't feel like committing to a three-hour writing session? Tell yourself you'll write for at least ten minutes. At the end of ten minutes, evaluate whether you want to continue. More often than not, you'll find that you'll want to keep writing. And that's the power of "at least." It not only gets you over the initial hump, but it usually keeps you going.
Master salespeople have used a similar tactic called the foot-in-the-door technique for decades to close more deals. The technique involves getting people to agree to a large request by first agreeing to a much smaller request. The lesson? Give yourself an inch, and you may just go a mile.
Available at Amazon.com:
- The Top 50 Companies to Work For
- Careful Actions Can Lead to Good Luck
- Never Let Excuses Drag You Down Again
- Careful Actions Can Lead to Good Luck
- Great Christmas Gifts That Won't Cost You a Dime!
- Why You're Not Reaching Your Goals And What To Do About It
- Boost Your Energy with Time-Shifting
- The Secret to Doing Your Best Work Effortlessly
- Introvert's Guide to Self-Disclosure
- Can-Do Entrepreneurs Move Beyond Can't-Do Government
- 4 Steps To Becoming a Multitasking Master
- How to Answer 'What Do You Do?'
- How to Start a Business for Free
- Solution-Focused Questions: The Secret to Success
- A New Wave of Entrepreneurs
- 5 Tips for Becoming an Entrepreneur in Retirement
- Starting a Business: Focus on Profits Not Popularity
- A Revolutionary New Way to Learn
- Give Up the Quick Fix
- Invest in Me, Inc.
- The Power of Persuasion: Food Marketing Really Does Work
- When Success Doesn't Come Fast Enough
- The Right Job at the Right Time
- Skimps and Splurges for Starting a Business
- Unique MBA Programs Build Leadership Skills
- Business Schools Add New Entrepreneur Programs for MBA Students
- Why Start-ups Could Make or Break the Job Recovery
- Launching Your Own Business After Age 50
- Behind the 'Mompreneur' Myth
- Creative Ways to Combine Work & Family
- Rules to Reduce Risk When Starting a Small Business
- Banking Laws Leave Small Business Vulnerable to Internet Fraud
- Small-Business Tax Breaks in 2010
- Kick-Starting a Small Business of Your Own
- When to Make a Personal Course Correction
- Perils of Running a Business From Home
- Small Businesses Hold on Despite Economy
- Entrepreneurship Is the New Retirement: 10 great places to start your own business
- 10 Great Places for Entrepreneurs to Retire: Jump in Start-ups Led by Baby Boomers
- Entrepreneur: 6 Tips for Starting a Small Business After Age 50
- The Failure Myth Revisited
- It's the Right Time to be an Entrepreneur
- Midlife Entrepreneurs: How One Entrepreneur Decided to Take the Leap
Entrepreneur - Never Let Excuses Drag You Down Again
(c) 2010 CBS INTERACTIVE INC. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES INC.