Remember those Goombas in Super Mario Bros? Those pesky, rotten mushrooms would get in Mario’s path every time he tried to get somewhere.
I’m a fortune teller. Tell me if this is an accurate metaphor for your life goals.
We’ll start with the example goal of getting to the gym.
Imagine you’re on your way to the gym, when a Goomba jumps out at you to eat you!
You jump on it; it’s dead.
Then, you’re about to saunter past a trash can, when another one jumps out at you!
You jump on it; it’s dead.
Then, from out of the sewer, another Goomba pops up!
You turn your ass around and go home. You can’t handle anymore Goombas bursting onto the scene.
Sometimes, you try so hard to reach a goal, but you feel drained when barrier after barrier pops up. How can you get anything done when you’re distracted or interrupted?
Squash Your Goombas
I want to share some solid, tangible steps you can take to SQUASH THOSE GOOMBAS like little crunchy leaves you don’t even notice are under your feet.
The following steps are courtesy of me pretending to be James Clear. You see, I once applied to be his project manager/assistant. For one part of the application, you had to respond on his behalf to a hypothetical email from a reader.
Something like this:
How do I get myself to actually go to the gym and work out? How do I make this a habit? I want to do this, but it’s just not working. I spent a few days at the gym but haven’t been consistent. I love reading your blog and need your help.
This is my hypothetical response to Lisa.
Thanks for reading! Congrats on your new goal. The good news is you recognize you fell off course. You shouldn’t expect to fail, but you should plan for failure. Don’t let it stop you.
1) If you haven’t already, implement some triggers that will remind you to go the gym. For example, if you like to go right after work, keep your gym shoes on the passenger seat of your car (or in a backpack if you use public transportation).
You can even put a reminder in your phone or use an app like Strides. Try scheduling emails to yourself (or ask a friend to email you) to check in once a week or so on your progress.
2) If you mean business about this, take out a piece of paper right now. Think about everything that can get in the way of you going to the gym. Then write down a plan to work around any emergencies or distractions. Think about how you can bounce back quickly and get on track.
3) Make your plan sustainable and realistic.
Some people set a goal to exercise only 10 minutes or even 1 minute. That’s it. Just getting up and starting is the key. And it’s often more palatable then a full session. Sometimes you’ve got to ease your mind and body into it.
Be patient with yourself. Consistency is key.
So did you catch all that?
When you are setting a goal – when you are about to go to bed at night, but you just had that piece of cake and you regret it and don’t regret it at the same time….
This is what you can do to stop hating yourself once and for all.
Triggers remind you to take the first step in your ritual. (You probably need more than one.)
Write down every possible barrier or distraction.
Yes, run and get a paper and pen, or pull up Evernote. Write how you will break through each or get back on your bike if you fall off.
Worry more about getting started.
Small moves and baby steps matter. Don’t try to conquer everything at once.
Get back on your bike when you fall off!
Every small change is achievable. You will be successful when you fail but keep trying anyway. Reflect and tweak, reflect and tweak. Notice what’s working and what isn’t. And be kind to yourself.