I’m a complicator.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
Let’s say I want to get into better shape. (I do.)
I start out thinking how I might do that. Going for a brisk walk each morning seems like a good place to start. And then I might think, I want to do some strength training too. So I decide to do three strength training sessions. And then, I think I should really be doing some high-intensity interval training. So I add in three sessions for that. And it’s summer, so… swimming! Why not swim in the mornings and shift my daily walk to the evenings?
In case you’re not keeping track, I’ve gone from not exercising all that much outside of my weekly soccer games to planning (planning is a key word here) three (yes, three!) exercise sessions a day.
This is a sure way to set yourself up for failure. I know, because I’ve done it more times than I can count. And not just when it comes to fitness.
I do this with marketing. With fiction writing. With hobbies. With books I want to read. With pretty much everything.
It’s just too much to commit to. I end up feeling badly for not doing all that I laid out for myself. Before long, I stop doing anything at all.
I have my biggest successes when I simplify.
I’ve learned the key is to ask myself, “What’s the minimum I need to do to achieve the result I want?” That might seem like a lazy way to approach things, but it really works.
This isn’t about over delivering and exceeding expectations for a client — in that case, by all means go the extra mile. This is about achieving your own goals. Your goals for your business, your personal life, your health.
And to reach those goals, the best place to start is with that question: What’s the minimum?
Figure out what your minimum is as best you can. And start there.
Do the minimum for a month and see what happens. And then, if you’re getting great results — or you see promise, but you’re not quite where you want to be — you can add a bell or a whistle. But keep the addition small. And again, stick with that for a month before making any more changes.
When you start with a minimum, it’s much easier to stick to your plan. And when you actually stick to your plan, and, you know… take action… that’s when things start to change.
I’ve been doing this with getting in better shape. Instead of some insane number of workouts a week that I feel like I should do… I’m just doing three. Anything outside of that — like soccer or day hiking or playing tennis with my daughter — is for fun.
And here’s the thing. By simplifying, I’m actually doing what I planned. Which means, I’m seeing results.
If you’ve set a goal, and you’re having trouble sticking with your plan to achieve it, ask yourself if you’ve made it more complicated than it needs to be. If you suspect the answer is yes, try stripping down your task list to a bare minimum. I bet you’ll see a difference in how quickly you start to move forward!
New on the Site
Fear can be a motivator. But it can also be an obstacle. A big one. In her most recent Reality Blog, Tracy Wilson looks at four fears that routinely trip up freelancers, and what you can do to recognize them… and then overcome them.
Is your freelance business in a rut? If you have clients and you’re making an okay income, but don’t feel like your business is growing, check out this post from John Torre. He shares seven ideas to give your business some forward momentum.
Don’t forget to join in the Wealthy Web Writer Practice Assignment this month. Write a lead generation piece for your own business, and possibly get some live feedback during our upcoming Practice Assignment review. This month’s assignment is due on June 15.
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That’s all for now. Make it a great week!