Hey, it’s Marie Forleo, host of The Marie Forleo Podcast and MarieTV – the place to be to create a business and life you love. And this is Q&A Tuesday and today’s question comes from April.
Marie! Oh my god! I love you. I love your work. I get so much out of your interviews. Thank you for doing what you do. So my question is age old, okay. It’s applicable across the board. Why do I stop doing the things that make me feel good? That I know I need to do. So I’m talking morning practice, journaling, meditation, exercise, whatever, you know, you figure out for yourself and you get it going and you’re like, “Oh I’ve been doing this for two days I’m feeling great. Damn I’m good.” Right? And then you’re like into a week and at that point you’re just like, “This is my life now.” And you tell people, “Oh you know I had to do my meditation so you know I wasn’t available.” You know, you’re in a whole new world. So this time I rocked it for like a month, dude. I did my exercising, I found this free exercise bike on the side of the road and I started doing 20 minutes of bike riding every morning. Now I can make up a million excuses. I’m a mom. I work full time, blah blah. But I was able to make the time one point, why do I step away from it?
Oh my goodness, April. First of all, we all love you. We love your energy, we love your spirit, and we love your question so much! In fact, my team was like, “Yes April – I want to hear the answer to this question too!”
So why do we stop doing the things that we all know are good for us — especially when we’ve been able to make the time before? It’s a head-scratcher, am I right?
Obviously, it makes no logical sense, right, but then again we know that we human beings are not logical creatures. We’re emotional and often irrational when it comes to our behavior.
Now, the truth is there are a gagillion different reasons why many of us stop doing the things that we know are good for us! Some people just get bored, right? Some people rebel against any kind of structure or authority — even if it’s themselves. And some people get off track if their schedule changes, or they travel, or somebody gets sick, or something like that.
Now as a coach, I’m usually not a big fan of “why” questions. First, because in this format I can’t talk with you. I can’t get to the root of your specific situation by asking you more questions. But more broadly, “why” questions can sometimes encourage a little bit of navel-gazing, right? And they can easily spiral into beating yourself up, thinking that you suck, or that you’re just not built to be consistent and disciplined — all of which is not true.
So I think a better, smarter, and more helpful question is, “How can I be more consistent in doing the things that make me feel good?” Or, “How can I set myself up to win the vast majority of time?”
Now those questions are questions we can tackle. Plus, “how” questions aim your brain towards the solution, right, rather than the problem. That’s our Everything Is Figureoutable philosophy, in action.
But before we talk about the how, I do want to make something very, very clear. April, my love, you’re not bad and you are not weak for falling off the wagon of being consistent. Virtually everybody I know does stuff like this, including me!
That’s because we’re human. Right? We have this vision sometimes of these perfect meditators who meditate twice a day, every day and never ever miss. Or we hear about people like Jerry Seinfield who writes a big X on his calendar every day he writes a joke and that he never breaks his streak. But guess what — even Jerry Seinfield doesn’t do this. On a Reddit Ask Me Anything he actually said, “This is hilarious to me, that somehow I am getting credit for making an X on a calendar with the Seinfeld productivity program. It’s the dumbest non-idea that was not mine, but somehow I’m getting the credit for it.”
Point here is, you do not have to strive to be this perfect person who does something every single day for the rest of your life, unless that kind of thing really just floats your boat!
Now that said – there are some systems you can easily put in place to make it easier for yourself to be more consistent, on a consistent basis, and some behavioral science that can really give you an edge.
Now by the way — I just created an entire training program about this called Time Genius. It’s filled with the exact processes and systems that I personally use to consistently show up for myself. It’s packed with tricks and tools grounded in cutting-edge behavioral science and neuroscience and you can learn more at JoinTimeGenius.com.
But for right now, I want to share three simple steps that can help you keep doing the things that you know feel good to you.
So step one is choose one practice or habit — not 17. Right? So I loved that you mentioned all kinds of things that we like to do in our morning practice — so journaling, exercising, all kinds of things like that. And, behavioral science tells us that if you want to be successful in terms of forming a new habit, it’s best to focus on one habit. Not five, not 10, and definitely not 27.
So I’d encourage you to ask yourself – out of everything that you could do that feels good, which one habit or one practice is going to give you the most bang for the buck, given what you want to experience at this stage and season of your life. So, is it riding your bike for 20 minutes in the morning? Or is it something else? Take a look inside and then choose one. Once you do that, then you’re ready for step two which is turn it into a time-bound personal challenge.
What do I mean by that? Let me give you an example. Earlier this year, I wanted to strengthen my ability to create faster and just with more fluidity. So I gave myself this 30-day writing challenge, where I committed to writing every single day for at least an hour on a non-work-related project.
30 days really felt like this fun and invigorating period of time for me. It wasn’t too short, where it was just too easy, and it wasn’t too long where I’d feel tired before I even started. I even roped my best friend Kris into it and we started sending each other texts every day when we got our daily writing done.
So I would encourage you to do this for yourself. So, you want to find a length of time that feels like a stretch. I mean, maybe that’s two weeks, maybe it’s two months, maybe it’s 90 days — whatever feels right for you. But I want you to make it 100% doable and something you feel happy and excited to commit to. Now once you do that, you’re ready for step three, which is make your success inevitable.
So, this is where the real magic happens. I want you to ask yourself, “What can I do now to make sure that I complete that challenge successfully?” So, for me, there were actually a few pieces. One is I needed to get Josh onboard. Because I knew I was planning to write over the weekends, and that’s usually our special time together. And two, I needed to create a system to track and monitor my progress. Because studies show that people who track and monitor what they do are way more likely to stay on track.
So I want you to think about this for yourself, right? What are some small steps that you can take to complete your challenge? Is it talking with your family? Is it getting to bed earlier? Is it recruiting a buddy? I don’t know. I’m sure you got ideas, though.
There is of course a lot more that I could teach you about the science of willpower and consistency, too much to get into right now, but I promise you – if you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to being more consistent with doing the things you know make you feel good!
Now April, there’s one more thing specifically for you.
So you shared that you’re a teacher and we all know that is not an easy job. I mean, especially with everything happening around us right now. But the thing I respect most about you and what you shared in your question was when you said, “Now, I could make up a million excuses — I’m a mom, I work full time, blah blah blah – but I was able to make the time at one point, why do I step away from it?”
That, right there my friend, what you said, that is the sign of someone I have deep respect for. And you know why? It’s because you know excuses are total BS. Again, we can all make excuses if we want to. But the kind of folks that I want to work with, the kind of people that I want to surround myself with are no excuses kind of people. And that is you.
And because I believe in you so much and I know there’s just a few systems that you need to put in place, there’s just a few things you need to understand, and you’re going to be more consistent than you’ve ever dreamed of. So that being said, I want to gift you a seat in my new program that’s called Time Genius. I promise you, everything you need to be more consistent is in there. Plus, you’re gonna get all the tips and the tools and the tricks that I’ve personally been using for decades.
So April, that was my A to your Q and I really hope it helps. Now for all you out there who can relate to April’s struggle, I’m really curious, which of today’s steps are gonna help you the most?
Is it step number one, choosing that one habit to build rather than 36? Is it step number two, turning what you want to build into a fun and achievable time-bound challenge? Or maybe it’s step number three, right, maybe you need to figure out how to make your success inevitable?
Let me know in the comments below.
Now of course — if you want to go even deeper and and if you want to master your ability, not just to be consistent, but to make better, wiser, and more joyful use of your time, you gotta head on over to JoinTimeGenius.com because it would be my honor to work with you, too.
Now until next time, stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world really does need that special gift that only you have. Thanks again for watching and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV!
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