Has anyone ever told you that a habit is created in 21 days? This is a popular belief, and I understand that there is a lot of research and expert knowledge that makes this an accepted way of thinking… but I actually think it’s bullshit.
I am very open with the fact that I never went to college, and that I have a GED. Tucker Max, Scribe co-founder, on the other hand, went to the University of Chicago and Duke Law School. When comparing the vast differences in our backgrounds, Tucker once told me that this fact may actually give me an edge, because I’m able to approach things from a completely different perspective than most. Instead of just taking things for granted or accepting what everyone else was taught, I challenge the status quo and ask a lot of questions.
Questions like: “Why can’t you create a habit in one day?” and “What if self-discipline isn’t a factor in reaching your goals?”
I was working out with David Goggins the other day (yes, I survived), and he was surprised when I said I do not believe that self-discipline is what helps you reach your goals.
I believe it comes down to choices.
This is how I approach life and create change for myself; I make a choice and decide I’m going to do it. And then I do it. Once the choice is made, I don’t unmake it. I just keep repeating it.
Self-discipline is often used as an excuse for why someone isn’t able to reach their goals. Someone may say: “I don’t have the self-discipline like David Goggins, so I won’t ever be able to lose weight or run a marathon, let alone an ultramarathon like David.”
In this case, self-discipline becomes a limiting belief that will hold this person back from taking action.
If you want to create change in your life, here is how to do it:
- Make the choice.
- Create a specific roadmap to get to where you want.
- Get additional support, if needed.
- Be consistent in your daily choices as you work toward your goals.
It’s that simple. Below, I share some specific examples of how to do this.
Goal: Lose weight
This morning, I walked into our Scribe offices wearing a suit, and many of our Tribe members commented on my attire. I hadn’t worn my suits in a long time — because they didn’t fit me for a long time.
In January of this year, I weighed 280 pounds, and I made the choice to change.
Since then, I’ve lost fifty-seven pounds.
It didn’t take self-discipline, and it didn’t take 21 days.
It took hard work and consistency. I chose every day to not eat a burger and fries at McDonald’s. I followed through and kept making choices to support my goal.
Here are a few other ways you can make progress and reach your health goals:
- If you think you’ll need more support, get a gym membership or hire a personal trainer.
- Utilize a friend for accountability, and train for a race together.
- Make a plan to workout at home using an app, subscription, or even free videos on Youtube. You don’t need a gym membership to see results. Make the choice to change, without excuses.
Goal: Change your career
People often ask me how to change careers or to find a new job that is more fulfilling and rewarding.
Again, it comes down to choices. Make the choice to find a new job, then make a plan to get there. Stop making excuses, and start taking action.
Someone recently asked me how to find a job in their small town, and said that there weren’t many opportunities available to them. My answer? “Move!”
I will never say that making a change will come easily. You still have a choice. While you may be more limited, there are always choices and options for you.
This is where you may run into difficult decisions and sacrifices. If you aren’t finding higher-paying opportunities in your small town, maybe you need to consider moving to a bigger city. Perhaps expand your thinking to include remote work.
If you aren’t happy in your current job or situation, make a choice to change, and then follow through with it.
More tips to change your career:
- Search job boards, LinkedIn, and other sources. If you aren’t finding many options, widen your search by changing the specific position, or open yourself to jobs in other locations (or… move!)
- Follow-up. Don’t just submit a resume online and leave it at that. You can connect with the hiring manager on LinkedIn, reach out and email someone directly, or follow up in another way. (If you want to be different, you have to do something different.)
- Update your resume and cover letter, and have them reviewed by someone who will be able to give you quality feedback.
- If you find you aren’t qualified for the job you really want, how can you gain the experience or knowledge needed? Research online training opportunities, certificate programs, or internships.
Goal: Increase your salary
Maybe you have a job that you enjoy, but you would like to make more money. In that case, it’s up to you to take action and show your value to your company.
Here at Scribe, we even coach our Tribe members how to plan for and ask for a salary increase. This is something that you are able to take action on. If you want to increase your salary by 5%, then make a plan, and continue making choices to work toward that goal.
How to plan for a salary increase:
- Create a career roadmap and decide what you are working towards. How much money do you want to make, and is this a realistic amount for your position and with your experience?
- Describe your value and use specific examples (we encourage you to use the worksheet that we give our Tribe members; you can download it here).
- Ask to have a salary increase discussion, and bring what you’ve prepared to the table with confidence.
The bottom line is you are never ‘stuck.’
You have endless possibilities and choices in your life to get to where you want to be. It’s not about whether or not you have self-discipline, and it won’t take 21 days to create the change you want to see in your life.
Make the choice. Make the plan. Then follow through and make it happen.