Let’s take a step back and start from the beginning. Not everyone starts out with a generous helping of the grind in their lives. More often than not, we don’t really know what our goals are or how to approach them. So then, how does the Grind change for those that are new members to the club versus those of us who are long standing embracers? It doesn’t. We all have to start somewhere and let’s not forget, the most difficult step on the journey is the first one.

Baby steps. From the time we’re born, there are developmental benchmarks that we all hit at different times. Holding our heads up on our own, crawling and most importantly, those first steps we take without our parent’s holding on to us. Those few, tiny steps change the world we live in and open ourselves to a whole new experience of independence.

It’s basically the same when you start down the road to your dreams/goals. There are little obstacles right off the bat and maybe you’ve started down a path and fallen off track, but once you decide to go for it and take that first step, you control your ability to get there. That, to me, is the ultimate freedom.

Wait, didn’t we just determine that the first step is the hardest? Well there are ways to fix that.

Tim Ferris, author of 4 Hour Work Week, 4 Hour Body, and 4 Hour Chef, has some really interesting ideas about how people can achieve their goals. Whether monetary, physical or even creating more time for one’s self. I’m currently half way through the 4 Hour Body and just read a piece of great advice from Tim regarding how to get started.

“We break commitments to ourselves with embarrassing regularity….how? Simple: logic fails. If you were to summarize the last 100 years of behavioral psychology in two words, that would be the takeaway.

Fortunately, know this, it is possible to engineer compliance. Pulling from both new and often-neglected data, including photographic research and auctions, there are four principles of failure-proofing behavior.

  1. Make it conscious.
  2. Make it a game.
  3. Make it competitive.
  4. Make it small and temporary.

Tim Ferris, 4 Hour Body

Quickly, let’s break down the 4.

  1. Make it conscious.
    • If you’re woking towards a new goal or an old one, you probably need to do something you’ve never done before to achieve it. Making your goal a conscious decision everyday is the only way to cause change.
    • Tim suggests using pictures and/or measurements to establish your baseline. From there, you know where you are and where you want to go.
  2. Make it a game.
    • Set your rules and stick to them. Create daily “mini goals” that will build towards a piece of your ultimate goal.
    • In Tim’s words, “Measurement = Motivation”.
  3. Make it competitve.
    • Competition breeds improvement. And just like a sports competition, having a partner or group to compete with will make the achievements that much more enjoyable.
    • 4HB discusses Social Comparison Theory which states that in a group, some people will do better than you and others will do better. Each case provides feedback to your goals and creates more drive to catch up to the leaders.
  4. Make it small and temporary.
    • Early out this is crucial. However you decide to start working towards your goal, I can almost guarantee you that you will have to change it eventually. This step allows you to try different approaches without giving up mass amounts of time and dedication to a process that may not work for you personally.

The last piece of the puzzle from the 4 Hour Body that we need to touch on is the rule of 5. Tim studied the Nike+ team and the data they collected from their 1.2 million runners.

“Once a runner uploads 5 runs, they’re massively more likely to keep running and uploading data.” (Tim Ferris, 4HB).

Try it out. Using the 4 steps above, give yourself 5 sessions (workouts, meals, meetings, sales calls, etc.) before you change anything. Measure your progress and see how you do. If you don’t like it, refer to rule 4 and make a change.

We’re all at different points in our journey of life. No matter if you’re just getting started, or making changes to achieve the last 2%, taking the first step will be the most challenging.

Take that step with confidence that no matter what, if you want to make it happen, you can!

Grind On.