21: How to help yourself win

Have you ever been in a situation where you signed up to the gym and didn’t go?

Or decided you were going to get your financial shit together and start saving but somehow you always seemed to have a bill due or just couldn’t get started?

Or you made a start on that new goal, whatever it was but it just felt too overwhelming. You just couldn’t manage to go for that run every morning because you were too tired and up all night with your kid.

I know I have for sure been in these situations.

Today I want to teach you a concept that is going to put an end to this and change your life! Yes that is right if you apply what I teach you today you are going to change your life and it is going to happen so subtly that it will take you by surprise. You wont believe how easy it is.

In fact I would hazard a guess that it is so easy that some of you might not value the gold I am going to give you today.

I have alluded to this concept and touched on it in other podcasts but today I want to really dig deep and give you the full run down. This is not an original idea, I got inspiration for this from a coaching session I was in once and a podcast on a similar topic called minimum baseline.

If you want to achieve a new big goal or develop a new habit you are going to want to hear what I have to say today.

So let’s start.

When you want to start a new habit, for example saving or paying off debt, or an exercise regime. Often we get these big lofty dreams. For example we say to ourselves ‘right. I’m going to save for my emergency fund and I’m going to put away $200 a week.’ But this is coming from a place of having never saved right?

When you go out every other night. By setting these unrealistic goals you are setting yourself up for failure. Suddenly overnight you think you are going to become this new person who doesn’t go out or spend any money and save it all and then you wonder why after the first week it all feels too hard and you give up. Then all the negative self talk comes into play. ‘I’ve always been terrible at saving’ ‘ this is too hard’. ‘I’m no good at this’.

No. This is not the case. I’m not saying it’s not possible to turn your life around overnight but for most people this is not possible. Because you are not meeting yourself where you are at.

It’s very hard to take a giant leap to a new habit or goal but to get there one little step at a time is so so doable.

You are completely discounting the fact that currently you spend all your money going out 4 nights a week and living pay cheque to cheque. You don’t have a savings habit. It’s something you have never done before and yet you expect that suddenly you can do it without addressing where you actually are at in the present moment.

In the present moment you want to spend all the money.

In the present moment you don’t have a savings ‘muscle’.

It’s like the first time you go to the gym and you expect to have a six pack after day one, it’s not going to happen. You have to build up to that. So going back to meeting yourself where you are at. Saving $200 a week feels like too much but what about saving $50 a week or $25 or and I’m not even kidding $5 a week.

Let me tell you a story. So at the beginning of 2019 I joined a self coaching program. In one of the first coaching sessions the coach said something along the lines of I know you are going to want to go all in and work on everything everyday but just remember a little plus often equals a lot. Just do 10 minutes a day of the coaching exercises or something like that and you will be amazed at the results you get. This really stuck with me and when I was planning a new goal for myself to do yoga everyday I took this advice on board and it has literally changed my life.

I wanted to do yoga everyday because I was booked into a kids yoga teacher training and I wanted to improve my practice. Well instead of making a mega commitment I knew deep down I wouldn’t keep, for example doing half an hour of yoga everyday, I did something really radical and decided to meet myself at where I was at and help myself win.

I thought about what was really realistic for me at that point in my life. What did I feel was possible for me to achieve. Well it was to do 5 minutes of yoga everyday. Now I know what you’re thinking- 5 minutes that’s nothing, and yes it’s not much at all for me but the magic was that I wanted to help myself win.

I wanted to develop the habit of doing yoga everyday. If I had set myself a goal of half an hour a day I know I wouldn’t have stuck with it. It was way too far away from where I was, at that point in time. I knew that unless something major happened like an emergency I was pretty sure I could commit to 5 minutes a day. So that’s what I did.

Here is what happened. Most days I did more than 5 minutes. And on the days I wasn’t feeling it, it wasn’t that hard to get myself to do it as I was thinking it’s only 5 minutes I can do this. For 5 months I didn’t miss a day. And then I fell off the wagon. I had a month where we went on holiday and I lost focus, but guess what? I had gotten so used to doing it everyday, I had built that muscle figuratively speaking, that I just didn’t make it mean anything and picked right back up from where I left off.

By the end of the year, sure I missed some days but the thing is that I did more yoga last year than I had ever done before and I built up so much trust in myself to actually follow through and believe that I was going to do what I said I was going to do. I can’t even tell you how powerful this is. When you are regularly letting yourself down and not doing what you say you are going to do you lose confidence in yourself, your abilities and quite frankly you just don’t trust that you are going to commit to your goal so why bother? Right?

Going back to our example of the wannabe saver, what if they just committed to putting away $5 a week. ‘$5! That’s nothing, and that’s the point.’

You will put that $5 away because it’s absolutely no big deal you wont miss it. And before you know it, you start thinking ‘you know what? I might put $10 in this week or $30.’   You see, you have meet yourself where you are at and allowed yourself to have some wins and build your confidence and trust in yourself to follow through.

After doing that yoga last year, this year when I decided I wanted to start doing an exercise program at home I didn’t have any hesitation to do it. Non of the negative self talk or disbelief that I would actually stick to it because I had helped myself win and by doing that I had built trust with myself that I would commit and do it. The exercise takes me about 20mins every weekday and I’m all in. It’s a step up from my 5 minutes of yoga but that’s okay because I’m meeting myself at where I am at. Now my minimum baseline has increased. And again I’m helping myself win;

I’m doing a little bit often, which adds up to a lot.

Now the first time you do this, trust me you are going to be tempted to think $5 a week that’s ridiculous why bother? I tell you why. After committing to something for a year and actually doing it. You will be a different person at the end of it. You will build a trust with yourself that you didn’t have before.

You will begin to trust that you will do what you say you are going to do and do it. Your minimum baseline line will increase. It wont be $5 a week any more it will be $50 or whatever it is for you.

So just to recap here is what is important from today.

1. Set yourself a minimum base line that you think you can stick to and achieve.

Help yourself win.

You want to start saving? Okay do it. If $50 is too much, then save $25 or if that still unrealistic, ok save $5 or even a dollar. Just do whatever it is that you truly believe that you can do and will stick to it.

2. Keep doing it. And remember, a little plus often equals a lot.

You are so much better off doing the minimum amount, than doing nothing at all.

I will just finish by reminding you of a little goal I set 5 years ago. I wanted to save money for my daughter for the future. $30 a fortnight was what I believed I could stick to – my minimum base line. When daughter number 2 came along I did the same. Towards the end of 2019 I invested $6500 into an index fund at the time of recording this podcast I have close to $7500 invested after just 5 months. I just invested a little often and now I am reaping the rewards.

So decide what it is you want to do.

Set a minimum baseline

Then just do that little thing often.

Reap the rewards.


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Episode references

The Life Coach School Ep#209 Minimum Baseline


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