The first thing you need to do to Get Shit Done is set goals. The second thing you need to do to Get Shit Done is forget goals.
allow me to unzip my soul (in an attempt to appear more human) and admit to you that I loooovveee Alice in Wonderland, even though I haven’t really read the entire book or watched any of the movies.
the random quotes make me tingle. like this one.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
a particularly relevant quote because the first thing you need to do to Get Shit Done is set goals. if you don’t, you’re like Alice.
you’re looking for directive, tips, tactics, strategies, but none of these things exist without a goal.
What do you want to be? What do you want to have? What do you want to be capable of? What do you want to accomplish? What is the reason for you wanting to do what you want to do?
Goals are a big deal
Which is why there’s a bunch of hoopla around goals and people not making them specific enough, which is a valid point.
Most people have general goals.
- Lose fat
- Build muscle
But how much fat do you want to lose? And by which date? And how much muscle do you want to build? And by which date?
You can make goals really specific, and there’s (probably) a time and place to do so. But now isn’t the time, because, even though goals are necessary, they’re absofuckingloutely childish.
Goals are wants
Goals are nothing more than wants. And wanting is easy. Maybe too easy. Because setting goals can easily become a substitute for achieving goals.
Guy says, “I’m going to lose ten pounds this month!”
But he has no real intention on losing ten pounds. He might want to lose ten pounds, but he he’s just saying this as a magic trick. To show the world he’s aware (and ashamed) of his body, and that he’s ambitious enough to do something about it.
But he’s not.
That’s just what he wants people to think.
The hard part
Wanting stuff isn’t the hard part.
I want a lot of stuff.
I want one million dollars. An infinite supply of peanut butter. I want to drink the finest milk stouts in the land. To deadlift 600 pounds and move like a ghost cat. I WANT A BICYCLE. I JUST WANT A BICYCLE! WHATEVER, MAKE ME A BICYCLE, CLOWN.
I got lots of goals.
The problem with goals
Goals tell you where you want to go, but they don’t tell how to get there. They are inherently empty.
- Construction worker: get rid of chronic back pain, lose fat, improve HDL cholesterol.
- New father: build muscle, strength train in a time efficient way, maybe even from home.
- First year college student: build real self-confidence, sleep around without getting STDs.
What’s the plan? The strategy? The system? In other words, how are you going to accomplish your goals?
I want to trick like Rasmus Ott. That’s nice. How are you going to make this happen?
I want to be as mobile as Hunter Cook. That’s nice. How are you going to make this happen?
I want to be as cool as Casey Niestat. That’s nice. How are you going to
stop being such an introverted awkward nerd make this happen?
What goals really mean
When I see some designy thing I like on a website, I right click on the element and hit “view page source.” This shows me the code, the guts, behind the designy thing. So I can
steal borrow it for my own use.
When you right click and hit “view page source” on goals, you see SPECIFIC BEHAVIORS. The things you need TO DO in order to accomplish the goals.
I want to lose fat. That’s nice. How are you going to make this happen?
I am going to…
…drink no calorie beverages.
…eat a rich source of protein at every feeding.
…replace 50% of my starch intake with vegetables.
Find the roots
Go ahead. Pick one goal floating inside of your pre-frontal cortex. (There’s something to be said about focus here and only picking one goal, but now’s not the time.)
Now ask yourself, “What things do I need to do in order to accomplish this goal?”
Keep your list smallish. Don’t go above five things.
If you don’t know what behaviors are going to help you reach your goal(s), then you’re held back by knowledge.
The good news is that, for the moment, it doesn’t matter if you’re selecting bass ackwards behaviors that make no sense.
Meaning if your goal is fat loss and your behavior list looks like this
- Eliminate all carbohydrates
- Avoid fatty foods
- Go jogging every day
then it works for the sake of continuing the conversation, even though it doesn’t work for the sake of actually achieving your fat loss goal(s).
This is the real problem
You have an idea of what you need to do (regardless of whether its a good idea of a bad idea), but you’re struggling to Get Shit Done.
You don’t want to eat the chocolate bar, but you do anyways. You know you shouldn’t watch House of Cards all weekend and skip your training sessions, but you do anyways.
The problem isn’t knowledge, the problem is action.
This, my friends, is Shit Creek.