The fastest way to NOT make progress

Oct 3, 2023 | Ryan's Blog

Unpopular opinion alert! Having goals can STOP your progress in zero seconds flat.

October 3rd, 2023 – (If you don’t have time read this whole email right now, then here’s the drive thru version: we can talk ourselves out of moving the needle on our dreams because we think too big. We must take actions that are so micro that we’re embarrassed to tell anyone for fear of their underwhelmed reaction! Only then can we make progress.) 

Now, let’s get on with things.

Hello, October! Are you having those thoughts like, “OMG 2023 is 3/4 over?? How did this happen???” 

I feel you! Maybe you are cataloguing all those goals and/or resolutions you were hot-n-heavy for back in early 2023? Or likely you don’t remember a single one, other than the “resolution go to” of losing weight AKA getting healthy. Can we say nebulous??

If you’re in my FOCUS Membership community, you have heard me say this many, many times: how low can you set the bar that you will stub your toe getting over it?? 

Rephrased: you absolutely MUST let go of too-big thinking so you can get into action.

Ok, where is this coming from?? I have been really enjoying Jon Acuff’s newest book, All It Takes is a Goal. (He has a podcast by the same name, also highly recommend!) He’s funny, relatable, and presents clear, actionable frameworks in all his books (and he’s written NINE!). 

What really struck a chord with me was his talk of using easy goals as the building blocks (as in the tiniest of the tiny Legos size!) to achieve your biggest of goals.

Easy goals that are so “easy” that if you tell someone this easy goal, they will likely look at you like, “Sooooo, that’s it??”

This is KEY!!! Setting that bar sooooo low…

I’d like to share with you that I’ve used this to hack my way into doing yoga every day. (And I’m almost embarrassed to call it that. And herein lies what’s troublesome about our idea of “having goals”)

I love yoga. I love everything about it. Yoga actually means “to unite” in Sanskrit. And that first connection is with your breath. We must breathe to stay alive.

Yoga is like chocolate for me and my body. It’s always good! Well, there definitely is such a thing as too much chocolate, but rarely a thing as too much yoga.

True story: every single time I sit down to consider my next set of personal goals, I always write down “do more yoga.” I could see that as a shortcoming, because if I keep writing it down as a goal, then am I not achieving it? And what is “achieving” anyway for something like “do more yoga”?

Well, I think I have figured that out for myself: if I do no yoga one day, and then the next day I do a single half Sun Salutation, then I did “more yoga” wouldn’t you agree? 

Also, if I managed to register for a class, get in yoga clothes, pack up my yoga stuff, go to that wonderful yoga class, feel all the feels of that yoga bliss, yes, that, too, is “doing more yoga” but it’s not BETTER. It is just another form of “doing more yoga.”

(Have I said the word “yoga” enough times yet?)

Do you see how I might talk myself out of the second option in zero seconds flat? (the option that takes a minimum of 1½ hours?) 

Easily. Too easily.

But, I cannot talk myself out of a half Sun Salutation. Ok, truth is that I do 2 half Sun Salutations because the second one is way less stiff than that first one:)

But that is all. I am not seeking to ADD anything. Not now. 

So, I do yoga every day. Do you know how much that means to me??

And here’s the kicker: do I allow myself to downplay that accomplishment? Nope.

Do I judge it? Nope.

Do I think about adding a child’s pose, a Chaturanga, or downward facing dog? Of course!

Do I worry that it’s not enough yoga to “count”? Nope.

Life is toooooo complicated to mess with the simple. Simple simply works.

Simple. Almost laughably simple…

Let’s try it out with some things you might be considering:

I should drink more water. Fill one glass of water today.

I should meal plan more. Eat up one thing that is in your fridge/freezer/pantry today.

I should take better care of myself. Take one long, slow, deep breath right now.

I should exercise more. Speed walk to the mailbox instead of strolling.

I should be a better friend/sister/mother/neighbor. Send ONE text to someone you love.

I should get control of my email. Today, simply write ONE task on a sticky note from your email and take action (ignoring the mountain completely).

I should clean and organize my whole office. Put away your pens and post-it note pads when you next sit down.

I should get my whole house organized and systematized. Do your dirty dishes.

It has to be so micro that you’re embarrassed to tell anyone for fear of their underwhelmed reaction!

Doing 2 half SS’s everyday feels almost embarrassing to call “doing yoga every day” but the data is clear! I’m doing yoga every day!

Oh, hello, and celebrate! Grab that win and do a happy dance!!

Helpful tip: hook the behavior onto something you’re already doing. It helps grease the wheels! (Every morning, I get my cup of coffee, light my crackling candle, then I do those 2 half SS’s before I sit down to journal!)

PS No I’m still not flossing regularly…but I will floss once and celebrate! Just wait ’til I tell my dentist, “Hey, Dr. Lane, I flossed one time, yay me!” 

Luckily, he knows me pretty well.

Come visit us in our fun, free FB community: the CALM Collaborative!

Ryan 🙂


My name is Ryan…

I love teaching people how to let go of the crazy and live a less stressful life. My book The CALM Method: A Guide to Ditch Last-Minute Living is full of guidance and tips for you, but the real magic is in our community. The Find FOCUS Membership is a great place to get more done alongside your peeps!!!

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