The “Get The File Out” Principle

nike-free

My first run with my Nike Frees I got at a glorious deep discount at an outlet last week.

Monday morning I was scheduled for a run. When I woke up, I could tell from the way the house was lit up that the sky was grey. I did not want to go for a run. Thankfully, the day before I had done some research for my ebook and found another helpful productivity principle Mark Foster blogs about called the Get The File OUT (GTFO? uhhh…)  Principle. It’s simple genius and it’s the reason I made it out the door on my run.

It works like this: I don’t want to go for a run this morning. “Why don’t I just at least [next action] get my glass of water,” I reason with myself. That seems simple enough. At that point I have the opportunity to give up, or move on to the next action. With my water in my hand I said to myself, “Why don’t I just make my small pre-run carby breakfast.” While my gluten free waffles were in the toaster, I cajoled myself into putting on my running gear. “I’ll just put them on. I can still decide not to go.” I felt pretty determined in my lack of desire.

But I won! Simply because the Next Action didn’t seem all that frightening. Looking at the whole picture: get hydrated, get food in my belly, change, get out the door — it all felt like a production I didn’t want to orchestrate. Yet, I did it.

Foster gives his own examples:

This technique can be applied to virtually anything that you find yourself resisting. Yesterday afternoon (a Sunday) I felt that all I wanted to do was to veg out in front of the TV. But I had a whole load of tasks which I’d promised myself I’d do that afternoon, which included washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, going for a walk and writing some more of my book. I got myself moving by saying “I’ll just fill the washing up bowl with hot water”. Magically I found the washing up was done. Then I said “I’ll just get the lawnmower out of the shed”. Again magically I found the lawn had been mown. Then I said “I’ll just walk to the end of the front drive”. Fifty minutes later I got back from a long, fast walk through the woods and fields. And finally I said “I’ll just open the Word file for my book”. A thousand words later I felt very virtuous indeed!

So there you have it: another tactic to use to wrangle yourself into accomplishing things you know deep deep deep down you want to do but right now just couldn’t be bothered.

Hope it helps you as much as it does me!

The Sweet Feeling of Accomplishment: From Barista To Manager

Guest Post SERIES1

MarvinThe first post in this series is by my good friend Amanda Marvin. I first met Amanda in our first year Philosophy course. We got to know each other better over the course of that first year and have been great friends ever since. We both moved to Montreal the same month via two completely different paths. I really appreciated having her around when I was making the transition to the Big New City. Amanda blogs here and tweets as @amandamarvin. If you’re interested in submitting your own guest post about accomplishing difficult things or striking something off your bucket list, click here for details.

I never pictured myself managing a retail store in Belleville, Ontario, but I see now how hard work in former jobs built determination and a strive for excellence in the business world.

My work ethic was challenged when I moved to Montreal, Quebec for a couple of years and started working at a Second Cup. For one, I never thought I would be working at a coffee shop coming right out of University. I mean, I had a great education but it didn’t appear to get me far. However, maybe it did in hindsight in developing in me a work ethic that would take me to a career I never dreamed possible.

Being a Barista was anything but easy or glamorous despite the romanticized idea of it. I worked late nights, did all the dirty work and got yelled at by my managers a lot for not being able to speak French or for raising concerns they didn’t think were valid. I worked like this for a good 5 months. That’s five months of me coming home, crying and talking myself back into going to work. I dreaded it, but knew that my options were limited so I kept on going.

My managers started asked my colleagues how I worked in their absence and many of them responded that I was “hard working” and would often have to tell me I was ok to leave work and go home.

As turnover rates increased, I was entrusted with keys and opening the café. It took me a bit to get the hang of it, but within a month or less I was opening the café on my own and running it until my manager came in at 7am. I felt such a sense of accomplishment being able to run a business on my own for a short period of time. It was actually somewhat rewarding coming in, putting on some nice background music, placing the pastries all nicely and making sure everything was stocked, neat and tidy for the morning rush.

I also worked hard on perfecting the little bit of French I knew and developing an accent (I would practice while opening the café in talking to myself or try and speak French as much as I could while in public). I wanted to be able to engage in a small conversation with customers while making their lattes. Though I had one case where I asked the customer what size drink they wanted (Quelle format?) and she snapped at me saying I used the improper word for size and I should have said “Quelle grandeur?” or “Quelle taille?” and started talking about Bill 101, thankfully my manager stepped in to defend me.

In spite of the language barrier, I continued working at Second Cup. Early mornings, jazz music, coffee stained hands and spilled milk were the little things marking my life at the time.

When I gave my resignation, the managers were saddened (which is not an emotion they showed often) and took me out for a nice meal in Old Montreal. I felt my hard work was appreciated for once. It made me feel really good.

Coming back home I thought was going to be hard. I had this idea that I was going to have to spend a year or more working at the bottom to get to the top again, but that wasn’t the case. With the work ethic I developed in Montreal (taking shifts when people called in sick, doing the dirty work) climbing the corporate ladder was easy. Within 2 months of being hired on I was promoted to a key holder and within another month Assistant Manager.

Since then I have switched companies and have enjoyed learning management skills along the way. From marketing strategies, to conducting interviews, to window displays, my hard work over these past 4 years has proven to me that I can do many things I never thought possible.

It gives me hope that if I can accomplish these two grand things, I can achieve anything I put hard work and determination to. Whether it be paying off my student loans, furthering my education, buying a home or saving for retirement, I know I can do these things if I work hard at developing a plan and stick to it.

 

The role of vision in goal achievement

vision

Source: Nomadic Lass

The last week I’ve been mulling over the concept of vision and how it can motivate us as well as give us drive that we might not otherwise have. In connection with this, I’ve been thinking a lot about the shift that happened in my life that led to me starting this blog. I think it really has to do with a renewed vision of what my life could be. It was through that heart-capturing renewed vision that motivated me to make important changes in my life. Here’s what I mean:

Last fall I blogged these words,

A few weeks ago I was reading the ebook You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins. He wrote something that really got under my skin.

“Not too long after the race, I woke up early one morning, drank some coffee, and went for a five-mile run. After that, I wrote a few pages for my book and went to work.  

That evening, I looked back on the day and I was shocked by all I had accomplished. Getting up early, running five miles, writing over a thousand words — where did all this discipline come from?”

Those words really agitated me. I stayed up late that night talking with my husband about it. I hated that I didn’t have the discipline to have the discipline to run. I hated that I cared so much what people thought of me. I hated that I wanted to pursue writing, but there were things holding me back and I couldn’t figure it out. That night as we were talking I realized that my personal idol of acceptance/caring what people thought of me was the biggest problem standing in my way.

“I don’t want to be this person!” I exclaimed. Willy thought I was concerned with my weight, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I was letting things get in my way from getting what I wanted out of life, from achieving my goals. When I was a teenager I decided that I wanted to accomplish some things in life and I was going to do what I could in my power to make those happen. It’s one thing if Providence moves those things out of the realm of possibility, but at least I could say I did my best with my circumstances. That’s what I want to be about.

Those goals acted as a vision for what my life could be. They were things I wanted to be true of me. I imagined the next 60 years flying by and me ‘not having the time’ to make these changes and regretting it. Let me be clear: the things that I wanted to change were accents to my life. They were the pops of colour in a wardrobe, or the jewellery to complete the outfit. I am very happy with my marriage, my work, my life in Montreal in general. It was the “less important” things that I wasn’t happy with: the lack of hobbies (not that I didn’t have ideas of what I wanted to do, I just didn’t have the confidence or self-discipline to start). I will write more on this later.

Vision and belief

The first step was having vision or a picture of what things could be otherwise. This is beyond “wouldn’t it be cool if?” and more along the lines of “this is what it could be!” The next obstacle to surmount was to decide whether it was even reasonable. I’m a pretty rational person. I’m often too rational to the point where it can hurt people’s feelings, or I forget the people within the problems I’m trying to solve. I didn’t want to set myself up for inevitable public failure. I wanted to be somewhat sure that I could do these things. As I evaluated, I realized they were pretty reasonable. The one thing standing in my way was fear.

I refuse to let fear run my life.

Recognizing the obstacles

Recognizing the obstacles helped me find the resolve to overcome them after coaching myself into believing that they weren’t as important as I thought they were. Who cared what people thought? Who cared if people laughed and scoffed? Was their opinion more important than my own self-perception? Not a chance. The fact was, I was not happy with the momentum my laziness was gaining. It was humbling and embarrassing to come to terms with the fact that my laziness wasn’t Who I was but more like What I was allowing myself to be. It’s hard to change our nature, it might be even impossible! What we can learn is discipline and grow in maturity as a person if we identify the areas we’re lacking.

But it all started with a vision of the person I could be.

What about you? What do you want to have accomplished in 50 years? Are there things that require changing in your life now to achieve them? Do you believe you can change ? Share your goals or ideas in the comments here.

Body Break!

bodybreakWow, I’m seriously, seriously loving The Power of Habit. It’s giving me huge insight into how I can develop the lifestyle I want that will help me reach a bunch of these goals. I’ll post about some of these things later, but one of the things it talked about was how people who are successful in changing lifestyles (recovering alcoholics, people doing physical rehab) are often more successful than their peers because they have a plan for their day/situation/year or whatever. This means that they have an exit strategy or they have mentally rehearsed what to do if a craving arises, or if stress gets piled on (in the case of the alcoholic) or for the physical rehabilitation patient they have a plan for what to do when pain arises that they just need to push through.

I’m pretty sure this the reason why I’m not super bummed right now about my lack of ‘training’ for my 5k at the end of April. This was more or less a part of the plan. Winter run if possible, if not figure something out. I’m definitely figuring something out. I’ve been doing some morning exercises from a DVD at home but I’m taking small steps towards swimming a few times a week in the neighbourhood pool a few blocks from my place.

An example

The other day it was bitter cold out. I had two main goals for the evening: get groceries and buy a bathing suit. It took me all day to psych myself up to drive the 10 minutes to Wal-mart Super Centre where I could buy a bathing suit and groceries at the same time. I’m not exactly at my height of motivation, these days. I almost convinced myself not to step out into the cold and that anyone would understand why I wouldn’t want to go. I did go. I survived and I bought a non-fancy bathing suit. I was one step closer to regular swimming. It turns out the suit didn’t fit me in the end. Wop wop. But at least I tried, right?

Little wins, people. 

Now I need to go back to Wal-Mart and I’m so much more motivated to exchange that suit and get one that fits me and hit the pool. I also have a plan. Thursday evening I had planned to go to the pool for a first swim but then I found out my suit didn’t fit. Instead of being bummed that I couldn’t go (but was also pretty uninterested in leaving the house due to icky temperatures) I made a plan to ensure success: I’d buy a combo lock, I’d visit the pool during free swim time today and figure out how the place actually works. That means that after work when I’m planning to go swim, I’ll already know the drill and I can just do it.

It’s kind of embarrassing how easily I can get bummed about something and then give up altogether. In this case, I’m determined enough to anticipate problems and pre-determine solutions so that I can reach my goal.

Guys, I’m kind of excited to flail around in a pool a few times a week! What’s up with that?

What about you? Do you try to plan in order to set yourself up for success? Or does winning not matter much to you? Click here to leave a comment.

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