“If you're engaged in bad habits and you don't stop those, those are going to prevent you or they very well could prevent you from reaching your goals.”
How consistent are you when it comes to doing what you need to do to achieve your goals? Be honest with yourself!
If you feel like you’re not as consistent as you want or need to be, that’s okay. Consistency is something even high achievers struggle to maintain, and there’s nothing wrong with needing help in this area.
In today’s episode, inspired by a survey I sent to the Miracle Morning community, I want to talk to you about what you can do to set yourself up for success and improve your follow-through.
You’ll learn four time-tested and proven techniques you can apply to any goal, how to hold yourself accountable, and what you can do right now to transform your life and bring about meaningful change.
During today’s conversation, we dive into how to implement the following four (4) Steps to Improve Your Consistency:
- Step 1: Identify your goal. Determine what you’re working towards and clarify whether the activities are more important than the outcomes.
- Step 2: Identify your bad habits. Cut out the ones that are detrimental to your goals and consider trying a 30-day challenge in 10-day phases to break your addictions.
- Step 3: Identify beneficial habits you need to integrate into your life. Get clear on the WHY that drives your behavioral change.
- Step 4: Establish a system to ensure you follow through. Choose between five different options and levels of accountability.
THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Organifi makes the highest quality nutritional products, which are made from whole food ingredients (not synthetic vitamins) that I enjoy nearly every day, and have for many years. Visit Organifi.com/Hal, and use the code HAL at checkout to get 20% off of your entire order. I hope you find something there that you love! :^)
Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)
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Hal Elrod: Oh, you ever had one of those days? It's one of those days. Welcome. Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod. And we're taking two today, meaning take two. I recorded this podcast earlier and it came out perfect. I was like, “Oh, it's great,” and I went to go turn the recording off. So, it's one button that records and one button it stops the recording, and I went to hit the stop recording button and it started recording. And that was the moment that I realized that the 30-plus minutes of podcast that I had just recorded that came out perfectly, it was not recording. So, anyway, we did it again. So, this is the second attempt and hopefully, there's more in this one. It ended up being like 5 minutes longer than the first attempt. So, there's something else in there that made its way in. But we're going to talk about how to improve your consistency because that seems to be an area that many people need help with. They've expressed that through surveys we've done. You'll hear a little bit more about that here when I start the podcast. I mean, we started the podcast, but you get what I mean. I recorded the podcast. This is the intro. All right.
Consistency, like how can you be more consistent in your habits, in the activities that you need to do to achieve your goals? We're going to talk about that today. I'm going to give you four steps, four sequential steps to improve your consistency. Before we do that, though, I want to take just a minute to thank our sponsors, maybe 2 minutes. Organifi is our long-time sponsor. They are a superfood company. I don't even know the story of the founder. I'm going to tell you real quick. After experiencing his own transformation through the power of juicing superfoods, Drew Canole, friend of mine, Organifi founder, he set out to inspire others by helping them transform their health through personal coaching programs. That's how Drew started. But he quickly realized there was a need for a solution that could give people access to the highest quality nutritional support to support their health and wellness goals while on the go. That's when Organifi was born. If you want to improve your immune system, if you want protein to help you build muscles, if you want to lose weight, if you want to improve your sleep, your cognitive function, you name it, Organifi has a superfood solution to do it, not a pharmaceutical solution, a superfood solution from nature.
Head over to Organifi.com/Hal. And then when you're there, check out the protein powder. I use the Protein powder every day. I use their critical immune supplement when I'm feeling a cold coming on or any kind of sickness. My wife loves their Glow, which is a collagen. She said that ever since she started taking their Glow, it makes her skin glow. That's why I think they call it Glow but literally, I make it for her every morning. Her love language is acts of service. And so, every morning I make her her Glow just the way she likes it with a little bit of lemon juice and some ice cubes. And I have it waiting on her bathroom counter when she wakes up. So, anyway, whatever your nutritional solution is or your health improvement that you want to make, head over to Organifi.com/Hal and then use the code “HAL” at checkout and you will get an additional 20% off your entire order.
And then I also want to mention today's episode is brought to you by the Miracle Morning app. Yes, the mobile app that you can get in the App Store or the Google Play Store for your smartphone. And this app will help you track your Miracle Morning, your SAVERS. There are customizable timers for each of your SAVERS. There is a journal for your daily scribing practice. You have a choice between a prompted guided journal created by yours truly, or just a blank journal. You can start from scratch. There's also an affirmations creator. There are prompts to help guide you through creating your affirmations or, again, you can start from scratch. I also have 60 of my favorite affirmations in there. Any other features I’m missing? A bunch of cool features. Go over to the App Store or the Google Play Store and get the free Miracle Morning app. And we are working on a membership program. We're working on creating guided content that people will be able to become members and upgrade at some point down the line, but that's not ready yet. So, for now, there's a bunch of free features in there and it is totally free. So, check it out, Miracle Morning app.
And that's it for the intro and the announcements and the sponsors. Let's dive in today to give you four steps to improve consistency and establish habits to achieve your goals.
Hal Elrod: Goal achievers, here we are. Welcome to today's podcast. Members of the Miracle Morning community, friends, family, allies, what else can we call each other, it's good to be here with you today. And I was reading over the survey. I mentioned this a couple of episodes ago that we sent out a survey a while back and I had forgotten about it and just came across it. And we had over 3,300, actually to be exact, 3,305 responses. So, a lot of responses from our community. And one of the main questions that we asked or that I asked in that survey was what is your single biggest challenge personally or professionally right now? And what I found and there's a variety of answers, weight loss, quit smoking, depression, time management. I'm just literally reading off the survey right now. But being consistent, that was one that I saw come up over and over and over again, being consistent. A lot of folks said, “I have goals but I can't get myself to follow through.” We've addressed this topic from different angles over the years because that is one of the biggest challenges that people have. It's like I know what I need to do, right? I've got these goals. I know what I need to do but I can't get myself to consistently follow through.
Either it's I can't get started. That's one, right? I can't even get out of the gate or I get started but I lose my focus, I get distracted, I encounter obstacles, and I just don't stick with it. There's lots of different ways of saying it, but overall, just many folks shared that they struggle with being consistent, establishing good habits, that kind of thing. And so, I want to focus on that today. How do you establish good habits? How do you maintain consistency to achieve your goals? This is the Achieve Your Goals Podcast, of course. So, how do you improve your consistency and establish these habits that'll help you achieve your goals? And so, we're going to protest today. I'm going to share four steps to help you be more consistent in any area of your life. So, you can apply this to the Miracle Morning if that's one of your goals is to get better at your Miracle Morning and be consistent with it. You can apply this to many of the other things on this survey, right? Meaning, let's say losing weight is one of your goals. Really, any goal that you have, whether it's losing weight or making more money or improving your marriage, what we're going to talk about today, it's universally applicable to any goal that you have. These are four steps for you to apply.
And I will say this when it comes to habits or consistency, those are topics that are as old as time or at least as old as self-improvement has been around. Those are topics that people have addressed. And so, they say there are no new ideas, just different ways of packaging ideas or explaining ideas or using personal stories to relate humanity in terms of from one person to another. So, you see yourself in another person's story, you relate to it. You then learn how they overcame their challenge or achieved their objective or their goal. And then you can see yourself in the story and apply the strategies that they used. So, I’m going to share these. You know, some of this may be revolutionary for you. I imagine most of it is you kind of will nod your head and go, “Yeah, that's a really good point. I should do that.” But I think there are some distinctions today that may be a little bit counterintuitive. I always try to bring a little bit different flavor so that you're not just having to nod along and go, “Yeah. I've heard this before. I always hear this.” So, let's keep it interesting.
So, here we go. I'm going to dive into these four steps and if you're taking notes, this is something that, you know, this is one of those calls where I always say that anything, not call, but podcast. If you just listen passively, that's like the least most effective way to learn. Something I really learned from my friend, Jon Berghoff, when he used to coach. We would co-host the Best Year Ever events and Jon is the founder of XCHANGE, which teaches leaders how to facilitate group interaction. And I'm a keynote speaker. I would go in front of events and audiences and I'll speak and Jon would always say that's passive learning. We need to engage our audience. We need to engage. We need to get them actually talking to each other and taking notes and doing exercises. And the more engaged you are, the more proactive you are in your learning, the bigger impact it will have on you. So, I just say that because I try to record all these podcast episodes really as noteworthy, right? Meaning like these are worth sitting down, taking notes if you can. And of course, if you're driving or whatever, just do your best to digest this and you can always come back and listen to it again later.
So, again, the objective here is achieving goals, improving areas of your life. So, step number one of four, and then step number four, we're going to have five different options for us. So, there's a lot to unpack here today. But step number one is identify the goal, right? So, it may sound simple but identify the goal. What are you working towards? And I want to share a distinction on what a goal is or what it can be. Traditionally, we're taught a goal is an outcome. It's an objective. I want to earn X amount of dollars or lose X amount of pounds or I want to go on X amount of vacations. If you've learned about SMART goals before, specific, measurable, actionable, results-oriented, timely, I think that was all of the acronym, SMART, but measurable, you'll see is one of them, results-oriented. Here's what I want to share. I did an episode in the podcast a while back and it was called What's More Important Than Goals? I think that was the title of the episode. What's more important than goals? And I proposed that the activities are more important than the goals. Meaning, so in this context, a goal could be an outcome like I want to lose 20 pounds or I want to make $100,000 or I want to finish a book. Or the goal could be the activity. I'll give you an example.
Right now, I'm in some of the best shape of my life, and I've always been into fitness. But I think what right now, the reason it's meaningful is when I went through my cancer journey, I lost almost all of my muscle mass. I lost most of my strength. I lost most of my stamina. So, that created a lot of limiting beliefs and a psychology that was disempowering. Like, I don't have any strength. I am skinny. I don't have any muscle. And then I went and saw a doctor and they did a hormone panel test on me and they went, "Wow. You're never going to be able to put on muscle the way that you used to because you don't have the hormones anymore that you used to. The chemotherapy really messed up your hormones.” It's like, “Oh, great, doc, just what I needed to hear.” Of course, it was a reality that I had to face. So, the point is for the last 14 months, I've worked out 4 to 5 days a week on average, almost every weekday, Monday through Friday. And I am as strong as I've ever been for what I'm dealing with. When I was back at my peak in my younger days, I'm 43 now, when I was in my twenties, I used to work out a lot. I was definitely stronger then, right? But relatively speaking, I'm as strong as I've been in over five or six years.
And here's the point. Back in the day, my goal would have been to put on, in fact, one year it was put on like 20 pounds of muscle, I think, and it was 15 pounds, whatever. It was a lot of pounds. And I hit the goal, right? But it was a very specific, measurable goal of at the end of the year, my goal is to put on X amount of pounds of muscle. And somebody else might be, “I want to lose 10 pounds of body fat,” that kind of thing. Now, in the last 14 months, I want you to think about this. So, I've worked out four or five days a week. I have no goal outside of working out 4 to 5 days a week. So, I'm not working towards an outcome such as gaining muscle, losing weight, increasing a specific amount of endurance. I'm not working towards being able to bench press 200 pounds or do X amount of reps. So, my goal is not the end result, it's the daily activity. And I really like the word commitment. It really is. You know, the goal is just the commitment of what I'm committed to do every day. So, someone could say, “Well, what's your goal for the year?” I said, “My goal is to work out 4 to 5 days a week, all year long.”
So, I just want you to think about that. When I say identifying a goal, yes, it can be an outcome, an end-of-the-year outcome, or an end-of-the-quarter outcome. And again, if you're writing a book, you need to finish the book by a deadline. That would be an appropriate goal to set. However, you also can just set a goal to make healthy choices each day. Make it specific, of course. Don't just say, “I am committed. My goal is to make healthy choices.” Well, what are those choices? So, you do need to be specific. It does need to be measurable, right? So, the SMART goal still applies. The acronym still applies. So, yeah, I'm not measuring the amount of muscle I'm putting on, but I'm measuring the amount of days that I'm working out. And typically, yeah, not even the time, I guess. Sometimes it's a 30-minute workout, sometimes it's an hour, sometimes it’s 15 minutes. It just depends, it varies, but the commitment is the daily workout. So, I want you to consider that when you're, step number one, identifying your goal, what is a meaningful outcome or activity that will enhance your life? And of course, you can have goals in every area of your life. So, that's step one.
And again, not rocket science there but I did want to make that distinction that most people think of goals as something that you set at the end of the year and you reward yourself when you reach the goal. I'm telling you that your goal can be daily. Every day my goal is to do _____. And as long as you follow through with that, right, you every day get to see yourself achieving your goal. And again, for me, I just want to make these healthy choices. I want to do things every day that enhance my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relational, and financial well-being. I want to do daily activities and I'm not as concerned as I was when I was younger of where I end up at the end of the month, week, quarter, etcetera. And even if you're writing a book, your goal can still be around, you know, my goal is to write for 2,000 words a day or a thousand words a day every day. At the end of 50 days, you have a 50,000-word book. So, the daily activity can be the goal, not just the end result.
All right. Number two, step two, identify your bad habits. This is crucial. Most people, when it comes to habits, and we're really going to talk about habits quite a bit today, when it comes to habits most people focus on, “Oh, yeah, I want to start doing _____.” They're focusing on the positive habits they want to integrate into their life. But here's the thing. If you are engaged in habits that are detrimental to your health, your wealth, your success, or just detrimental to achieving your goals, if you're engaged in bad habits and you don't stop those, those are going to prevent you or they very well could prevent you from reaching your goals. I'll give you an example. Let's say you have a goal of losing weight, of being healthier. And so, you go, "All right. I have a goal of losing 10 pounds or of improving my health and so I'm going to start eating. I don't eat any salad or vegetables. I'm going to start eating a salad every day at lunch and vegetables every night with dinner, and a salad for dinner. So, you're going to beef up your vegetable intake, organic vegetable. Maybe you're going to do a smoothie in the morning. Organic smoothie, right? Organic salad at lunch. Organic vegetables at dinner. You're adding in these positive habits but pump the brakes.
What if, before you decided to add these positive habits in, you ate waffles every morning? You eat fried chicken for lunch, you had a Big Gulp soda, and you finished off with a pint of ice cream after dinner. Now, if all you're doing is adding in a smoothie, a salad, and some veggies, you're adding in positive habits. But if you're not identifying and eliminating these other bad habits, these detrimental habits, your health is not necessarily going to improve. You're still doing things that are potentially going to cause heart disease, cancer, right? You're consuming a diet that is detrimental to your health and to your weight loss goals. So, it's arguably as important and you could argue more important that you eliminate the detrimental habits that you are currently engaged in before you even think about what are the positive habits that you need to put into place. Because think about this. Let's say you didn't even look at positive habits and you go, “I'm going to stop eating waffles in the morning. I'm going to stop eating fried chicken at lunch. I'm going to stop drinking a 40-ounce Big Gulp soda for dinner. And I'm going to stop eating a pint of ice cream after dinner. I'm not going to add anything healthy, but I'm going to stop all those things.”
Would your health improve? Absolutely. You're no longer poisoning yourself with these unhealthy foods. Same thing. Like, if you want to be healthier but you smoke, okay, well, if you keep smoking like if you're smoking crack or cigarettes or whatever, right, then making positive health choices doesn't change the damage that you're doing. So, really, really important. This applies to every area of your life. You know, in your relationship, for example, your marriage, let's say you thought, "Okay. I'm going to start doing a date night. I've heard date night is really beneficial to a marriage. I'm going to start doing a date night. It's a positive habit I want to implement.” But let's say you have all sorts of negative habits, right? You don't appreciate your spouse. You get angry with them. You neglect them. You don't help around the house. Like, if you have all these negative habits that you're engaging in, then adding in a date night probably is going to have a minimal impact on your relationship. Right now, it's a net positive for sure. It's good just like adding a salad in or vegetables if you're still drinking a Big Gulp soda. it's a net positive. It's better than not adding in the positive habit.
But the detrimental habits are really where we have to be intentional and be really honest with ourselves because it's easy to get so into our routine that we become acclimated to it. We don't think twice about it. Yeah, I eat ice cream every night. So, I used to eat a pint of ice cream every night when I was in my early twenties. I'd eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's, and then I got cancer. I'm not saying they're correlated. I have no idea. But I had a bunch of negative habits when I was in my twenties. When I was in high school, I smoked cigarettes. So, luckily, I quit those in high school as well. Anyway, so identify the bad habits, right? What are the habits you're currently engaged in that are detrimental to achieving your goals? And you've got to cut those out. And the way to do that is a 30-day challenge. That's the way I think of any time I want to change a habit, whether it's get rid of a bad habit or start a good habit, I commit to 30 days. I can do anything in 30 days and I know science has proven…
Actually, I should say science is - sorry. Whenever somebody says science is proven, it's like what science? Because there is science that has shown that you can change any habit in 21 days. I believe that was featured in the book, Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. I can’t remember where the study was from. But then more recently there was a study at Harvard that showed it takes 66 days to change a habit and that was featured in the book, The ONE Thing. I don't believe there's a fixed number. Imagine if somebody is mentally strong and they draw their line in the sand and they say, “I will never again touch a cigarette no matter what. You'd have to kill me. There's nothing you could do,” then in that moment, they've eliminated the habit of smoking. So, I don't believe that there is a one size fits all approach for anybody. Personally, I like 30-day challenges. I have found them to be very effective, as have many other people. And I've also found that the 21-day habit, taking 21 days to change a habit, that falls in line with my 30-day strategy.
Here's what I mean. If you've read the Miracle Morning, I talk about it takes 30 days to change a habit and that I break it down in three 10-day phases. The first ten days are what I call the unbearable phase, right? It's really challenging. If you're trying to quit smoking, for example, or quit anything it's like, "Oh, now I need a cigarette so bad.” You're breaking your addiction. It could be addiction to technology. It can be an addiction to food, it can be an addiction to drugs, pornography, you name it. You could be addicted to anything that you do consistently. And so, those first ten days can feel unbearable. But again, it's not an exact science. It could be only three days of unbearable-ness or it could be eight days or ten days, whatever. It's not exact, but the first ten days, in general, there will be moments where it feels unbearable and you have the thought, “I can't do this. I am not strong enough. I can't do it,” but you are strong enough and you can do it if you are committed. There is always a way if you are committed. And when you're aware that the first ten days are going to be unbearable, but you're going, "Look, this is a change that I'm committed to making that's going to benefit me for the rest of my life.”
Can you do anything for ten days? Can you suck it up and push through the ten difficult days? The answer is yes, but most people won't do it. Most people don't do it. And that's why most people, we all want to change our life but we wake up every day and it pretty much stays the same because we're not listening to this podcast. We're not implementing this. We're not actually identifying what are the bad habits that I need to quit and I'm going to commit one at a time for 30 days. The first ten days are the unbearable phase. The second ten days are the uncomfortable phase. That's where it's not unbearable anymore but it still would be easier to go back to your old ways, your old habits. It's still unpleasant. It's still difficult. It still takes inertia to do or not do whatever habit you're trying to change. And then the third ten-day period is the unstoppable phase. And that's where you wake up one day and you engage in the new habit, or you don't do the old habit, the bad one.
And you don’t even think about it. It’s effortless. It doesn’t even cross your mind until after, and you go, wait a minute. The day ended, and I didn’t even think about having a cigarette. Or I got up and I went for a run and I didn’t even think about– I just did it. I didn’t resist it. I just did it. And also, now you have an identity shift. You’re like, whoa, maybe I’m getting there. Maybe I’m becoming the person that can _____, not smoke a cigarette, not drink a 40-ounce soda, wake up early in the morning, not yell at my kids, whatever habit you’re trying to change, those 30-day challenges.
And I’ve done an episode before. We did an episode on Living Your Life in 30-Day Challenges, where every 30 days, you’re identifying one habit that you want to change, either a detrimental habit that you want to stop doing or a beneficial habit that you want to start doing. And that is step 3. So, after step 2, you’ve identified the bad habits, the detrimental habits that you need to stop. Step 3 is identify the beneficial habits, the positive habits that you need to integrate into your life. And again, do it in 30-day challenges.
Now, what’s really important here, and I haven’t mentioned this, but this is an important part of the process. You’ve got to be clear on the why, W-H-Y, that is driving your behavior change. Like, it’s not easy to change your behavior. It’s not easy to be consistent. It is not easy to be consistent until it is. What does that mean?
It’s not easy to be consistent until it is, which means if you commit to this four-step process and you begin to identify habits that you want to stop, and then you commit to stop them and then you succeed, and then you identify the habits that are positive that you want to integrate into your life and then you commit, and you overcome the resistance and you follow through and you have succeed, you now start to change your identity and you see yourself as empowered. You see yourself as able. You see yourself as having more self-control than you gave yourself credit for, more discipline than you ever gave yourself credit for.
You start to realize, oh, the only thing that was standing between me and what I want for my life was the commitment to do what was necessary. That’s it. That’s what standing between us, and what we want is the commitment to follow these steps, to identify the goal. What is the outcome or the activity that we’re committed to? What are the habits that we’re engaged in on a daily or weekly basis that are holding us back from getting where we want to go? And then what are the habits that we need to implement and integrate into our life that will get us there? And that leads to step 4.
Step 4 is establish a system to ensure you follow through. When I say system, I’m really talking about an accountability system. In fact, if you’re taking notes or mental notes, you might write it that way, establish an accountability system. In fact, I have some notes in front of me. I’m going to write accountability system to ensure that you follow through.
Now, I’m going to give you guys five different levels of accountability. And these are really options, but I look at them as levels because they kind of– you’ll get it as I explain them. But it’s like there’s a certain level, and then you can go to the next level and you’ll see there’s a different impact for each level. But these are really options, and you can integrate one or more than one.
I will say this, by the way, in case you’ve never heard me talk about accountability, let me just take a minute to explain how important this is. If you study the world’s most successful achievers in different walks of life. I like to think about it like an NBA basketball player or an Olympian. Take an Olympian, for example. The best in the world at what they do.
Why are they so successful? What’s the linchpin? What’s one of the crucial components? Yes, they’ve got the drive, they’ve got the discipline, they’ve got the will. What they also have is accountability, they have a system for accountability. They have a coach that they’re responsible to show up to practice and follow their coach’s guidance. They’re accountable to do the drills and the exercises that the coach instructs them to do.
And consider that, if those athletes, those world-class athletes did not have accountability from the moment that they stepped on the court or the field or got in the rink or whatever the sport might be, they had accountability from whenever they started the sport. They had a coach. Like show me an Olympian without a coach. It’s very rare. I’m sure there are some anomalies where somebody, like, came out of nowhere and they grew up in the mountains and they chopped wood behind a log cabin and they shot hoops. And they’d be like, there’s anomalies.
But the vast majority of world-class athletes almost always will credit their coaches for their success. So, whether or not they realized it, they were embracing accountability from a young age. You take a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. They have so many forms of accountability. They’re accountable to their executive staff. They’ve got to show up for their meetings and they’ve got to prepare for their meetings and plan for their meetings and run their meetings. They’ve got to make projections for the company. They’ve got their shareholders to be accountable to.
If you think about it, the reason that that CEO gets up and does what they’ve got to do every day is they’re answering to a lot of people. And if they didn’t have an executive staff meeting to prep for, do you think they would do the activities that they’d prepped for that meeting? There’s no meeting. There’s no accountability.
So, accountability kind of makes the world go round. And the last thing I’ll say on this, if you trace this back to when we were kids, when you and I were growing up, most likely, for most of us, we had accountability in the form of our parents and eventually our teachers. And if it wasn’t for accountability, like unless you were one of the few kids, again, there’s anomalies, there’s exceptions to the rule, but most kids aren’t pursuing eating vegetables and going to bed on time and doing their homework and taking a bath. Why did we do all of those things that were really productive, essentially, for us to be healthy and happy and clean and educated? It was because we had accountability in our lives.
Now, we didn’t ask for it, but the reason that we got the results, the reason that we studied for the test and learned the thing and did the homework and ate the vegetables and took a bath is because we had accountability from adults in our lives. And if it wasn’t for that accountability, we’d all be sleep deprived, malnutrition, dirty little kids, uneducated little kids. And so, the problem, though, is that we didn’t ask for the accountability and so we resisted it and we even resented it. We rejected it. I don’t want to do my homework. I don’t want to eat my vegetables. Mom, I don’t want to go to bed. Can I please stay up late?
And then when we turned 18, if we didn’t have accountability, most of us, it was this kind of downward spiral into accepting less for ourselves than we were capable of because nobody was looking. I don’t know about you. When I was in college, I used to stay up till 5 o’clock in the morning playing PlayStation, playing video games until five in the morning. And then I’d go to class at 11. I set up my school schedule so I could stay up all night playing video games, like that was my priority.
It wasn’t until I was 19 years old and I got hired to sell at Cutco and my accountability went from none. That year I was at college. And I didn’t get great grades. I had nobody holding me accountable. And for me, it was this downward spiral toward mediocrity, accepting less than my best.
And then I had a manager, a mentor in Cutco, and we had a high degree of accountability. It was, hey, go home, make 10 phone calls, and then call me and let me know how they went. And that way they can manage your expectations and manage your mindset and manage you through failure. So, if I called in, I’m like, I made 10 calls and nobody answered and I’m discouraged and they go, it’s okay. And they would encourage you and write, hey, make 10 more calls. The average is usually worked out and then give me a call back. Then you’d make 10 calls, call back, hey, I scheduled two appointments, it was great. But if it wasn’t for that accountability, you wouldn’t have made the next 10 calls because you were so discouraged after the first 10.
So, I’m giving this context around how important it is to establish an accountability system to ensure that we follow through. We will almost always do more if we have some form of accountability than if we have none. And I think we can all relate to that in our own lives, in our own ways.
So, here you go, I’m going to give you five levels of accountability, five options. Number one is your own integrity. Integrity is what you can write down. And your integrity, what do I mean? And by the way, this is, I’d say, the least effective form of accountability because it means that you have decided that you value your integrity at such a degree that if you commit to something, even if nobody knows you committed to it, you’re the only one that knows you’re going to follow through.
Now, if that’s you, all you need is step number one. But what I’ve found is, for me, like working out, for example, or for the last 14 months, four or five days a week, I’m a pretty self-accountable person. And so, I don’t have any accountability for that. Nobody knows. I just leverage, number one, integrity. I commit to it and I follow through and I do it. However, there are absolutely areas of my life that if I don’t have accountability, I don’t get them done because there are only so many hours in the day and I tend to focus on doing the things that I know I have to answer to somebody to.
I had a call with my team today, and we’re building a new MiracleMorning.com homepage, which it’s amazing. I’m so excited about it. But I needed to work on some of the copy, some of the texts on the homepage, and leading up to the call today. And so, what happened was I got it done right before in full disclosure. Like I got it done right before. Why did I get it in right before? Because I had a meeting where I gave my word I was accountable to someone else and I had to get it done. And if it wasn’t for that, if it was just my own integrity, I don’t know if I would get it done because I had other things that felt more pressing.
So, number one is your integrity. It’s putting it in writing. I am committed to _____ no matter what, there is no other option. Now, if you are someone that’s self-accountable, like I said, that’s all you need. More than likely, these next four options, these next four levels are going to be beneficial for you. And I know they are for me.
Number two is a public declaration. So, when I wanted to run an ultramarathon, I hated running. I still hate running. I don’t like running at all. And I don’t run anymore. I wanted to challenge myself to do something that was so far out of my comfort zone that it would force me to grow in my physical abilities, in my willpower, my discipline, my mentor, determination to be able to run 52 consecutive miles, like that was so far removed from anything I’d ever done before. I’d never run more than one mile in high school PE.
And so, what I did was I made a public declaration, I committed on Facebook. I told all my friends, hey, everybody, I am committed to run this marathon to raise money for the Front Row Foundation. And I’m putting it out here to be accountable. I’m going to check in with you every day and after my training. And I bought a book called The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer. So, I had my training guide and I followed through. And that was ultimately the– I knew the habits, the positive habits. I needed to run every day or I think I run four or five days a week. So, I had those in place. But without the accountability, I would not have done it. But I committed and I got online every day and I checked in and I told everybody, and of course, they were encouraging, hey, great job, Hal, you’re going to do it, blah, blah, blah. But that public declaration was what got me to follow through.
Step three is get an accountability buddy. So, find an accountability, a friend, a colleague. It can be a family member. It needs to be someone that isn’t going to let you off the hook, though. That’s important. If they’re like, yeah, it’s okay, you didn’t do it. When you’re an accountability buddy for somebody, it’s really about holding each other to a high standard, a standard of impeccable integrity, where you followed through with your word.
And the interesting thing about accountability is once you start following through with your word, when you’re leveraging your relationship with other people, meaning you’ve made a public declaration or you have an accountability buddy, you actually build your accountability muscle. And really, accountability is like the muscle. Every time you follow through your muscle, it’s stronger. You become more accountable, you develop a higher degree of integrity, and then you become someone that can follow through, often without the help of anybody else. So, get an accountability buddy.
And by the way, the Miracle Morning Community is a great place to do that. If you’ve not seen in that group, there are very often people that post and say, hey, I’m in the Central Time Zone and I’m looking for somebody to hold me accountable to do my Miracle Morning or achieve my goals or whatever it is. So, that’s a great place to go find an accountability partner.
Number four, lead an accountability group. This is something that I did in 2005. I was trying out my best year ever and I decided I wanted to kind of pay it forward and help other people, and it would help me be more accountable. So, I formed an accountability group. There are about 15 of us. We had a call every Sunday, and the general format, which you can model was every Sunday, it was, hey, everybody, what are you committed to this week? How many calls are you going to make? And it was, I’m going to make 20 calls a day, five days a week. Okay, great. And I would write that down on a spreadsheet, and then I would give my commitment, of course.
And the next week, we would all get on our call, and I would ask everybody, hey, I’d go one by one. Jeremy, did you follow through with your 20 calls a day, five days a week? And they would let me know, either yes, no, or whatever. And it was not letting anybody off the hook if they didn’t do it, it was really digging in and going, okay, now I know that was important to you and you needed it to achieve your goals. Why did you not follow through with those 20 calls or which days, like I would get really specific, when did you not do it? Why did you not do it? And if they didn’t have an excuse, I would say, okay, well, or I should say a good reason. Like, I just didn’t do it. I would do it. I would go, okay, well, what are you going to do differently? Or I would even say, what prevented you from doing it? What was the psychological? What was the conversation you had with yourself? And what can you do differently to ensure that you follow through?
And I would coach them on it. We would figure it out together. I would ask them questions, and they would go, well, maybe, I know that if I put a reminder on my phone, then I follow through. I should have done that. And I go, okay, well, let’s do that this week. So, having an accountability group, the benefit of that was by leading the group. And it could be you and two other people, that could be a group, or five or ten or whatever.
But by leading the group, I was the most accountable because I didn’t want to look like a schmuck and show up to my weekly call and go, hey, everybody, how did you do on your commitments? And then when my turn came, oh, yeah, I didn’t follow through. No, I was leading the group. I’m the one that set this whole thing up. I better lead by example. So, it was the ultimate leverage for me to be accountable and follow through, knowing that I was going to have to show up and lead other people and set the example. And of course, for them, they would tell me, I mean, by the way, that group, more people from that group achieved the highest level in sales in our company than in the 50-year history of the company. So, does accountability work? That’s one example where I would say, yes, it absolutely does.
And then the fifth and final strategy level option for accountability is to hire a professional coach. My first coach I ever hired was Jeffrey Soeey. And Jeff Sooey taught me, really, he schooled me in the power of accountability. A lot of what I just shared with you, I learned from Jeff that when you value your word at the highest level, most people value their excuses above their word, which is where when they give their word, their brain searches for excuses. What’s a justifiable reason that I could give instead of actually following through? What’s a good excuse that sounds good enough that I should be off the hook? Oh, yeah. I know, I said I was going to do that thing, but I got COVID. Or this thing happened, it was out of my control, versus finding a way. You can either find an excuse or you can find a way.
And champions, if you will, whatever you want to call someone who follows through, they find a way. They find a way. They take responsibility. They don’t make excuses. They value their integrity at the highest level and they follow through. And hiring a professional coach, the beauty of that is you’re investing time, you’re investing money and energy into being held accountable. And I personally was a coach for, I don’t even know, 10 years or something. And so, I held people accountable.
And then I had a coach for most of that time as well, and I was being held accountable. And so, that would be the highest level. Number one, you have to pay for it. The other ones are free, so you can start there. But when you’re paying someone who is a professional at holding someone accountable, they’re trained, they’re certified, that tends to be the most effective form, although one could argue that leading an accountability group in some ways might be more effective because again, you’re leading by example. But again, there’s no one size fits all. You need to apply the accountability system to ensure that you follow through of the five options I gave you which resonates as the most effective, you know yourself. You know if integrity is enough, you know if you can follow through.
And if it’s not, you know that you might need an accountability buddy. Or you might want to form an accountability group to serve your sphere of influence. The beauty of the accountability group is it’s not just you that’s benefiting. That was why I formed it. I thought it’d be one thing if I achieved my goal for the year, but at that time in my life, my purpose was to selflessly add value to the lives of others. I thought, for me, to live my purpose, achieving my goal doesn’t really do that. That’s just my goal. But if I helped my friends, my colleagues, my peers to achieve their goals, that would be much more fulfilling. And I’d be being selflessly selfish or selfishly selfless and that I’d be helping them, but it would help me more than arguably anybody else in the group because I’m the one leading the group. So, again, those are the five options in that four-step, to establish an accountability system to ensure that you follow through.
So, in summary, step number one, not rocket science, identify your goal, but the distinction there, the nuance is that your goal doesn’t have to be an outcome at the end of the year that you either hit or miss. It can be your daily activity, your daily process, those healthy, productive choices that will move you in the direction, in a positive direction that will improve or even transform your life. So, that is step one, identify what that goal is. And of course, you can have a goal in each area of your life, in your health, in your fitness, in your finances, in your career, in your relationship. If you do the Wheel of Life, you can examine those eight to ten areas and then set a goal for each area. Or you can just go, okay, look, that’s overwhelming. I’m just going to look at the most important goal in my life or my top three. So, again, no one-size-fits-all approach.
Step number two, identify your bad habits. What are the detrimental habits you are currently engaged in that are preventing you from achieving your goals? Step three, identify the positive habits. Once you’ve eliminated the bad habits, you’re working on those, you’re getting rid of the things that are detrimental that are holding you back. What are the positive habits you need to integrate into your life that will move you in the right direction? And step four, ensure that you follow through by establishing that system for accountability.
If you follow these four steps, you will become a more consistent human being. And when you become a more consistent human being, that consistency is applied to everything that you do because, again, the real secret to success is not about what you do but who you become. An irony is that what you do determines who you become, but just never lose sight of who are you becoming. What’s the identity that you are embodying? And how is that impacting your life? And you can use habits. You can use habits to shift your behavior in a way that shifts your identity and gets you the results that you want in every area of your life.
And last but not least, I do want to mention, if you’re looking for a book on changing your habits, probably the best one out there is Atomic Habits by James Clear. I met James, I don’t know, seven years ago at the MastermindTalks event, back when he was a blogger, and he wrote the book Atomic Habits. And I’m not giving an endorsement other than my own personal recommendation. By the way, if you go to Amazon, I think there are over 100,000 reviews on Atomic Habits right now, which that’s off the charts. Anyway, so this is just a plug for my friend James’s book. It’s one of the most well-researched, most effective books on changing habits. So, today was really just– it’s an intro. It’s a 45-minute lesson. But if you really want to go deep into the topic of habits, I encourage you to check out James’s book, Atomic Habits by James Clear.
All right, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, you know I love you. I appreciate you. I hope that today was helpful for you to make some positive changes, continue making positive changes in your life. I love you so much and I can’t wait to talk to you next week. Take care.