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Why is it so hard to stick with something in the beginning?

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GoodluckChuck

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Why is it so common that we can start off strong on implementing new ideas only to give up after a short time? Where does the motivation go?

On the flip side, why is it that when you ask people what specific actions made them successful, they can't usually tell you with any sort of precision. Isn't that weird?

Sometimes it seems like life is just one big mystery...

Check out this chart...

memory-vs-results-charleskile.jpg

The graph might look complicated at first, but it's really simple.

In the beginning of a new endeavor when we start taking action, we can remember every little detail of everything we do. The problem is, we haven't seen any results yet. Some time might pass and we still remember doing all this work, yet no results. No feedback. Nada.

It's extremely common for people to give up at this point because they underestimated the amount of time it would take for their causes to have effects.


On the opposite end of the spectrum we have folks who are seeing amazing effects in their lives, but they don't remember precisely what caused them.

Maybe they attribute their success to generalities like hard work and commitment. While this may be true in part, it was really a series of little, long-forgotten actions that brought about the results they're experiencing now.

One mistake that is easy to make is to see great results and attribute them to what one has been doing recently, even if they were brought about by actions taken too long ago to remember. This is a matter of operating on bad data which is totally unfortunate and can lead to results turning from good to bad. I've done this a bunch of times...

I think we can all benefit from gazing at this chart and thinking about what kind of results we are experiencing today and what long-forgotten actions brought them about.

Is your life great? It's because of what you did years ago, not last week.

Living in a toilet? You shouldn't have put forth such stinky effort last year...

When setting new goals and taking new actions, there are surely ways we can account for our short term memories and put systems in place that help us accurately identify what actions brought about what results.

Lastly, we can all be more patient. Making changes and getting great results takes time. Taking action is a process of many tiny hard to remember steps. Since we are likely to forget them, focusing on developing good habits is a safe place to start. If you have steady habits, you might not remember exactly what you did 4 years ago but you'll be able to make a pretty good guess.

Without consistent habits it's anyones guess what you were up to... You might not even know for sure!

What do you think? Any ideas on how we can be better at balancing our poor memories with the time it takes to get the results we desire?
 

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