Do you have a 1 year goal? You should try to finish it in 1 month.
A 5 year goal? Aim for six months.
Seriously. Pretend for a moment that an evil dictator said that we only have 1/10th (or maybe the dictator is slightly altruistic and gives us 1/2) of the time that we had previously allocated to complete our goal – and our life depends on it.
Now also seriously pretend that there is at least a chance that we could actually accomplish the 1 year goal in 1 month (or the 5 year goal in 6 months). Hold that seed of possibility in our minds for at least a moment.
If it were possible to complete that 1 year goal in 1 month………..
What would we do right now?
How would we act right now?
How would we change our habits or allocate our time differently?
What current actions would we eliminate?
What new actions would we start to take (given the new deadline)?
Is this idea unrealistic? Maybe. Foolish? Not a chance.
Hear me out. I want to make the case for why we should attempt to seriously expedite the timeline for our accomplishing our goals.
1. What’s the risk in trying?
It’s basically nothing, other than the slight hit to our pride in the event that we fail. Yawn. Our pride is overrated. Our fear of failure is silly. Next point.
2. What’s the upside in trying?
We get to answer the questions above. We get to really audit our actions and methods. We get to “be real” with ourselves and our methods. We get to dramatically improve our effectiveness, and remember – there is a possibility that we might actually accomplish what we otherwise thought would take a year.
3. We generally underestimate ourselves and overestimate the amount of time needed.
This is human nature. We all do it. We don’t like the F word (failure that is), so it is natural to hedge. We hedge by giving ourselves more time than we probably would otherwise need to complete a goal if our life depended on in.
4. This method forces us to eliminate all “time wasters”
Some time wasters are legitimate. All work and no play makes for a dull person. I like Sons of Anarchy as much as the rest of you, but if our life really depended on our accomplishing a goal in a dramatically shortened time frame we would get real serious about what “entertainment” we can live without. What I’ve found is that a lot of things that we think we “need” are really just time wasters.
Case in point: I used to think that I needed to watch the news or read the newspaper every single day to stay informed. Not true. That was an hour (or several) that I could eliminate and not be worse for wear with a couple simple internet news feeds, and I got an hour (or several) of my day to now apply to more useful stuff.
5. This method forces us to eliminate our “avoidance” behaviours
Avoidance behaviours are all activities that are associated with a goal that don’t really move us closer to the goal. It is the “busy work” – those non-important, and non-urgent activities that strangely enough fill a good chunk of our day. If our life depended on our accomplishing a goal in a very short amount of time we would straightaway eliminate these.
6. We tap into Mega-Flow
Flow states require the control of consciousness, the elimination of distractions and the focusing of our energy and attention on a specific goal. When we are up against a deadline we hit “mega-flow”. Everything non-important to the goal falls to the wayside. We grow in complexity. This growth feels great.
7. It’s fun to tackle goals this way
If you aren’t scared of failure then this method is actually really fun. You can turn it into an experiment – a case of “what if”. When you operate under the premise of “what if” wonderful (almost magical) things can happen in your life. When you turn it into an experiment you really start to enjoy the ride. If it is an experiment then there is no failure – there is only an observable result. If you don’t get the result you wanted then you just create a new experiment.
But who knows, maybe, just maybe, you might get the result you want….