The Achievement Habit: October Reading Recommendation
Are you a worry wart? Do you find yourself wishing you could stop spinning your wheels and start achieving your goals? Stanford Engineering Professor, and author of “The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing and Take Command of Your Life,” Bernard Roth, PhD, offers a great strategy for quitting the worry habit cold-turkey.
The first step is to ask yourself, “What is my problem?” Then ask, “What would it do for me if I solved that problem?”
Roth points out that when we complete this mental exercise, we will often find ourselves generating lots of poor excuses as to why we can’t, or haven’t yet, solved our problem. These excuses serve to keep us in “trying” mode, which makes us worry more and drains our energy, rather than allowing us to get into “doing” mode, where we have control and will find energy.
Staying in “trying” mode traps us on a “mental merry-go-round,” where we think the same, worried thoughts. Staying in “trying” mode is self-sabotage.
So how do we stop making excuses and get ourselves off the “mental merry-go-round?” To move from “trying” mode to “doing mode,” we have to take action to move forward toward a desired result. Take responsibility for your behavior and don’t let yourself off the hook.
In an interview with Paul Sohn, leadership consultant and author, Roth talks about how he committed himself to writing “The Achievement Habit.” He blocked out four hours every morning, 6:30-10:30, for writing the book. Regardless of how late he stayed up the night before or what plans came up in the morning, Roth dedicated that time to work on the book and didn’t let excuses get in the way of rescheduling or putting it off later in the day.
The difference between “trying” and “doing” is that when you are “doing,” you will push through any obstacles that might surface on the path to your goal. When you commit to a new exercise routine, you will “do” your exercises when you’ve scheduled them, rather than “try” and make an excuse to put them off because you feel tired or decide to make alternate plans.
When you are “doing”, you will find you are no longer worried or feel drained of energy; rather, you will find you are one step closer to achieving your desired goal and the progress will energize and motivate you.