Lowering the Bar to Stay in the Game

Thanks to an unexpected health issue, I have neither the time nor the steam to do justice to a meaty blog post this month. But rather than completely ignore my intention to publish monthly, I’m about to once again practice what I so often preach: I’m going to lower the bar enough so I can clear it, and by doing so, keep the spirit of my intention alive.

There’s a huge difference between just blowing off an intention completely vs. scaling it down when necessary so you can at least keep acting in accord with its spirit.

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Should You Be Forced to Follow Through?

I was reminded recently of a TEDx talk I gave years ago in Memphis. I remember ending the talk by making a case for the development of technology that would allow us to register our good intentions and then essentially FORCE us to act in accord with those intentions.

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Lazy? Even If the Shoe Fits, Don’t Wear It!

Lazy person on tree limb

Do you ever accuse yourself of being lazy when you don’t do something you think you should do but just don’t feel like doing? If this happens to you often enough, you may even be tempted to think of yourself as a lazy person rather than as a person who’s just sometimes lazy.

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AutoFollowThrough: You Wish!

Suppose you just bought a car that was advertised as being capable of parking itself. You’re on the way to an important meeting downtown, and you’re looking forward to using this feature. You find the perfect parking spot, position the car, and push the AutoPark button. Nothing happens. You try again. And again. And again. Nothing. By now, you’ve wasted enough time trying that you’re at risk of being late for the meeting. What should you do? Keep expecting AutoPark to work? Or face the unfortunate truth and park the car manually?

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Why You Don’t Need More Willpower

In a sense, willpower is like physical strength. In the same way that the weight of the heaviest rock you can lift is a measure of your physical strength, willpower is a measure of your ability to make yourself do something you intend to do but don’t feel like doing — or to keep yourself from doing something you intend not to do but do feel like doing.

And in the same way that how much you can accomplish with however much physical strength you have depends on how you apply that physical strength, how much you can accomplish with however much willpower you have depends on how you apply that willpower.

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Habits: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Habits, habits, habits. You have lots of them. If you’re like most people, some of your habits are good. Some are probably bad. And some may be downright ugly. A habit is something you do more or less automatically. You do it without thinking – often without even noticing that you’re doing it. It’s something you do when you’re not trying to do anything at all. So, for example, whether you have a good habit of sitting up straight or a bad habit of slouching, the habit is it’s its own boss. It doesn’t wait to take orders from you.

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Consider Going Public with Your Intentions

If you make a point of keeping your intentions to yourself, you may be depriving your intentions of the power they need to make it to the finish line.

Of course, you may have good reasons for keeping your intentions private. Maybe you think that going public with an intention is a surefire way to jinx it. Or maybe you figure that by keeping quiet about what you intend to do, you’ll spare yourself from embarrassment if you don’t follow through. Or maybe you just want to surprise someone by making an important change they weren’t expecting you to make.

But the truth is, you can unleash enormous follow-through power by going public with a promise.

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It’s No Laughing Matter

I decided over 40 years ago that I would make it my life’s work to shed light on the nearly universal problem of poor follow through. Well, I’m still at it. And although I’ve learned a ton about what it really takes to follow through, I remain as perplexed as ever about one thing: People – and society as a whole – don’t take following through as seriously as they should.

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How to Turbocharge an Intention by Kicking Sand in Its Face

I’ve been saying for years that the mind works the way it does and not the logical way we think it should. Case in point is the self-defeating way the mind (mis)treats intentions. It makes no sense at all. On the one hand, we use our own intelligence and experience — and we draw on the intelligence and experience of others — to figure out what we could and should do to make our lives better in big ways, in little ways, and in all ways in between. On the other hand, once we figure out what we could and should do, we often fail to do it. What a waste! Again, it just doesn’t make any sense.

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