What if I told you that you could set yourself on a path to incorporate any habit into your life by sending one email. Would you try it? In this post, I'm going to give you a proven template to do just that.
“Do you want to go to my workout with me?”
This was a common phrase I’d heard from my wife (yep, I’m married) as she left to go to her routine personal training appointment. My usual response is a polite variation of, ‘Thanks, but I’m busy working on stuff’, but for some reason, I decided to say, "Sure, let's do it". I could see the surprise and joy on my wife’s face as she told me to me to meet her in the car.
It had been a pretty stressful couple of weeks because I was in the middle of negotiations for selling my shares in the mobile app development company I founded. It was the first day in just over a week that I decided to hit the gym, so it felt great to get my body moving again.
Our trainer, a kind and goofy guy, the size of an NFL linebacker had a clear plan for us. We were busting through our workout, sweat dripping down our face, when he began to ask me about my workout routine. I told him what I'm sure many of us go through, that I’ve started and stopped many times. "It's frustrating to start it and then not have it continue", I said.
“Of course it's frustrating. You keep doing the hardest part”.
That remark hit me across the cranium because I knew he was right. I've always been a 'theoretical' believer in the power of Momentum. Why hadn't I applied it fully to my life yet?
I mean, we all intuitively know that it’s difficult to start and maintain new habits, but on this day, something clicked. “It’s all about the sticking with it. Once you get past a certain point, it gets easy.”
As someone who has been studying productivity, goal setting and habits, it was amazing that out of all of the books I’d read, a message from a random trainer would create a lasting impression on me. This trainer, without ever knowing it, had set me off on a journey I didn't expect to be on that day. My hope is that my experience will help give you the tools to kickstart the life you want. After my workout, I continued to think about what motivates me. We all have different motivations and much of them are based on the personalities we have. My motivation was to stop doing the hard part over and over. I decided to set up a plan to make that happen.
The decision had been made. I wasn’t going to only give myself the tough stuff anymore. I sat down, full of passion and energy to write this email.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Alex Gross <email@example.com>
Date: January 6, 2016 at 10:51:36 AM PST
To: <joel@l************.com>, <eric*****@***.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Ztemail@example.com, Gsfirstname.lastname@example.org, <andre****@**.com>, Wiemail@example.com
Subject: I'm Committing to these New Habits and Need Your Help!
I'm running a little experiment and I need your help. It's a habit experiment. I'm needing to cultivate stronger habits and doing it alone and not having enough at stake has made it really challenging for me. I've pursued all of these habits before and I get a week in and drop it. Each time, I don't get past the threshold of the most difficult part. So, my experiment if you'll be kind enough to participate is to have you act as an accountability judge. You'll decide whether or not I'm achieving my goal of establishing these habits.
They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. I'm going to, over the next 30 days, introduce and stick to these 3 habits:
1. GTD Process - An Organization Method (see here: https://hamberg.no/gtd/ )
2. Beast Mode Exercising - Having a pre-planned workout and executing on it
3. Meditating for 10 to 20 minutes every single day - Using guided meditation
I'm confident that establishing these habits will make me happier in my life and much more effective, healthier and relaxed.
Why do I want you to be involved?
1. I care about what you think of me.
2. I trust you'll be honest with me.
3. I want to raise the stakes and social accountability is a huge motivator.
How will the stakes be raised?
1. I have to report to you, so if I don't do what I said I would do, you'll all know ( and that makes me look like a chump )
2. I'm going to ask that if I don't provide proof to you that I did do these 3 things every single day for the next 30 days, I need you to post about my failure on social media.
Ex: "Alex Gross said he'd do 3 simple things for 30 days, but failed to because he's weak-minded and doesn't follow through. If Alex says he's going to do something, don't believe him."
That social media post above is harsh as fuck, I know. That's why I think it will work to serve as a real consequence. Aside from consequences, I will also be rewarding myself if/when I achieve this goal of implemented all three of these habits for 30 days.
My reward will be, booking a trip to Denver with Caroline for a long weekend this Spring.
After these 30 Days, I will introduce more habits, with the goal of continuing these for 6 months and beyond.
Here's the deal, I can't have any excuses. Building a habit is really difficult to do and I need to implement these in my life for me to express my full potential. I know this message is super fucking weird, but you knew what you signed up for when you became my friend.
I'll send you an email every day with my update and proof. You don't need to reply at all. That said, if you want to shoot me a text message, email or give me a call about what I'm doing, I'd welcome the shit out it :)
Lastly: Regardless of circumstance I need to do these habits. It's a need for me, not a want. I get no retries or sorrys. No late notices or anything. Even if I break a leg, I'll be exercising, meditating and doing GTD that day.
- Day 1 is January 6th
- Day 30 is February 5th
I know I'm nuts, but I just care so much about being able to turn my ideas into reality and living the life I want to live. Thanks for caring about me and for supporting me as I tackle this challenge.
I guess the last thing I need is to know: will you hold me accountable?
I’m now on Day 68.
So How Did It Work?
1. I rigged the game to play toward my desired action.
2. I used social accountability
3. Daily tasks - easy to remember to do something every day
4. I was essentially blackmailing myself - some days, I didn't want to do it, but that thought was short lived when I even considered the consequences.
Besides a trip to Denver, this experience taught me a lot about my character and my naturally occurring human tendencies. Overall, I learned that when you set up enough reinforcement, and you stack the deck to make the decision an easy one, you get what you want. I did get past the hard part. Now, I’m healthier than I’ve every been, stronger than I’ve ever been, more aware than I’ve ever been and more responsive than I’ve every been. I’m continuing to add new habits. The feeling that I get from knowing that if I want to change my behavior when I choose gives me a great sense of freedom. It wasn’t alway easy, but it was super simple.
So there you go. You’ve got a proven template for implementing your goals. There are no longer excuses. And to think, it can all happen for you too by sending one email. Here’s my challenge to you: Take that first simple step and download the email template here. Then gift yourself 15 minutes to fill it out. Then send it and CC me on your email. There’s nothing stopping you now from having the habits your desire. Just Click ‘Send’.
I’m trying to become a better writer, so if you have any constructive ideas on what you liked and what you believe could improve, I’m eager for your feedback! If you know anyone who is trying to make a change in their life, feel free to share this with them as well.