Too Much Of A Good Thing

Sometimes, good intentions can go very bad. When it comes to setting and achieving goals, being overly ambitious can be the reason...

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Too much of a good thing

  • Question to consider

  • Weekend challenge

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Too Much Of A Good Thing

Ever wonder why some accomplishments seem to be just outside your grasp? Scientists suggest you might be a victim of sabotage.

Or, more accurately, you’re the victim of unintentional self-sabotage. Research suggests that setting too many goals might be why you fall short of achieving what you desire. 

Researchers explored why some people achieve their goals while others fall short. In particular, they studied “implementation intentions,” which refer to specific plans that outline why, when, where, and how you plan to reach a desired outcome.

The scientists discovered implementation intentions significantly increase the likelihood that you’ll achieve your goals — as long as you don’t set too many goals. 

When individuals had fewer goals, implementation intentions significantly improved their likelihood of reaching them. When participants had too many goals to tackle, the benefits of implementation intentions diminished, and their goal achievement rate suffered.

The less you have to do, the more you can focus and dedicate your energy. It seems obvious, but it’s a common misstep. We let ambition get in the way of compliance, consistency, and mastery. 

If you need help setting a clear path, check out the weekend challenge (see below) from Arnold. He has advice on writing your next chapter. 

Question to Consider

“What would this look like if it were easy?” -Tim Ferriss

We are trained to think that everything must be a struggle. The health industry thrives on making it seem that “if it tastes good or feels good, then it must be bad for you.” (By that definition, sex is unhealthy…which hopefully helps you see the flawed reasoning.) 

Decades of research suggest the opposite; the people who tend to become the healthiest — and see changes that last (rather than fade) — do so by avoiding behaviors that are unsustainable. The evidence is so overwhelming there’s an entire book about the psychology of living healthier with less stress and the counterintuitive ways to achieve long-lasting health. 

Don’t get it twisted: change requires sacrifice. And sacrifice usually causes discomfort. But the discomfort and pain are not the same thing. And discomfort does not require complexity or unhappiness. 

The idea of “making hard easy” aligns beautifully with the psychology of behavioral change and habit formation. This field is dedicated to helping people master challenging, complex behaviors, whether abandoning addiction or losing weight. And, for the most part, the research suggests that if you want to develop a new behavior—such as eating healthier—the best way is to make it so easy that it’s hard to fail.

Take a moment to look at a goal you want to achieve or a change that has been a struggle. And ask yourself, what would this look like if this were easy? You might not follow the “easy” plan to a “T,” but it will help you identify the barriers that stand in your way. And that will give you a better chance of removing them and having more success. 

Weekend Challenge

On Monday, I told you I want you to start tuning out from social media and your phone once a day for an hour because you’re letting other people tell you the story they want to tell. Instead, you need to write your own.

If you have yet to start taking a phoneless hour, start there. It’s hard to believe that up until about 2006 or 2008, it was normal to see people just walking, standing in line, playing with their kids, eating a meal, or talking with friends… without staring down at their screens. I want you to reclaim that for one hour a day.

That’s a lifetime challenge. I want you to work your ass off, even though it’s going to be uncomfortable and commit to this every day.

This weekend’s challenge is to focus on how you use that hour. I want you to write your story the old-fashioned way, with a pen and paper. Sit down and write what you want your story to be for the next month…or year… or even the next five or ten years. Ask yourself, who do you want to be? 

I don’t want this to be long. If you write too much, you’ll struggle to make it a reality. Remember the wisdom from above; too many goals can prevent the goals from happening. Focus on a clear, narrow vision. Write down the what, why, where, when, and how. You can do all of this on one page. Write your story. Do it now!

Thanks again for joining us for another week. We never take your time for granted, and we hope we’ve made you a little better. Here’s wishing you all a fantastic weekend!

-Arnold, Adam, and Daniel

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell