• Andrew Wien

5 steps to make faster progress towards what you want

Most of us have aspirations for our future selves. Feel healthy. Work productively. Be a good parent or partner. Enjoy my job.

And most of us are terrible at making meaningful progress toward those aspirations. The problem is we’ve never been taught a process to put the habits in place to get closer to where we want.

Look no further! The process is here.

Step 1: Write an aspiration of yours in one sentence. E.g. Work incredibly smartly on the highest value things in long bursts of uninterrupted focus.

Step 2: Brainstorm a lot of things you can do that will help you get closer to that. Quantity over quality. Spend 5 minutes and write down at least 20 things.

Step 3: Plot them on a 2x2, where the y axis is effort (i.e. is the thing easy or hard to do) and the x axis is impact (i.e. does this lead you to what you want)

Step 4: Pick three things in the upper right-hand corner that maximize the tradeoff between effort and impact. For me, these all occurred daily.

  1. Write to do list, and quantify the value of each item in 3 buckets ($, $$, $$$)

  2. Text my wife when I will stop work

  3. Do the highest value activity first

Step 5: Create micro-habits around the to do list. The goal of a micro-habit is to be easy enough to do reliably while increasing the likelihood of your desired behavior. For me, they were:

  1. After I sit down in my office chair, I will pick up my to do list and celebrate by saying “Yeah!” out loud with a head nod. (Note: the reason why this works is first, I use a paper to do list, and second, if I don’t have a to-do list, it will remind me to make one)

  2. After I put my dishes in the dishwasher after breakfast, I will text my wife when I will stop work and celebrate by thinking “I am being a communicative, supportive, and available husband.”

  3. After I finish writing my to do list for the day, I will star the highest value activity and celebrate by drawing a smiley face next to the star.

If step 5 seemed like a big leap, stay tuned for the next article on how to create micro-habits.

What is one aspiration that you have? Comment below!

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