If you were going to start a 500 day challenge, this coming Sunday would be the perfect day to start. Because:
Exactly 500 days from Sunday it will be January 1st, 2020.
Even the tiniest positive change added into your daily routine, done consistently for 500 days in a row, could have you starting the Year 2020 a completely new person.
Do you want to be fitter? Richer? Debt free? How about a business owner? Or a master of a new hobby or sport?
Maybe all of the above?
Is 500 days enough time to make a huge difference and change your world?
It definitely is.
500 Days Ago:
It was April 2017… I was a workaholic sales rep in Los Angeles. I wore a suit, was glued to my cell phone, and was stuck in traffic for 90% of each day. No time for breakfasts, ate lunch out every day, and worked late into the evenings.
Needless to say, my priorities were a little messed up.
To be fair, I wasn’t unhappy with my life… I was having fun still, but there was no balance.
Fast forward to today… I’m happily unemployed, traveling 4 months out of this year. My wife and I have breakfast together almost every morning, and rarely eat out. I’m back to surfing regularly, outside most of the day, and read a couple books a month.
I’m a completely different person than I was 500 days ago.
Bill Gates nailed it when he said…
I find this quote sad, but true.
Overestimating means we don’t achieve our short term goals, and underestimating means we don’t achieve our destined long term goals either.
Most people are programmed to fail.
Why is this? Why do we set short term goals too high, and set long term goals too low?
The Life of Average Gary:
Gary is a positive guy. He has big dreams in life and always wants to better himself. He writes down some goals at the start of each new year and is motivated to achieve them.
Each January, Gary is a new man. Drinking less, exercising more, working harder and reading more. He even declutters his whole house and donates things to charity!
But, around late February each year, Gary starts to slow down. He starts to drink a little more because his work is stressful. Sleeping in a little more due to the drinking, and not exercising or reading because he doesn’t have time in the mornings. He can’t even find the list of goals he wrote down at the start of the year.
Sadly, the ‘new Gary’ is slowly unfolded and he goes back to being the ‘old Gary’.
Pretty sad, isn’t it. But here comes the even sadder part…
Year after year, Gary is learning that he’s not good enough to achieve big things. His constant annual failures wear him down to the point that his long term life goals get smaller and smaller. He doubts himself, and is scared to commit to big things because he doesn’t think he’ll achieve them.
As a result, Gary settles for the “more realistic” things in life:
- Instead of doing a triathlon one day, Gary just runs a few miles every now and then. He’s OK with that.
- Instead of traveling to 20 countries before he turns 40, Gary has only been to Mexico once for a friend’s wedding. He’s happy with that because some people have never even left the states.
- Instead of starting his own brewery, he just visits everyone else’s tap room and funds other people’s dreams. (Are we still talking about Gary or ME?)
I’m getting depressed just writing this stuff!! You see, I know Average Gary’s average life well, because I have personally lived like this sometimes!
The Good News! How to Break the Cycle…
Something’s got to change. We can’t go on setting both small and big goals and not achieving either of them.
The answer lies in repetition. Doing small things over and over and over until they become a lifestyle.
Instead of trying 500 new things, just try 1 new thing, and do it 500 times.
A couple years ago I read the book The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. He provides several examples where repetition and small routine changes make huge effects in relatively short periods of time.
- Who do you think is fitter… The guy who did 1000 push-ups in a single day, or the guy who did 20 push-ups a day for 50 days?
- Who do you think reads more books… The girl who polishes off 3 novels on vacation each year, or the girl who reads 20 pages before bed every night?
- Who has more money… The kid who inherited $2 million dollars, or the kid who started with 1 cent and doubled it every day for just 30 days?
OK, you get the point.
Hang on a sec!…. If you only master 1 habit, what about the other 50 things you want to get better at?
There’s an awesome side effect that comes with mastering a specific habit or daily change. Benefits start to spill over into other areas of your life.
What seems like a tiny daily habit, eventually becomes the root cause of huge things in all areas of your life. Accredited people talk about it all the time:
- For Admiral William McRaven, he devotes his success to simply making his bed each morning.
- For Brian Tracy, he tackles the single biggest/baddest item on his to-do list each morning. Eats that frog!
- For me, and many others, my life changed when I started getting up at 5am every morning.
“Synergy is where the fun really starts. You find ways to pull in seemingly unrelated areas of your life, goals and values into one or two activities that move everything forward” – Jillian from Montana Money Adventures
Make Sense? What now?
Now that you know and understand this, what are you going to do about it? Are you up for a challenge? Maybe for the next 500 days?
I’m not asking you to get up at 5am, but can you think of something else that’s small that you want to master? Something that may eventually lead to ticking off a HUGE goal in life? Something that will change you as a person before year 2020?
Some ideas below:
- If you save $1 a day between now and Jan 1 2020, at 5% compounded mthly, you get $17.95 in interest! Cha-ching!! (OK, 1.3 years is not a good example of compound interest)
- But if you just stop drinking store-bought coffee (assuming $2.50/coffee every weekday, 50 weeks/yr), you’ll save $855 by then. That’s a lot for 1.3 years of not even trying to save.
- If you do 20 situps a day, that is 10,000 situps by 1/1/20. That’s a lot.
- But if you add just 10 situps to the daily routine each month (which is EASY once you’ve been doing it for a month), you’ll be doing 180 situps a day by 2020 and will have done 51,480 situps.
- Tell your spouse “I love you” every morning. That’s 500 good mornings in a row for you both. Imagine how strong your relationship will be!
- Make 1 small fix to your house every week. That broken door handle in the basement, the curtain rod that is drooping. You can fix 71 small things around your house before 2020 and have it be in tip-top shape!
Let’s all try to be better people. So, what are you going to start this Sunday? Who do you want to be when 2020 starts?